For Mets fans it probably feels as if this current off-season started in late August-early September. We all knew by then that the Mets were on a fast track to irrelevance down the stretch and we began to dream about a new General Manager and Manager for our beloved club.
Well two of those items panned themselves out during the last few weeks of 2010. Sandy Alderson became the General Manager and Terry Collins was hired as the Manager. But since those announcements, there hasn't been any huge splash. Nothing that would take over the back pages from the local NFL teams, or the Knicks, or even the Yankees losing. A few signings here and there would sneak into the Transaction column in the newspaper, but again, nothing that would get the blood boiling.
And you know what? I'm okay with that. I've enjoyed this off-season for the Mets.
For both the organization and the fans, you can say this off-season is all a breath of fresh air. We haven't been bombarded with huge signing and huge names. Haven't had to witness any blockbuster deals that chipped away some of our farm system. We've just been able to sit back, relax, rejuvenate ourselves, weed our the bandwagon fans from 2006 (and some of those who may have stuck on during 2007-2008), find the optimism in our club and get ready for Spring Training.
I want people to take a second and recall the first few months of the 2010 season and remember that the Mets were a legit team back then. Into the middle of June, June 22nd if I recall correctly, this Mets team was in the thick of things, battling for first place. Neck and neck with the Phillies. And then the team bottomed out. Exactly why, I have no idea and I'm not sure if other people can exactly pinpoint it.
It was a combination of a lot of things that caused the doom of the Mets in 2010. The offense was pretty bad. Jason Bay could not live up to his numbers and then couldn't get on the field. David Wright continued to be very streaky and saw the strikeout total climb to an absurd level. No pop from our catcher or second baseman. Who was our shortstop? Don't say Jose Reyes because that truly wasn't him. Didn't see the real Carlos Beltran until mid-September, and by then, it was over.
I'm slightly a bit more optimistic for our upcoming 2011 season. I believe that offensively, we should finally be healthy (barring anything unforeseen in Port St. Lucie). Beltran and Bay and Reyes will have their assortment of injuries put behind them. Wright should continue to prove that 2009 was a fluke and continue to produce, even if the strikeouts stay. Ike Davis, a breath of a fresh air during the season, is a year older and more mature and should keep growing. Angel Pagan, our offensive MVP last season, should just continue where he left off last season. Hopefully we get a solid average from our catcher position and I think we will with the short stroke of Josh Thole.
Look, I know that no one expects much from the Mets this season. But it's January right now. The real games don't start until April. So until then, no one knows what to expect from anyone. I'm optimistic. Maybe a foolish optimistic, but an optimist nonetheless.