Mets Getting Ready To Play Likes It’s 2009

Mets camp is winding down and opening day just a few days away but I find myself without the optimism I usually have this time of year. Most years there something to get excited about. A fresh start, some hot new rookie, etc. But this year it seems as if the season will begin where last season left off.

The Carlos Beltran situation stung early having happened just before spring training but if that was the only issue I wouldn’t feel quite as negative as I do right now. Sure, Beltran is a key player and part of the core of the team. But he’s only one player. As important as he is the team can survive the first month of the season without him if that what it takes to get him healthy and productive.

During spring training Jose Reyes‘s comeback from last season’s injury hell hit a snag when he was diagnosed with a thyroid issue. Nobody could have seen this coming and I obviously wish Reyes nothing but the best in working his way back. However, the condition will keep him on the disabled list for at least the first week of the season. Just as with Beltran I’m inclined to be patient and believe that the extra week Reyes will need to get ready is a small price to pay to get him back at full speed for the remainder of the season.

These two stories, though involving extremely important pieces to the 2010 puzzle, are not what have me thinking so negatively. My frame of mind can be attributed to Daniel Murphy.

Murphy sprained his knee on Tuesday and will be out for 2 to 6 weeks. He’ll likely be replaced by Mike Jacobs.

Murphy is not nearly as key to this team as Reyes or Beltran (or even any of the 5 pitchers in the starting rotation, but don’t get me started on that issue). Though his hard work and continuing maturity as a ball player is very important he just isn’t (and I predict never will be) a superstar whose production cannot be replaced.

So why has Murphy’s injury affected my attitude so much? Maybe it’s because it’s the third injury related story (bad news comes in threes). Maybe it’s because I’m not following camp as closely as I normally do (a new job has a way of taking your focus away from other things, as evidenced by the low number of posts I’ve written this spring compared to other years). Or maybe it’s because it seems like this season already bears a similar look to last year with 3 starting position players out of the lineup, a questionable starting rotation (behind Johan Santana) and no improvements made to the team over the winter. (I’m not the kind of fan that believes a big splash has to be made every offseason but this offseason was ridiculous.)

The best medicine for this is a good start to the season so when these players return they can add to something that’s already good as opposed to being required to be the saviors of a team floundering in it’s own ineptitude. Unfortunately I fear the latter is probably the way it’s going to go.

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