Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Mets. Here's what we wrote about the team on October 14th. Changes for 2009:
Additions: Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, Sean Green, Darren O'Day, Oliver Perez (re-signed), Tim Redding, Connor Robertson, Alex Cora, Carlos Delgado (exercised option), Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan, Fernando Tatis (re-signed), Freddy Garcia, Casey Fossum, Livan Hernandez, Ramon Martinez, Bobby Kielty, Rob Mackowiak
Subtractions: Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou, Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, Scott Schoeneweis, Claudio Vargas, Jorge Sosa, Luis Ayala, Joe Smith, Damion Easley, Endy Chavez
Last year the Mets tied for 2nd in the NL with 4.93 runs scored per game. Despite a similar lineup, CHONE projections and the lineup analysis tool put them at 4.69 per game for '09. Rather than any one player, the projection system sees small declines for multiple guys. Should Omar Minaya have brought in a corner outfielder?
The rotation hasn't changed much either. Last year's group posted a 3.98 ERA in 971 innings, 5th in the NL. The front four of Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Perez, and John Maine may again be followed by a revolving door of fifth starters. This time the candidates are Hernandez, Redding, Garcia, and Jon Niese. It's inexact, but using CHONE I have the Mets starters around a 4.20 ERA in '09. The system does not see Santana and Pelfrey repeating their ERAs (2.53 and 3.72).
The focus of the offseason was to revamp the bullpen. Minaya signed K-Rod and traded for Putz and Green. These improvements should make up for any slippage by the rotation. The Mets played strong defense in '08, and that should hold true in '09.
The bullpen should add a few wins, but will that improvement be balanced out by a slightly worse offense and rotation? If so, the Mets are an 86 win team.
Bottom line: Minaya may not have done enough by revamping his bullpen and bringing in a new fifth starter cast. The Mets could be players at the trade deadline.