The New York Mets are going into the 2010 season with a clean slate from last year’s dreadful season. The main issue in ’09 was staying on the field, as Beltran, Reyes, Delgado, Santana and Wright all had stints on the DL. With Delgado moving on (hopefully into retirement), we have one less injury prone player to worry about in 2010.

Another huge problem last season was the lack of pitching depth. At one point, Pat Misch, Nelson Figueroa, and Fernando Nieve were all in the starting rotation. The most important thing going into the 2010 season was to bring in quality arms that will help them clinch the playoffs. This was not executed, as the Mets have the same pitchers in ’10 as they did in ’09. Their starting rotation as of last week consists of Santana, Maine, Niese, Pelfrey, Perez. There are a lot of question marks between these pitchers, other than Johan. Can Maine go a full season without getting injured? Will Perez be the same pitcher he was in ’07? Does Pelfrey finally step up and show the Mets that he can be a dominant #2 starter? Mets fans are concerned, but lets wait until the season gets under way to criticize the lack of offseason moves.

Another problem heading into this season is that Carlos Beltran is starting it on the DL. No surprise there. It seems he’s been on the DL once in every year he’s been on the Mets, or at least recently. This only makes the signing of Jason Bay even more important. He and David Wright cannot spark that offense without the help of someone else stepping up, like a Jeff Francoeur or Mike Jacobs.

Key Acquisition: Jason Bay

Key Loss: Carlos Delgado

The good news is we really don’t have any key losses from last season. Carlos Delgado not being resigned might have been the best move Minaya made all offseason. Also, the fact that we really only signed Jason Bay is also good news, because it means they didn’t spend all their money in a ridiculous manner for a mediocre pitcher, like a Joel Pineiro or Jason Marquis.

It’s good news that we finally got a decent catching duo in Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco. Both are superb defensive catchers and Barajas has some pop. Blanco used to catch Johan Santana when they played for the Minnesota Twins, which could serve as a useful combo this season.

The bad news is Carlos Beltran won’t be on the field until at least mid-May and Jose Reyes now has a thyroid problem. ¬†Will these injury problems never leave? Is CitiField cursed? I think that there were a lot of raised questions last year concerning all the players going on the DL. However, Jose Reyes will only miss the first few games of the season, and we’ll hopefully see the most exciting and electric baseball player on the field for the Mets on Saturday.

More bad news is that our pitching staff got bombed in Spring Training. Granted, ST does not mean much, but it doesn’t give much confidence going forward for the staff. Pelfrey MUST have the season fans have been expecting out of him in 2010. He turned 26 in the offseason, which is a prime age for pitchers coming into their own. Perez needs to earn the 3 year 36 million contract he signed in ’09 and be, more often then not, “Good Ollie”.

All in all, there are ups and downs for this squad in 2010. In order for this team to make the playoffs, everything will need to go right for them. Almost like the opposite of 2009.

5 Keys to the Season:

1. Stay healthy

2. Put the best players on the field (Ike Davis if he’s the best 1B option)

3. Strong pitching staff

4. Wright’s power

5. Supporting cast stepping up (besides the core players)

If all of these occur, I think it will be an exciting season for the Mets.

NL East Prediction:

1. Phillies 99-63

2. Braves 92-70

3. Marlins 83-79

4. Mets 75-87

5. Nationals 64-98

I’m placing them in 4th place mainly due to all the questions they have in their pitching rotation. The Phillies will dominate the division now that they have Roy Halladay along with the best offense in the league. Braves have a terrific rotation in Jurrjens, Hudson, Hanson, Lowe, and Kawakami. I expect them to get the wild card. Marlins, I feel, are a better team then the Mets. I think they have a better offense and better pitching [potential], which is why I put them over the Mets. In last place, the Nationals are much improved in 2010, but will still be dominated in this strong division.

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