As it seems every year with the New York Mets, there are plenty of questions to be answered, For now, we will go with these five, as I believe they are the main questions that need to be taken care of before Opening Day against the Florida Marlins on April 1st. Some are obvious, and some, not so much.
1) Carlos Beltran – A decision has to be made before the season starts as to whether or not Beltran can play right field, both from a defensive and an injury perspective. Let's face it, Beltran is going to be banged up this season. I think that has become clear. What isn't clear is exactly how will he adjust to Angel Pagan being the outfield general? Remember, Beltran has one spring training game under his belt. To put him out there at even more of a disadvantage than what he will already be at could cost the Mets dearly.
2) Second base – Your remaining candidates are Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus, and Luis Hernandez. By the way, I do not consider Chin-lung Hu a serious candidate, although nothing would shock me. You don't want a repeat of the first base situation last year, where Mike Jacobs was given the job, only to have fans clamor for Ike Davis the entire time. Furthermore, the Mets need to get off to a fast start, and a mistake with this decision could hamper them defensively.
The final three have to do with the pitching, which brings us to #3, and that's Jason Isringhausen. Is he healthy? Is he still good enough to get big league hitters out in a prominent role? As we saw with Jerry Manuel, playing musical chairs with the bullpen during the season really doesn't work, so Terry Collins has to make a firm decision here.
4) Can the Mets survive with one lefty in the bullpen. With the release of Oliver Perez, it appears that Tim Byrdak is the frontrunner for the lefty specialist role, which was vacated by Pedro Feliciano heading to the Yankees. Will he be enough, especially against the Phillies, and their left-heavy lineup?
5) Do the Mets carry 12 or 13 pitchers? Terry Collins says that he is looking at that closely, and that a lot of that will depend on the length that the starting pitching can take the Mets. You don't want to burn a roster spot for a position player, unless you're sure that you need that 13th arm.
Surely, there are other questions that will be addressed before and during the 2011 season. However, with the Mets desparately needing to get off to a hot start, the time is now to answer at least a few of them, and answer them correctly.