Seven games into the season the Mets sit at 3-4, tied with the Nats at the bottom of the NL East. But seven games into the season, Mets fans should be happy with their 3-4 record.
A team that won 79 games last year, showing brief hints of greatness which was covered up by the Mets’ regular second-half struggle, this year’s team had a different feel to it. The second-half slide last year did have its positives though: it led way for Lucas Duda to make his debut, gave Josh Thole the everyday catching job (the Ronny Paulino situation is worth monitoring, we will see if that turns into a platoon situation), let Jon Neise establish himself in the Mets rotation and also allowed Dillon Gee to have a shot at things in the staff. All four were pleasant surprises last year, and in addition to Ike Davis and Bobby Parnell, it appears the Mets are rolling out the carpet for their next generation of players. I think all Mets fans are encouraged that the Mets gave their kids a chance to prove themselves last year, and with new management establishing defined roles for all of the big time AA and AAA kids, the next 2 years offer fans a lot more optimism than what existed in Queens just a couple of seasons ago.
Chris Young looks good, and can very easily prove to be one of the best signings of the off-season, and I expect other pitchers to look to CitiField as a chance to reestablish their careers in the future. Willie Harris is no longer killing the Mets, but raking for them. Until Bay comes back, Harris should be given the everyday job out in left. Another reason for optimism is Beltran’s swing. Beltran has played surprisingly well out in right, but even more encouraging than that is Beltran’s swing which looks to be in 2007-form. I would not be at all surprised if Beltran has a big walk year and capitalizes on one more mid-sized contract. For the Mets, the most important part of Beltran playing well would be a mid-season trade (current blue-chippers who were acquired in mid-season trades for veterans are Indians’ catcher Carlos Santana, the Padres’ Clayton Richard, Nats’ catcher Wilson Ramos…) and I think all Mets fans would be happy to see the Mets get back some good young pitching in return for Beltran.
Another reason to be encouraged is Brad Emaus. His defense has surprised me at second, but I still can’t help but feel like Daniel Murphy’s bat is wasting away on the bench. I would like to see Murphy be given a chance to prove himself either in the outfield or at second before season’s end.
Seven games in the Mets have shown what Mets fans want to see. They are a competitive team – albeit their spotty bullpen – with a lineup that has proven it is willing to grind (coming back from 7 down the other night in Philly – today’s 0-10 with RISP was awful though, and a hard to watch reminder of last season). The best thing for the Mets would be to continue to build on solid starts by Young, Wright, Beltran and Reyes. Building trade value should be the team’s top consideration, and the fact that the Mets have reassignmed most of their scouts to the minors, focusing on other team’s young talent is a good sign for the future. At this point in the season, I am happy with what I have seen.