Yesterday the Wilpons settled their Madoff case, putting a pretty firm handle on what their liabilities are going forward. This is a big step in getting the Mets financially stable. The second step was announced last night as official; The 12 minority shares have sold. They’ve paid back the bridge loans, and have the cash on handle to start getting things straightened out. They’ve got other financial woes on the horizon, but none of those are looming at this moment, so it’s time to focus on the baseball.
Kerel Cooper at Ontheblack.com lists five reasons to be optimistic about the 2012 Mets. Five good solid reasons, beyond the finances, which you should definitely check out. Here’s a couple more to round out the list.
The bullpen: Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch haven’t historically been regularly awesome, but they’ll be a step up from Ryota Igarashi and D.J. Carrasco. Add in Ramon Ramirez, who’s a very solid reliever, and the Mets should have a good bullpen. This helps the Mets keep and hold leads, where maybe they’d have given them away last year. It also limits the pressure on a recovering Johan Santana to go deep in games too often.
The opposition: You’ll here that everyone in the division got better, but it’s not true. The Phillies lost a starting pitcher in Oswalt, lost Madson and Lidge and replaced them with Papelbon, and are starting the season without Ryan Howard and probably without Chase Utley. Their top three pitchers are awesome, but they also all posted career low ERAs. Halladay and Lee are not pitchers you expect to be improving at their age, so it’s almost a lock that they’ll regress to a somewhat less awesome state this year. That’s without mentioning Halladay’s declining velocity or the Spring Training rumors (that mean nothing, it’s Spring Training) that he’s been hitable and his arm angle is all messed up. The Atlanta Braves finished second in the division, and after an epic collapse really didn’t do much to alleviate their problems. They’re also dealing with some pitcher injuries. With the top of the division coming back to the pack, the threshold to make the playoffs is lessened and intra-division games could go a long way towards deciding the victor.
The 2012 Mets are going to surprise some people. They’ve got some real talent on the team, and every day is another day closer to some of the reinforcements in the minors being ready. It’s going to be a fun season, and I can’t wait for it to start.