Questions for NL East contenders

Updated: February 2, 2008, 9:49 AM ET
The Mets have punched their ticket to the postseason, writes Bob Klapisch. At the end of this piece, Hank Steinbrenner tells Klapisch that he just wanted to make everybody happy in pushing for the Johan Santana trade, but that doesn't mean he won't be wishing that that the Yankees had Santana. In the end, he says, "We'll see what happens."

There was a seminar at Plattsburgh State Friday afternoon, and as snow and freezing rain and then just rain gathered into a thick slush outside, about 150 baseball fans chatted about baseball. The Mets will be the clear NL favorites on paper once they finish the Santana deal, I said, and another baseball fan in the room wondered how the forecast could be so ironclad.

It isn't, of course. The NL East should be a summer-long brawl, with three talented teams mashing away at each other, and we don't know the answers to the many uncertainties in play in the months ahead. Santana may represent one extraordinary weapon to be trotted out for seven innings every five days, but what about the team's other questions?