Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ringolsby's 10 Key Players For Contenders, No Mets Listed...Don't Sleep on the Mets

 In a fun little interactive article for, Tracy Ringolsby identifies 10 players who are key to their teams chances to win the World Series.  Ringolsby identies Joba Chamberlain (Yankees), Ian Stewart (Colorado), Chad Billingsley (Dodgers), Brad Lidge (Phillies), Chipper Jones (Braves), Brandon Wood (Anaheim), Alex Rios (White Sox), Brad Penny (Cardinals), Marco Scutaro (Red Sox) and Rafael Soriano (Rays) as the key players for his 10 world series contenders.  The only really blatant inaccuracy with the article is that while Chipper Jones is written about, the corresponding photo is actually of Nate McClouth.

Regardless, I'm here to talk about this: No Mets are listed here.  Which if you put two and two together means that Ringolsby doesn't think the Mets can contend this season.  I'd like to say I disagree, but I don't...not completely.  I firmly believe no one expects the Mets to do anything this year, including a lot of the fan base.  And although I agree with Ringolsby that they shouldn't be listed higher than any of the teams he listed as the top 10 contenders, I think this Mets team is dangerous.  And I think the league as a whole knows it...

I think the Mets are in prime position to do this year, what the Cardinals did after the 2007 season.  In 2007 the Cardinals went 78-84, mostly due to injuries and a not-so-hot pitching staff.  Outside of Pujols, at 158 games played, the next most games played by a Cardinal that season was by Aaron Miles at 133 games...yikes.  Also, Chris Carpenter made only one start that season, and Kip Wells and Anthony Reyes were their number 3 and 4 starters...Starting to sound familiar?

In 2008 the Cardinals were able to improve largely on their record and went 86-76.  Which, due to some ridiculous records in the NL Central that year landed them in 4th place 11.5 games out of first.  In 2009 the Cardinals got completely healthy, and some production from young players (Rasmus especially) and went 91-71, winning the NL Central by 7.5 games over the Cubs. 

My point here is this, after 2007 no one thought the Cardinals were any good, and then they put together a pretty good season in 2008 (Which, by the way a 86-76 record in 2009, what the Cardinals finished with in 2008, is exactly the record the Braves finished with last year and had them in the wild card discussion in September). 

If the Mets can turn it around like the 2008 Cardinals did, at least there'd be some hope at the trade deadline, and this year I don't think Omar would sit on his hands, especially considering the free agents that are scheduled to find the market next winter.

I'm not saying the Mets should be on that list of contenders, but I am saying the rest of the major leagues shouldn't sleep on them this year.  The same way they shouldn't have slept on the Cardinals in 2008 and 2009, because as good as the Cardinals were last year, no one expected them to win the division.  The Cubs were the team to beat.  Maybe the Mets can get healthy and turn it around, maybe they won't, but I have to admit I like the role they are in, not expected to contend, and the only way to go is up...

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