By Will Carroll
March 01, 2011
Mets fans could use some good news. The team has been involved in the Madoff scam, leading to the potential loss of millions and a possible sale. There's a new front office, but not much in the way of new players. Could the medical staff be a bright spot? Just a year after the worst DL-dollar loss in the modern era, the Mets did get better, but there was almost no way that they were going to repeat that $50 million loss. Then again, they were still in the bottom 10, lost their best pitcher to a shoulder injury, and ... yeah, no good news here either. The Mets have utterly plummeted to these historic depths on acquisition of risk and some really, really bad luck. It's actually a bit worse than it looks here, since the top four prospects in the organization are also out due to injury. While 2010 wasn't a good year, it's easier to explain than 2009. Bad can be fixed, while unlucky can't. If Mets fans are due some good news, maybe they're due some good luck as well. Then again, a third year at the bottom should have this medical staff heading for the showers.

(HEAD TRAINER: Ray Ramirez; FIVE YEAR RANK: 29; 2010 RANK: 25)
For explanation of these ratings, click here
SP R.A. Dickey
Knuckleballers aren't normal. Dickey is less normal than most, but it's nice to see the guy that lost his signing bonus finally cash in.

Also Green:
RP D.J. Carrasco
C Josh Thole
Without a solid backup, Thole is going to have to take on a greater role this year, like it or not. Terry Collins does seem to like him, so there is that, but keeping him healthy is going to require some off time, especially if they want to keep his bat going.

1B Ike Davis
The only real knock on Davis is that he doesn't have much of a track record. He was solid in his rookie campaign, and assuming he can build on it, Davis is likely to make this low yellow seem silly.

SS Jose Reyes
Reyes' 2010 was the one bright spot for the Mets' medical staff. He missed time early in the season with a thyroid condition and then an oblique strain, but once he got back, he looked like the Jose Reyes of old, especially with the steals. He's in a contract year, which can only help, though any leg injury would sap some value.

3B David Wright
In what should have been the peak of his career, Wright dealt with monster expectations and a team crumbling around him. That he missed time with a concussion and some other minor things shouldn't work against him quite so much, but The System didn't like that Wright couldn't get back to his previous norms. This level suggests he'll decline to a 140-game guy before he's 30. That's not bad, but has to be factored in to his inflated value.

RF Angel Pagan
Pagan seems to get hurt at the worst times, just as he's on a hot streak or when someone else gets injured and he could establish himself. That's just a nicer way of saying "injury-prone" and if he's shifted to CF, it's a pattern that's likelier to repeat. He showed in '10 what he could do if he could just stay healthy.

SP Mike Pelfrey
Pelfrey might be a Saberhagen, good only in even years, but he's also a test case for pitching geeks. He throws a sinking fastball but needs his splitter working to be effective. One sinks, the other drops, and no, that's not the same thing in baseball parlance. He bounced off the 190-innings mark last time he did it, so he's risky this time around, though it might be a risk worth taking at the right value.

CL Francisco Rodriguez
It wasn't his crazy mechanics that did him in, but a crazy fight that's explanation seems like an episode of Jerry Springer. The System doesn't understand such things and looks at you with a bit of superiority, knowing you knew exactly what I meant when I said "Jerry Springer." Rodriguez is as risky as ever, but that's not as much as most would expect.

2B Luis Castillo
Simply put, Castillo's legs are shot. He's had problems with virtually every part over the last couple years. It's not an atypical pattern for an end-stage speed guy, but most aren't stuck in the starting lineup to see it drag on like this.

LF Jason Bay
This red is a bit overblown, though Bay isn't a fast healer. The concussion was mishandled last season and in the end, helped move the discussion forward inside the game of baseball, which is now getting ahead of the concussion problem that's becoming football's biggest issue. Bay is working out with no restrictions heading into camp and should be back to normal production. The knees the Red Sox were so worried about were no issue for him last year.

CF Carlos Beltran
Nominally the CF, Beltran could be (and should be) moved to a corner. The bulky knee brace helped him come back and things went better than expected, but expectations were pretty low. In the last year of his big deal, Beltran's going to have to prove that he's more than a DH in waiting, but the knee's are, at best, going to be static.

SP Jon Niese
Niese got overextended last season, seeing a huge increase in innings mostly because he was the only one available for a while. He's got good stuff, but returning pitching coach Dan Warthen didn't do him any favors last season. Maybe he can make up for it by keeping him on a more sane workload this season.

SP Chris Young
Of all the pitchers who got "gamble contracts" this year, and there are a lot, Young is perhaps the most intriguing. He's a tall pitcher, where there's not a ton of success and even then, it tends to be late blooming. He's Princeton-smart, which has been played up with an Ivy-focused front office (not that guys like Ben Baumer and Adam Fisher weren't that kind of smart long before DePodesta came around, but more is better.) He's three seasons removed from his last good one, which tells you a scout somewhere saw something ... or that this front office takes shots in the dark too. He's essentially a placeholder allowing Jennry Mejia to spend some quality time in Buffalo and combined with Chris Capuano, they may still not be enough, especially if Niese or Pelfrey have a problem.

SP Johan Santana
Santana will be on the shelf for the first half of the season after surgery on his shoulder capsule. Pitchers do come back from this, but with Santana unlikely to throw during spring training, it's tough to gauge whether '11 will be a transition or a swan song for Santana. His dominant era is probably over.

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