Friday, April 24, 2009

NL East Tour: Baltimore mets

At a Glance
Owner: pitnickd - .495 winning percentage, 5 playoffs, 0 World Series titles
Team history: pitnickd's 12th season at the helm, 3 playoff appearances in franchise history (last in season 9)
Last season: 79-83, 3rd place in division
Top hitter: Clay Tanner (.270 BA, .354 OBP, .611 SLG, 57 HR, 130 RBI last season)
Top starting pitcher: Lance Coleman (1-4 with a 3.96 ERA in injury-shortened season, 16-2 with a 1.92 ERA two seasons ago)
Top relief pitcher: Kevin Wood (0-2 with a 5.30 ERA and 22 saves last season)

Notable Departures

Marvin Brantley, Joshua Spencer, Charles Yamaguchi, Tomas Tatis, Mandy Cannon, and Matthew Buck: The Baltimore mets allowed all of these players to leave via free agency, probably in a budget-minded move. Although some are destined to remain on the trash heap, I am surprised that several of them haven't found a new team yet. Brantley batted .272 with 21 HR last year and is a 2-time All-Star with declining, though still serviceable, skill. Spencer is a soft-throwing lefty who compiled a 7.48 ERA last season and who might never see the big leagues again. Yamaguchi is a solid righty with a 4.55 career ERA in 500 ML innings, though he is hampered by durability issues. Tatis had a 6.47 ERA last year and has control issues that have kept him unsigned. Cannon is 40-year old former All-Star who will likely retire soon. Buck is a three-time All-Star whose declining skill only suits him for a possible bench job due to durability and health concerns.

Brady Scott: The mets traded away young LHP Scott in a deal that netted them Carl Edmonds. Scott already has two 60-day DL trips to his record, though experts believe there's not much to worry about going forward. Although he has 4 quality pitches, his mediocre control and tendency to struggle against righties has caused scouts to label him as nothing more than a probable bottom-of-the-rotation starter.

Notable Additions
Carl Edmonds: The mets received Edmonds straight up for Scott. He provides them with a solid arm in the bullpen with his three plus-pitches and good velocity. However, his mediocre durability could limit his innings.

Tony De La Vega: The mets snatched up De La Vega from the free agency pool with a 5-year, $33.5 million contract. De La Vega has both starting and closing experience, and his career 4.07 ERA will be welcome in Baltimore.

Alex Freeman: The mets continued spending, snatching up 7-time All-Star Freeman with a 5-year, $38 million contract. Over the last 11 years, Freeman posted a .307 batting average, 209 HR, and 344 SB for the division rival Lancers.

Alex Rivera: The mets finished off their spending spree with a 3-year, $17.4 million contract to Rivera. The centerfielder from Virginia batted .271 with 16 HR and 24 SB last season for the Colorado Springs Field Mice.

Prospect to Watch
Ewell Romano: This 23-year old RF is a product of the mets farm system, having been drafted in the 1st round in the season 9 draft. He can hit with power and for average, and has a solid eye at the plate. Look for him to be the first man called up for the mets, though he is blocked by Tanner and Stan Damon.

Season Synopsis
The mets spent big this off-season, looking to win now. The batting on this team has always been solid, and it got even better with the additions of Freeman and Rivera. As always, the question is whether or not the pitching can hold up. The staff has some solid talent, such as Coleman, Bartolo Montana, and Placido Pena, but the bullpen is weak and the bottom of the rotation will probably walk a lot of men. Season 12 prediction: 78-84

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