I’m going to go out on a limb and state that the Mets will not make the playoffs in 2012. This is a team that’s going to focus more on using 2012 to build for 2013 and 2014. The Mets’ hope is they will continue adding pieces to a growing farm system, and pray the Phillies get old, break down and drop in the division while they rise to the top and fight it out with everyone else.
Citi Field will be more hitter friendly with the fences being brought in (finally), which should help the Mets’ offense, as well as make the team more attractive to both free agents and current players at contract time. To begin our look into Sandy Alderson’s task of bringing the Mets back, we’ll start with the starting pitching.
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The Mets ranked 21st in team ERA and 24th in batting average against in 2011. However, starting pitching may end up being one of the strengths of this team in 2012. Johan Santana is the ace and is looking to return after missing all of 2011. If he can return to his former self, and the Mets are out of the race, look for Santana to be on the trade market because management could get a lot in return for him. Mike Pelfrey may be a candidate to be non-tendered for next season, however, if he stays, he will probably be the number two starter. R.A. Dickey will look to rebound from a hard-luck 2011 campaign. His record was 8-13, however, he probably could’ve won in double digits if not for bad luck and a leaky bullpen. Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee will be four and five in the rotation, respectively, and the Mets will look for them to continue their development. If Pelfrey is non-tendered, the last spot is up for grabs and may come from outside the organization.
Chris Capuano pitched well for them in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and will probably be sought after by contending teams. Another target for the Mets may be Staten Island-born Jason Marquis, who they targeted the last time he was a free agent. Jenrry Mejia, who had Tommy John surgery last year and won’t be available for the first part of the year, will be an intriguing option. The Mets hope Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler will be power arms at the top of the rotation for the foreseeable future, however, Wheeler is a couple of years away and Harvey may be ready by September 2012.