Mets end 2010s with much brighter aspirations than they did in the 2000s
By Tim Boyle
The conclusion of a decade can signal major endings or new beginnings. In 2009, the New York Mets were at the end of their run. In 2019, the franchise showed they are just getting started.
The 2009 New York Mets don’t get enough credit for how bad they were. After collapsing in two straight seasons, the 2009 squad opened up Citi Field and took several steps back. Four straight seasons of playing above .500 ended when the 2009 team went just 70-92.
Ten years later, the 2019 Mets went 86-76 with a much brighter immediate future ahead of them. The 2009 team was the beginning of the end while the current squad looks like a new opening.
Revisiting the numbers from 2009, we can see how little they have in common with the current Mets. Daniel Murphy led the team with only 12 home runs. Behind him, we find outfielders Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, and Gary Sheffield all tied with 10.
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David Wright, who the Mets could typically count on to knock at least 20 over the fence each year, was a victim of the new ballpark. He also only managed to hit 10 round-trippers in this ill-fated year.
Baseball has changed plenty in the ten years since. The 2009 Mets combined to hit only 95 home runs. First baseman Pete Alonso hit more than half of this number in 2019 alone with a team and league-leading 53 dingers.
Home run power wasn’t the only difference between these two squads. Starting pitching for the 2009 squad was far from a strong point. Other than Johan Santana, the team didn’t get much out of anyone else. Even he put together one of his weakest years in New York.
Interestingly enough, the team from ten years ago included several current big league managers or men who held the position this past year. We know Beltran will manage the 2020 Mets, but some may forget he was joined on the roster by current Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora.
Former San Diego Padres manager Andy Green was also a member of the final Mets team of the previous decade. And speaking of the Padres, Fernando Tatis Sr. suited up for the Metropolitans this year. His son is now a young star in the show, having already played for Green in San Diego.
The 2009 season was an odd year for the Mets. It was, for many, the finale in the careers of many players.
Billy Wagner played in only two games for New York due to injury and was traded to Boston in August. Popular 1990s sluggers Sheffield and Carlos Delgado both played their final season. The latter only made it up to the plate 112 times: another theme of this team.
Injuries absolutely dismantled the orange and blue. Beltran missed 81 games and Jose Reyes appeared in just 36. Only three players only reached 400 plate appearances on the year. Murphy, Wright, and Luis Castillo were the lone three to do so. Everyone else settled for a part-time season. For many, a disabled list stint was the reason why.
Least in common with the current Mets, there was no rising star to speak of from this year. Their minor league system wasn’t all that great either. The highest regarded among them included Wilmer Flores, Jon Niese, and Fernando Martinez. The former two did have their moments and Flores is a folk-hero in Flushing. Meanwhile, Martinez is one of the biggest prospect busts in franchise history.
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Although the present team doesn’t have an impressive farm system either, a reason for it is many of their young stars have already arrived. The 2009 Mets were old and past their prime. The 2019 version will begin the 2020s with a whole lot of hope.