(To read past year’s letters, click here)
Dear Philadelphia Phillies,
You suck. That’s right, you heard me. You’re the “popular” pick to win the division, much like the Mets were predicted to win the World Series last year. You know what? It doesn’t matter. You get credit in analysts’ eyes for being there in the past, but that doesn’t actually get you any wins in 2010.
You already get one big black mark for letting Cliff Lee leave when you acquired Halladay. Now suddenly your rotational is only marginally better, at best. And you have at least as many question marks at the Mets. Sure, those questions have turned out to be exclamation points in the past, but this is a different year. Maybe Hamels was a one-hit wonder, and will continue to be merely pedestrian. Blanton has never been anything special, and Moyer had a hot spring, but is hardly a reliable product in the rotation. Happ is the one thing to hold on to, in that he had a really good year in his time up last year. There is no guarantee that that will continue, that he won’t get figured out by the league and fail to adjust, that he won’t suffer the sophomore curse.
Pedro Feliz was such a solid feature at third base that I just don’t buy that Polanco is anything more than a lateral move at best. Your bullpen is extremely suspect, and while you do have a potent offense, the Mets did match you in runs scored prior to the injury-plagued 2009. This offseason you lock up a couple of your players to long term contracts, and coupled with letting Lee go, it’s apparent you don’t have the money to fill any holes that arrive this season.
So, while you get many props for winning the division in previous years, the calendar has turned and that buys you nothing in 2010. You’re at the top of the hill but you’re teetering at the edge. All it would take is one misstep, or one good push, for you to go tumbling back to obscurity.
While I’ve enjoyed having a real rival that’s both geographical close and in the same league, I don’t know if you can keep it up for long enough for us to say that Mets-Phillies is better than Yankees-Red Sox and really mean it. The Mets have some minor injuries to start the season, so you should take advantage of it while you still can. If you can’t start getting ahead in the race, the Mets will steamroll right by you when they’re back to full strength.
It’s going to be a fun and combative year. Can you handle it?
Your bitter enemy,
Optimistic Mets Fan