When I think about how baldy the Mets 2009 season has been, I cringe. I can't help but think what could've been, even though I know that this season was doomed from the start. This team was not well constructed and the rash of injuries, no matter how severe they were, highlighted the Mets' shortcomings.
And yes, there were many problems with the Mets that we could focus on today:
-the Mets lack of depth
-inability to produce quality players in the minors, who could step in right away
-dependency on old players
-inability to find proper players to supplement the Mets' core
-all those injuries!
But as the Mets move forward, there's one problem are in particular that the Mets need to address before the 2010 season: the starting pitching. And for the first time in years, I'm actually confident that the Mets will make a move to acquire another top flight starting pitcher.
Why do I think this? Well, because the 2009 season left the Mets with more questions than answers regarding the guys that they currently have after Johan Santana. Each one of these guys was given the chance to step up and be the Mets #2 starter, but no one did.
-Mike Pelfrey: Came into the 2009 season as the Mets #2 starter....5.08 ERA this year...can he become the pitcher everyone expects him to be?....HUGE STEP BACK
-Oliver Perez: Came into the 2009 season as the Mets best left handed starting pitcher not named Johan Santana....6.82 ERA this year...dealt with a variety of injuries...INCONSISTENT
-John Maine: Came into the 2009 season as one of the Mets top starting pitchers...4.13 ERA this year, but dealt with a number of injuries and missed significant time...throws too many pitches and almost never lasts more than 5 or 6 innings
Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine were supposed to anchor the rotation after Johan Santana, but none of those guys showed anything this season for me to believe that the Mets should trust any of them to be the #2 starter. That realization could be a blessing in disguise for the Mets.
Think about it: if the Mets go into the offseason with the mindset that Pelfrey, Perez, and Maine are nothing more than 3, 4, and 5 starters; then there should be a very realistic chance that the Mets make a huge run at a big name pitcher. It comes down to being realistic: the Mets can longer depend on any of these three to be the guy behind Johan Santana in 2010. None of them has proven it consistently in the big leagues.
Having another top flight starter to pair with Johan Santana would help jump start the Mets from 2009's laughing stock to contenders in 2010. And who knows, maybe Pelfrey, Maine, and Perez finally make the leap in 2010 and become the pitchers that baseball people think they could be. But the 2009 season has made it very clear, the Mets cannot afford to not go after a top flight starter this offseason.
And for Mets fans everywhere, this is a good thing.
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