I Heart Dayn Perry
For 2007, I must have made a New Year's resolution to bury the hatchet whilst I was drunk and not remembered it. Forgiveness is in the air. First is was my admission that Buster Olney was my favorite blogger. Then it was the realization that I came to when reading Keith Law's chats in that I no longer hate him. Now I actually like him and I'm also on the Dayn Perry train.
1. Will the Mets' rotation be good enough?
The Mets, of course, wisely passed on Barry Zito at the going rates, but that leaves them with a rotation of Tom Glavine and ... lots of unknown quantities. They'll cobble together the middle and back end from a group that comprises Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa, Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Jason Vargas and Chan Ho Park. There's not a certainty in the lot, but at least they have options.
Yes they do and that is more than I can say for many other contenders.
2. Then again, can anyone hang with the Mets?
Of course, the Mets in 2006 had a fairly middling rotation (their starters' ERA of 4.67 ranked 8th in the NL), and they still managed to win the division by a full 12 games. So can the Phillies, Braves or upstart Marlins (sorry, Nats, you're not in the discussion just yet) manage to challenge the Amazin's? Probably not. However, the suspect nature of the New York rotation means things could get interesting. Right now, however, the Mets are far and away the most talented team in the division.
Probably not able to hang? Far and away the best?
Anyhow, even if Pedro's timetable gets pushed back to, say, July, the Mets will still be getting one of the most potent deadline additions. There's always the possibility that Pedro will be but a shadow of his former self, but the smart money says he'll give the Mets a half-season's worth of innings and a sub-4.00 ERA. That's precisely what they'll need. There's one more reason the Mets are sure bets to win the East in '07.
Never bet against Pedro. He is a first ballot Hall of Famer that has been pitching at 60% of what he was capable of when was healthier before his tenure with the Mets. Even if he comes back less than vintage Pedro, which I'm sure he will, he will be better than the version the Mets received, which was pretty fucking good.
Shea is conducive to pitching and tends to make pitchers a bit better than they are. Couple that with a solid bullpen and you have officially masked any potential deficiencies that this rotation might have, which is not a guarantee that they will have them. For me, the Mets are a better team than they were last year. Will they reach 97 wins next season? Not likely and that is the real point. The Mets will not be as good in the win/loss column and it will be a closer race. But they will prevail because they are the better team.
Playing 162 games has a way of ensuring the best team wins.
Mets: Free-agent left fielder Moises Alou was a solid one-year investment, but the Mets remain stuck with two other 40-somethings, lefty Tom Glavine and righty Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, at the top of their rotation. They've got plenty of options, young and old, but it's almost inconceivable that they failed to add a proven starter when righty Pedro Martinez will be out at least half the season. A more formidable rotation would make the Mets prohibitive favorites in the NL East.
Ken. They tried man. Let it go. They tried. You make it sound like they made a concerted effort to not get a certifiable ace.
"As much as everyone questions our staff, I believe we're in a much better position this year than we were last year at this time," Peterson told me yesterday. "We have a pretty good recipe. And we're going to have competition, which is always a great motivator.
"Hopefully, we'll turn out some good meals."
Pitching is rhythm and Peterson encourages his pitchers to sometimes listen to their iPods during those sessions. Soon after Perez came aboard last year, Peterson had a conversation with him that went something like this:
"Do you like to dance?" Peterson asked.
"Yes," Perez answered.
"Well, right now you are doing the waltz, you need to be doing the merengue," Peterson explained.
Why will the Mets have a solid staff? Rick Peterson.
"Sure, we don't have five Cy Youngs on our staff, but no one else does, either," Peterson said. "We have quality and we have depth."
"Last year was a lot of firsts for a lot of guys, veterans and young guys," Wright, 24, explained at the team's spring training complex. "This year we have that playoff experience under our belt. We know what it takes to win. We've been there, done that. I think we are a lot more confident in knowing what we are capable of doing going into this year. We have a little more swagger.
"We have the core group of guys coming back from last year, we have made some key off-season acquisitions. I think our bullpen is second to none in the National League."
Doc Jones (BK): Rob - any chance Willis is heading out? I know they're trying to get the stadium deal done, but how about a swap with Mets for Reyes and a prospect like Pelfrey?
SportsNation Rob Neyer: I happen to think the Marlins are going to regress somewhat this season, and I also happen to think that even if they get a deal for a new building, they can't afford to sign both Willis and Cabrera to long-term extensions. So yeah, I won't be surprised to see Willis dealt, but not until July.
Reyes is worth more than Willis! Forget the fact Doc Jones just tossed Mike Pelfrey into the deal for the hell of it.
Jake (VA Beach): I'm surprised you didn't jump all over Doc Jones for the trade of Willis for Reyes (and Pelfrey to boot). Seriously, tell him and everyone here Reyes is the best SS in the game, and you were wrong about him years ago.
SportsNation Rob Neyer: Right, that one's on me. The Mets wouldn't trade Reyes, plus the Marlins are one of the few teams that would have little use for him.
Jake...I have to believe that's you. If so, shame on you for not using Swellville, VA. Shame on you.
Eric (NY): Gary, could you please offer your insight into the Chan Ho Park signing? Do you think he'll end up being a useful arm or a worthless loss of 600K?
SportsNation Gary Gillette: I don't have much faith in Park, but the Mets can afford to gamble $600K on the chance he'll be a productive No. 5 starter or even a spot starter.
SportsNation Gary Gillette: When you're in the situation the Mets are, you need to purchase insurance by adding some veterans at reasonable prices and not view it as a waste of money.
SportsNation Gary Gillette: That doesn't mean squandering boatloads of money on guys whose greatness is long gone (e.g., Mo Vaughn), but low-rent options like Park are reasonable.
SportsNation Gary Gillette: The current Mets' management understands that; the old brain trust certainly didn't.
This will probably draw the ire of many fans.
Ragan (pa): Lightning round: Better foundation for a franchise, Utley and Howard or Reyes and Wrong?
SportsNation Gary Gillette: Tough Q. I'd go with Utley and Howard.
Before last year, it was a no brainer. Now that Howard is an absolute beast of epic proportions, he made things more even. However, I still side with the age the athleticism. In the long term, the Mets duo will hold up better and frankly be around for more years being that they are younger.