2009 New York Mets Team Preview

2009 New York Mets Team Preview

by Badger of Predictem.com

For the New York Mets players, coaches and faithful fans the 2008 season ended in the same fashion as the 2007 season with bitter
disappointment. Once again the Mets were unable to hold onto a lead
and a spot in the postseason, this time coughing up the National
League wildcard spot to the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-2 loss to the
Florida Marlins in the final game of the regular season.

After struggling out of the gate in 2008 the Mets fired manager
Willie Randolph near midseason and replaced him with interim manager
Jerry Manuel. Manuel got them closer, but once again the Mets final
record of 89-73 kept them just three games back of the NL East
champion Phillies and a game away from the wildcard.

In typical New York fashion, general manager Omar Minaya spared no
expense to try and reverse what has become a trend in the past few
seasons by going out and getting one of the biggest names in the free
agent market, closer Francisco Rodriguez. Manuel also had the interim
tag lifted soon after the season ended, so it will be his job to keep
the Mets ship afloat in 2009.

2009 World Series Odds 8-to-1
2009 NL Pennant Odds 3-to-1
2009 NL East Division Odds 1.3-to-1

(All of the listed odds are those currently offered at any site in our Sportsbook Reviews section.

With the exception of the major overhaul of the bullpen, the 2009
Mets lineup will have a similar look and feel to it. However, the
Mets will be playing in a brand new stadium in 2009, moving over from
Shea Stadium into their new digs at Citi Field, although there is
already talk that since Citigroup took some of the federal bailout
money they might have to give up the naming rights to the stadium. So
who knows what the stadium will be called by midseason.


Offense Minaya spent the entire offseason revamping the bullpen and
the pitching staff, so the everyday lineup wont be much different
than it was in 2008. Depending on your point of view, that could be
good or bad.

Shortstop Jose Reyes is perhaps the best table-setter in the National League, finishing last year with 56 steals and 113 runs scored. David
Wright (33 HR, 124 RBI, 115 R) put up MVP type numbers until he too
faded down the stretch in clutch time, and center fielder Carlos
Beltran produced in typical fashion (27 HR, 112 RBI, 116 R) despite
playing injured most of the season.

The huge question mark for the Mets will be aging first baseman Carlos Delgado. Delgado hit 38 homeruns and drove in 115 runs last season, but hell turn 37 during the season and who really knows how
much he has left in the tank.

The Mets will also go into the season with Ryan Church (.276, 12 HR, 49 RBI) and Daniel Murphy (.313 in 131 AB) as their starting right
and left fielders, respectively. Backing them up is Fernando Tatis,
who enjoyed a comeback season of sorts last year
batting .297 with 11 HR and 47 RBI in 273 at bats. But it doesnt
take Bill James to figure out that these three could become the weak
link in the Mets lineup, putting even more pressure on the pitching
staff to perform over their heads in 2009.

Pitching After spending the big bucks to go out and trade for Johan
Santana last offseason, the Mets tried to land a few more big name
starting pitchers only to lose out in the end to other teams (namely,
the other team in New York). Santana went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA and
206 strikeouts in 234-plus innings, so theres no doubt the Mets have
a No. 1 starter that can match up with anyone else in the league.

After that, it gets sketchy.

Righties Mike Pelfrey (13-11, 3.72) and John Maine (10-8, 4.18) both pitched well despite being young and inexperienced at the start of the 2008 season. If both pitchers make the normal progression and
continue to trend toward the upside, as the Mets are hoping and
predicting, then they should have a solid 1-through-3 in the rotation.

The Mets did sign a free agent starter, but it was one of their own,
when the resigned inconsistent lefty Oliver Perez in early February.
At times Perez can be unhittable and dominate, but more often than
not he fails to repeat his delivery mechanics which results in a
whopping 105 walks and 167 hits in just 194 innings (1.40 WHIP). Hes
the type of pitcher that makes managers go gray prematurely and gnaw
their fingernails down to nubs.

Tim Redding (10-11, 4.95 with Washington), Nelson Figueroa (3-3, 4.57 in six starts with the Mets), Freddy Garcia (missed all of 2008 with shoulder injury) and rookies Jonathon Niese and Bobby Parnell will
compete for the final starting spot in the rotation.

Bullpen With 29 blown saves, getting some late innings help in the
bullpen was priority number one for Minaya and the Mets this
offseason, and they addressed it big time.

Not only did the Mets sign K-Rod and his record 62 saves to close out
games, but they also traded for righty J.J. Putz from the Seattle
Mariners to be the 8th-inning setup man for K-Rod. Putz had 15 saves
for the Mariners last season and has experience in late-inning
pressure situations.

With Putz and K-Rod at the back end, it moves Duaner Sanchez and lefty-specialist Pedro Feliciano up into the 7th-inning role where
they are more likely to thrive in.

Gambling Review/Preview

Betting on the Mets was a losing proposition in 2008, as they finished the regular season at -541 with nearly identical home-road
splits (48-33, -279 home; 41-40, -262 road). They were however one
of the best teams to place a runline wager on, as they finished at
+1200 for the season. Their bullpen woes also made them a great team
to bet on the over, as they went 84-65 versus the total in 2008.

Sports bettors will surely be watching to see if Redding wins the 5th
starters role, as he was +1386 as a starter last season when the
Nationals won 20 of his 33 starts. Despite large odds every time out,
Santana also came home a winner in 2008 at +453 when the Mets won 22
of his 34 starts.

At 8-to-1 odds, oddsmakers consider the Mets a top four team to win the World Series behind just the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs. But
unlike those three teams, I just dont see the top-to-bottom studs at
every position and one-through-five depth in the rotation on the Mets
roster like I do with the aforementioned favorites. Could it happen,
sure. Will it happen, unlikely.

Adding K-Rod to the back-end is the type of acquisition that square bettors will take to the window, hence to low odds from the
bookmakers. But without a formidable lineup, and top-line starting
pitching, how many chances will K-Rod really get to nail games down
in the 9th? The Mets will be in the thick of the chase all the way
until October again this year, but at the odds they are receiving,
they are just not a futures bet worth taking at this point.