Johan Santana got traded to the Mets about two weeks before the start of spring training, but his face popped up more in the Mets offseason than anyone else's. This was a great way for the Mets to take the attention off the dreadful collapse they suffered at the close of the 2007 season. Before the Mets reported to camp, they had something positive to talk about rather than the evaporation of a seven-game lead with 17 to play. If Santana wasn't greeted as a savior, the treatment was close.
After the honeymoon ended and games started to play, Mets fans noticed some players weren't on the field. Moises Alou, no stranger to the disabled list, will be out until the end of April -- at the earliest -- with a hernia. Backup catcher Ramon Castro, probably the best in the game, will also start the season on the DL. Brian Schneider, Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo all missed time with ailments. The backups -- including all-name team member Angel Pagan -- don't look so appealing. After a winter of clamoring for the Mets to ante up and get Santana, writers began to rip the lack of depth in the organization following the trade.
The Mets made out like bandits in the trade that brought baseball's best pitcher to Shea Stadium. They had to give him a ton of money in a contract that will likely overpay him in its final seasons, but they didn't surrender a single major-league ready player. Their farm system isn't as well stocked as it used to be, but such is the price of greatness. The Mets' depth is a concern, but they wouldn't be a better team if they had Carlos Gomez to fill in for Moises Alou but didn't have Johan Santana. If David Wright, Jose Reyes, Santana or a front-line pitcher gets hurt, then it's time to worry. Otherwise, Mets fans should enjoy the hope that pervaded their team's spring.