As a New York Mets fan of now 27 years, I have seen the good, the bad, and the absolute ugly. As a matter of fact, between the Wilpons trying to stay afloat, and the players in denial about how many pieces are missing from this team to make them into a contender, somebody could definitely write themselves into a movie deal on the chronicles of this team.
I'll stay away from the team' financial woes for now, and concentrate on the one thing that matters, and that's what happens in between the white lines. Right now, with Johan Santana expected to be out of action until at least the All-Star break, Mike Pelfrey is your Opening Day starting pitcher on April 1. After that, I'm not expecting a new version of Generation K to emerge, even with the return of Jason Isringhausen to the Mets' bullpen.
R.A. Dickey(11-9, 2.84) performed well last season, but I'm not expecting much from Jon Niese(9-10, 4.20), and who knows what you're getting from recent acquisitions Chris Young, Taylor Buchholz, and Chris Capuano? It will take a small miracle, and some pure wizardry from the think tank of Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta to stay in the N.L. wild card race by mid-August, assuming that Carlos Beltran and/or Jose Reyes do not get traded before then.
As for the bullpen, the Mets took a big hit, with Pedro Feliciano bolting for the Bronx, not only games-wise, but if Feliciano pays dividends for the Yanks, that will not bode well at all for the aforementioned braintrust. Speaking of the aforementioned, that brings us to Jason Isringhausen. After his 14-year absence from the Mets, Izzy wants to give it one more shot with his original team. It would be scary if he became an integral part of this team, but with the existing state of the bullpen, don't rule it out.
After all, Francisco Rodriguez is not out of the clear of his legal troubles, by any means. I shudder to think what this bullpen will look like, if K-Rod loses it again after a game, particularly one he doesn't pitch in.
Well, the one silver lining here is that it's almost baseball season again. No matter how you feel about your team, the breeze of the summer can make it all better - well, maybe. I'll put in my two cents on the position players next week. Until then, thanks for reading this inaugural edition of Extra Bases.
During the baseball season, be sure and catch me, along with my partner, Matt Dagastino on the New York Mets Audio Minute, which can be found at http://mets.lexy.com.