As Mets fans, we’ve come to expect second half disappointments since the 2007 season. So the 2012 season is nothing new for us. The collapse has come in July and August instead of September like it usually does. But the 2012 Mets are still exceeding my expectations.
Before the season I predicted that this would be a 65-70 win team. Currently, the Mets are on pace to win 73. That would be a solid season for the sad roster that the Mets put together this season.
Let’s face it. The Mets won 77 games last year and then lost one of the best players in team history, Jose Reyes, in free agency. They traded Angel Pagan to the Giants for a bag of balls. What did you really expect? Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch would come in and account for more than 7 wins between them. Continue reading →
The Mets pitchers and catchers have to report to Port St. Lucie by tomorrow and have their physicals on Tuesday. There isn’t a lot of intrigue this year given the team’s dire financial situation. But the one pitcher that everyone will be keeping an eye on is Johan Santana. He missed all of last season recovering from surgery on his left shoulder and there are still major questions about when he can come back. And there are even bigger questions about how effective he’ll be when he does come back. The good news is that Santana only has two years left on his deal with the Mets plus a team option for 2014. I never thought that I’d be counting down the days until Santana’s contract ended.
There are some new faces in the bullpen this year. Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, and Frank Francisco will be the newly acquired back of the bullpen. Tim Byrdak will be back as the lefty specialist. D.J. Carrasco might find himself back in the minors again if he can’t keep it together. Carrasco might be pitching along side Pedro Beato at Buffalo this season. Beato started hot last season but ended dreadfully. He’s available to send back to the minors now that the Mets got past his Rule 5 season. Continue reading →
The Mets signed 6’10” reliever Jon Rauch to a 1 year/$3.5 million deal to, presumably, work the back end of the bullpen. Mets fans are familiar with Rauch from his year in Washington. He’s kicked around the league a bit since then and pitched for the Blue Jays last year with 11 saves and an ugly 4.85 ERA.
Rauch has always pitched in a lot of games. Last season he pitched in 53 games which was his lowest total since 2005. His career ERA is 3.82 and he’s certainly an imposing presence on the mound, not only because of his height but he’s covered in tattoos from head to toe.
Rauch will provide an experienced arm in the back of the bullpen to work in front of Frank Francisco and team with Bobby Parnell to work the seventh and eighth innings.
The Mets got their closer for 2012 and 2012 in free agent Frank Francisco. He agreed to a 2 year/$12 million deal to work the ninth inning for the Mets. He’s one of the last free agent closers to agree to a contract after Jonathan Papelbon got the market going by signing with Phillies early in the game. Since then the closers have been going quickly which left the Mets with the bargain basement choices left without a chair.
Francisco had 17 saves with Toronto last year with a 3.55 ERA. He’s 32 years old and has a career 3.72 ERA.
Bobby Parnell didn’t appear to be up to the closing job in 2011 so the Mets had to go outside the organization. But it didn’t make sense to go for the high end closers like Papelbon or Heath Bell because the Mets don’t look like they’ll be winning a lot of games in 2012. There’s nothing to save if you’re losing.
Francisco is a solid, low-end closer that doesn’t break the bank. He’ll hold down the fort for two seasons while the Mets ride out the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana.