MLB Betting: 2011 New York Mets preview

By: Stephen Nover | Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If you thought the New York Mets were bad last year going 79-83 and finishing 18 games behind Philadelphia in the National League East, wait until this season.

The Mets look even worse.

New York is 100/1 to win the World Series, according to odds at which also puts the Mets’ ‘over/under’ win total at 76.

Bad contracts, unreliable stars and injuries all factor in the Mets’ being 25/1 to win the NL East. The Phillies are a strong favorite to win the division again at minus 310.

The Mets don’t lack star power being a big-market team with Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay.

Problem is southpaw Santana probably is out until mid-season following surgery on his left arm leaving the starting pitching in a weakened state without a true No. 1, Beltran is having more problems with his knees and Reyes can’t be counted on due to his frequent physical aliments.

Bay put up good power numbers in Pittsburgh and Boston, but was a bust last year in his first season with the Mets hitting just six homers and driving in 47 runs missing the second half of the season due to a concussion.

The Mets ranked 24th in runs scored at 4.0 per game.

So, New York really needs Bay to bounce back with the 33-year-old Beltran a long shot to be 100 percent by opening day. Beltran has averaged just 72 games played during the past two seasons because of knee troubles. Bay smacked 36 homers only two years ago.

Angel Pagan was one of the few Mets to step up leading the regulars in batting last year at .290, stealing 37 bases and playing a stellar center field.

Third baseman Wright and first baseman Ike Davis, a slick fielder, smacked 29 and 19 homers, respectively, last season. They also struck out a combined 299 times.

Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ new general manager, bit the bullet and unloaded second baseman Luis Castillo and erratic southpaw Oliver Perez.

The Mets are hoping Josh Thole, who doesn’t have power but has a good on-base percentage, is the answer at catcher.

Even if Thole comes through, new Mets manager Terry Collins faces huge question marks at second base and in right field along with a weak bench.

There are plenty of holes with the pitching staff, too with Santana on the shelf. Santana’s strikeout rate of 6.5 per nine innings was his lowest since 2001 before a torn capsule in his pitching shoulder halted his season in September.

The starting rotation appears to be Mike Pelfrey, knuckelballer R.A. Dickey, Jonathan Niese, Chris Young and Chris Capuano. It’s doubtful they can reach last season’s 3.73 team ERA, seventh-lowest in the majors. The ‘under’ was 87-69-6 in Mets games last year.

Pelfrey has been a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter in two of the last three years. But he’s not a big strikeout pitcher and is miscast as a No. 1 starter. Dickey posted a remarkable team-leading 2.84 ERA in 2010. That came out of nowhere, however, as Dickey had been nothing but an American League journeyman. National League hitters might be better prepared against him this season.

Niese has potential, but gets hurt often while Young and Capuano are trying for comeback seasons after long injury rehabs. Young hasn’t been a double-digit winner since 2006 when he was with San Diego while Capuano hasn’t been fully healthy in five seasons.

Francisco Rodriguez is a top-notch closer. Keep in mind, though, the Mets tried to void the remaining guarantee on Rodriguez’s massive contract after he was arrested for assaulting his children’s grandfather at Citi Field tearing a ligament in his pitching thumb. The Mets weren’t able to do that, but they could save $17.5 million on his contract for next season by keeping him from reaching 55 appearances, the figure needed to trigger that amount.

If the Mets fall out of contention, they likely would be looking to deal Rodriguez and shortstop Reyes during the trade deadline, which could negatively impact their team win total.

Follow Don Best's season preview of all 30 MLB clubs by checking out the following links: Florida Marlins ... Tampa Bay Rays ... Atlanta Braves ... St. Louis Cardinals ... Kansas City Royals ... Texas Rangers ... Houston Astros ... Arizona Diamondbacks ... San Diego Padres ... Los Angeles Angels ... Los Angeles Dodgers ... San Francisco Giants ... Oakland Athletics ... Seattle Mariners ... Colorado Rockies ... Minnesota Twins ... Milwaukee Brewers ... Chicago Cubs ... Chicago White Sox ... Detroit Tigers ... Toronto Blue Jays ... Cleveland Indians ... Cincinnati Reds ... Pittsburgh Pirates ... Washington Nationals ... Baltimore Orioles ... Philadelphia Phillies

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