The New York Mets seemingly cruised through the 2006 baseball season. They already looked like the favorites by June, had the National League pretty much wrapped up by July and officially clinched the division before any other team won theirs. They had the best record in all of baseball but fell short of the World Series by one game. While the fans of the other New York team might be angry because they expect the Yankees to win every year the Mets fans should realize there’s nothing to be upset about, it was a great season. Here are some reasons the Mets fans should be happy.
First of all let’s put things in perspective. It’s everyone’s goal to win the Championship but sometimes it’s just not going to happen, nobody is going to win the Championship every year, not even the Yankees. I’d say tying the Yankees for first place overall is a pretty big accomplishment. That means out of the thirty teams in baseball only one can say they had a regular season as good as the Mets. The Mets fell short of the World Series but we did better than the A’s did in the ALCS so you can also say that only two of the playoff teams did better than the Mets in the playoffs. And really finishing tied first in the regular season and third in the playoffs is pretty good. Also let’s not forget the New York Mets won the National League East. Some people might think that’s no big deal since the Mets failed to make the World Series but it should be a big deal. The Atlanta Braves have had a hold of the National League East for 14 years, knocking them off is no small accomplishment. Also let’s be honest sometimes luck can be a factor in winning a Championship. I don’t want to take any credit away from the Cardinals because they played a great series but they did get pretty lucky. The Mets had to play the NLCS without their ace pitcher, without their pitcher with the best playoff career and without their leading homerun hitter from last year. The injury bug bit the Mets just at the wrong time.
Also look at the improvements this team has made. The Detroit Tigers came out of nowhere but the Mets have also been a team that has gotten really good in a few short years. After going to the World Series in 2000 the Mets barley finished over .500 in 2001 going 82 – 80. The following year the Mets would drop to 75 – 86, then 66 and 95 in 2003. They would start to climb back up in 2004 when they improved to 71 – 91, then 83 – 79 last years and finally 97 – 65 this season. Everyone talks about how the Tigers improved by 52 games over the past three years which is very impressive but nobody talks about how the Mets also improved by 36 games over that same span.
Finally the New York Mets have a General Manager that is making all the right moves. After trading away Scott Kazmir, and signing Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn it looked like the Mets were destined to spend years and years in the basement. But Omar Minaya came along and signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. Pedro has been brilliant when he’s not injured and after a disappointing first season Beltran had a season that probably exceeded most people’s original expectations. Minaya then traded for Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca who became a very big part of the Mets’ success. He signed both Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez who played so well that they found their way into the starting lineup. The Mets also got Duaner Sanchez, maybe the best setup man in the NL in a trade and signed Billy Wagner. The only move I wasn’t sure about was when Minaya traded Kris Benson to the Orioles for Jorge Julio. But even that trade turned out good. In addition to Jorge Julio the Mets got John Maine in that deal. Then Minaya turned around and traded Julio for Orlando Hernandez so essentially Minaya traded one starter and got two back. And if Oliver Perez can ever revert back to the pitcher he once was then the Perez for Xavier Nady deal will be outstanding.
The future also looks bright for the Mets. Earlier this season the Mets re-signed Jose Reyes for four more years and David Wright for six more years. Carlos Beltran is only 2 years through his seven year deal and Carlos Delgado is two years through his four year contract. Offensively the only starter that is a free agent is Cliff Floyd. A few of the relievers will be free agents but I’m sure the Mets will have no problem re-signing them. Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman are not among those relievers so we’ll at least have the three of them coming back. The starting pitching does need some work but we now have a General Manager who can go out and sign a pitcher. Not only do the Mets have plenty of money but everyone in baseball can now see that the Mets are serious about putting a winning baseball team on the field and that’s going to attract some free agents. So for all of you New York Mets fans out there don’t be too upset. It was a great year for the Mets and it could get even better next year.