If, If, If…

With 25 days until the season opener in Miami, the New York Mets are playing out their spring exhibition season like everybody else, looking to see who should be brought up North or actually South this year to make the final cut.

Despite all the attention ownership is receiving about their financial woes and past investments, the team has been playing daily, without any major injuries under new management and coaching staff.

The Mets are hoping to fly under the radar this season as nobody is expecting big things with a team relying on a handful of ifs. The rotation will not be headed by Johan Santana for the first time in four years, relying instead on last years 15 game winner Mike Pelfrey to be their number 1, followed by R.A Dickey, Jonathan Neise, Chris Young and Chris Capuano. R.A. Dickey was a pleasant surprise last year winning 11 games and a sub 3.00 ERA. Neise first full year in the bigs was a good one, however the last month he wore down and had an era over 7.00. Young and Capuano were low risk pick-ups in the off season hoping to eat innings and provide some leadership. Both, have been allstars in the past before arm issues plagued them.

The lineup looks rather solid,”If” Beltran can play a full season on his ailing knees. “If” Jason Bay can bounce back from a late summer concussion and be the hitter they signed for 4yrs/ 65 million. “If” Jose Reyes can remain healthy in his walk year and be the base threat that he has been in the past. And “if” they can find the second baseman who can get the job done defensively, which is currently a battle between Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner and rule V draft Brad Emaus.

The bullpen…well, we will see how that pans out. They do still have Frankie Rodriguez closing games at the moment. Will he make over 55 appearances putting into effect the $17 million dollars he  would be due? Does Reyes get traded if he is having a great season, so the Mets can get something in return?

I think alot has to go right this season for the Mets to be a considered a wild card team. They arent even the 3rd best team in their division. Does the new manager Terry Collins keep the team motivated and hold the team’s collective ear? Can Josh Thole become the every day catcher the Mets believe he will?

Anyway, as a die hard Mets fan, I know that alot is expected to happen for this team to be competitive longer than just the All Star break.

Prediction for 2011: fourth place 82-80