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The NY Mets: Contenders or Pretenders?
By MIKE SICILIANO, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Jul 31, 2004 - 5:30:00 PM

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The Sad Affairs of a Second Citizen Baseball Team

For years and years on end, it has always been the Mets playing second fiddle to the Bronx Bombers in this town I live in, and I seriously do not see any way of that trend disappearing any time soon. Now, this year, in some sort of psychotic-induced delusion, the New York Metropolitans, 6 1/2 games out of first place, but 4 games under .500, with 4 teams to go over, have decided to mortgage what's left of their future for a shot at the playoffs now.

Why? If they are even slightly lucky to make the playoffs they are absolute fish food for the Cardinals, Giants, or even the Braves. Now, Yes, Atlanta has not been themselves this year, but they still have the tools, they still have Chipper, Andruw, some decent starting pitching, and an absolute cinch in Smoltz. The Cardinals have been tearing up the National League since day one, and there seems to be nobody out there to figure out how to stop them. The Astros were expected to be among the contenders, as well as the Cubs, but neither of them can figure out how to stop St. Louis's juggernaut.

So, now, here we go back to the NL East, with the pathetic Phillies who can't get out of their own way, and a manager with one foot on the grave and the other on a banana peel. We've got the world champions, who absolutely fleeced the Dodgers in retooling their lineup. We've got the perennial pains in the necks, the Braves, who can't seem to stay out of the penthouse for long, and then we've got my Metropolitans. They think they can retool their pitching lineup with two guys who have a combined winning record of, well, let's do this instead.

Let's go to the source, ok? Major League Baseball Register, from Stats, Inc., and the Sporting News. Let's talk about Mr. Benson first.

Benson's first year up was 1999, he went 11-14 with a 4.06 ERA. In 2000, he went 10-12 with a 3.85. He did not play at all in 2001 from Tommy John surgery. In 02, he went 9-6 in 25 starts with a 4. 70. And last year, he only pitched in 18 games, due to shoulder soreness, going 5-9 with a 4.97. His combined major league winning percentage, coming into the 2004 season is .461. His combined Earned Run Average, 4.27. In the National League, without the designated hitter, to be a 4.27 ERA, that stinks.

Benson has not pitched over 200 innings since 2000. The major leagues are hitting a combined .266 against Kris Benson, meaning that he puts the ball where people can hit it. And with the Mets stellar defense, that's going to result in what? RUNS AGAINST THE HOME TEAM.

Before I move to Zambrano, let's go over Benson's best year so far in the majors. Ok? This is BEFORE he had Tommy John surgery, in 2000.

10 wins, 12 losses, 3.85 earned run average, 32 games and starts, 2 complete games, 1 shutout, 217 2/3 innings, 206 hits allowed, 93 earned runs allowed, 24 homeruns allowed, 86 walks, 184 strikeouts, and the league hit a combined .249 against Kris Benson. You're gonna deal Ty Wigginton and a minor league blue chipper for this?

Excuse me, I gotta go find the bathroom.

Let's go look at Zambrano's statistics, shall we? Zambrano came up in '01, as A RELIEF PITCHER! He didn't even start starting till last year. Now, let's go over last year's starting pitcher, Victor Zambrano's statistics.

12 wins, 10 losses, 4.21 earned run average, 34 games, 28 starts, 1 complete game, 188 1/3 innings, 165 hits, 88 earned runs allowed, 21 homeruns allowed, 106 walks allowed, (ICK!), 132 strikeouts, and the league hit a combined .237 against Zambrano.

Was this guy THAT GOOD that the Mets are going to part with their top left handed prospect, Scott Kazmir?

What I also don't like about Zambrano is he has been demoted two out of the last three years to the minors. It doesn't look like injury related, it looks more to me like statistic related. His first full year as a starter was last year. He's only pitched 353 2/3 innings combined in his career, so I'll give him one AND ONLY ONE positive, he should have a live arm. But, a live arm that walks 106 people in 188 innings? HELP ME!

Why, why couldn't the Mets swallow the rest of this season, and try something different, like be a player in the off season? Why must they mortgage what little promise they had in their minor league system for a crack at the glass jar when the jar is so fragile, a baby can touch it and it'll shatter in to a million pieces.

Ladies and gentlemen, this team is not the 2003 Florida Marlins. They are not going to catch lightning in a bottle. And, to top it all off, if they don't sign Benson, who's a free agent, they have lost probably one of the most popular players on their team, from a fan's perspective, and one of their sincere blue chip pitching prospects for nothing.

I don't want the Mets in the playoffs this year, they are a bad team with too many holes to be competitive. Thinking that they are otherwise, is just plain delusional.

I found this out in Spring Training. All I did was attend one game while I was in Florida, Mets/Braves at Disney World. I saw how pitiful Kaz Matsui was at the plate, I saw how pitiful the pitching staff looked, and I saw how pitiful their star player was by not even suiting up. Far as this soon to be ex Met fan is concerned, back up the truck and start over. It took the team in the Bronx almost 15 years to build up enough talent in their system to get them where they are today. Why the hell can't the Mets get the idea?

Or are we all forced to sit back and watch the Yankees dominate the playoffs like they're going to do, time in, and time out, even without championship rings. It makes me sick. Makes me realize why I don't watch Baseball that much anymore.

Ok. Enough ranting. Thanks to the bosses here for letting me spew my guts on this page for a bit. Back to the Wrestling page with my carcass. See ya later!

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