Friday, March 7, 2008

Know Thy Enemy: New York Mets

After a mixture of success and disappointment the last few seasons, Mets fans are now hopeful that Johan Santana is the final piece of the puzzle (and that "World Series Champions" is written in big sparkly letters across the bottom of the puzzle). You're all familiar with the team's core: Johan Santana, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran. If Pedro Martinez can stay healthy and be anything close to "Pedro," then the Mets will have 5 players among the best at their respective positions. The rest of the team isn't that impressive, but doesn't really need to be. Here's some info on the players that Mets fans are hoping won't fuck the whole thing up:

Moises Alou – He hits a ton and somehow still makes a lot of nifty catches in the outfield despite his age. Unfortunately, he doesn't play much and will start the season on the DL.

Ryan Church - I didn't agree with trading Lastings Milledge for him, but he's much better than certain sports talk radio hosts would have you believe. He's above average both offensively (ZIPS projects a solid .272/.351/.469 line) and defensively. His last name is Church, so he believes that people who don't go to church will burn in hell. And by "people who don't go to church," I mean Jews.

"En-dy Cha-vez" - Beloved by Mets fans everywhere. If Coco Crisp is still on the Sox's roster this year, he'll essentially be your team's Endy Chavez: weak bat for an everyday player, but fine when he fills in as a fourth outfielder who can provide A+ defense at any of the three outfield positions.

Angel Pagan - A cool name, a healthy body, and a strong start to his spring means this guy's probably going to make the opening day roster.

Carlos Delgado - It's hard for Mets fans not to think of the tail end of Mo Vaughn's career when looking at Delgado, but he's not quite as large and not quite as hurt. Seems pretty dedicated to making adjustments, so there's a decent chance he bounces back somewhat this season.

Luis Castillo - He's a generic slap hitting, speedy second baseman. About as good a player as other free agents like David Eckstein and Tad Iguchi, but got a much longer, more expensive deal. Hooray Omar!

Marlon Anderson - The team's pinch hitting specialist appropriately began his career with a pinch hit homerun off Mets' reliever Mel Rojas.

Jose Valentin - He has a mustache.

Anderson Hernandez - If everything turns out just right, he'll develop into Alex Cora.

Ramon Castro - This backup catcher's .556 slugging percentage last season was better than any other Met (and better than any Sox not named Ortiz).

Brian Schneider - This starting catcher had a .336 slugging percentage last season.

Gustavo Molina - He has no chance at making the team. What's remarkable is that he's a catcher named Molina, but is not related to the catching Molina brothers.

Oliver Perez - Every time Oliver Perez starts a game, it feels like there's a good chance he'll flirt with a no-hitter and a good chance that the bullpen will have to bail him out in the third inning. Before Pedro returned and Johan arrived, he was clearly the most exciting Met pitcher to watch.

John Maine - Very solid fourth starter. In 47 starts with the Mets, he's 21-15 with a 3.83 era and a 251/107 k/bb ratio in 280 innings.

Orlando Hernandez - Severe bunions and other related problems have forced him to abandon his signature high-leg windup. The end is near. Paging Kyle Lohse?

Billy Wagner - Most baseball fans think of Wagner as one of the top closers of the last decade. Some Mets fans think of him as the extremely negative guy who's offered up these quotes as of late:
on the '07 Mets: "Honestly, we were never really that good, we were lucky."
on the '08 Mets: "I think the Phillies are probably the top team, I think the Braves are second and I think we're probably somewhere like third."
on Billy Wagner: "I don't have the ability I had five years ago."

Duaner Sanchez - Keep this man away from taxis!

Ambiorix Burgos - He owns $270,000 in jewelry, which he sometimes keeps in a shaving bag in his hotel room. I choose to believe that his jewelry collection includes an enormous diamond encrusted "Ambiorix" necklace.

Bad jokes and bad injuries aside, I predict the Mets win 92-95 games and the division. I'm not going any further than that.

Ryan Cannata occasionally writes about the Mets at He was in attendance for Todd Pratt's homerun and Endy Chavez's catch.

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