After the Mets ended the 2014 season with a 79-83 record, the high-water mark for Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, if someone had told you they were a playoff team in 2015 even if they made no additions, how would you have responded?
For the second time in two weeks, I was listening to some sport stalk radio and the host made such an assertion, believing that the return of Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell, coupled with a comeback season from David Wright, was the equivalent of signing free agents Jon Lester, David Robertson and Hanley Ramirez. Do you agree?
I’m getting the real sense that as we get closer to Opening Day and the mainstream sports sites and magazines start rolling out their 2015 MLB Predictions, that the Mets will be this year’s Cinderella pick. Many of them will tab the Mets as sleepers for at least a 90 win season. And you know what, that wouldn’t shock me at all.
I know we went into this offseason needing an everyday right fielder, a starting shortstop, a right-handed bat off the bench, and a second lefty reliever for the bullpen. It was a tall order made even more difficult because of a lack of payroll to tackle it the way Sandy would have preferred.
Looking at how these issues were addressed may seem inadequate and underwhelming to many of you, but maybe it’s not as bad as you think.
I know we have still have some major concerns, but what team doesn’t? Yes, Michael Cuddyer could strain a muscle waiting in the on-deck circle and miss two months. But given our depth, I think we can easily ride out that storm with a John Mayberry Jr. and Matt den Dekker platoon.
Yes, Matt Harvey may not be at full strength when he returns and will only make 25 starts at most. But once again our depth will save the day. Zack Wheeler for one can certainly take his performance up a notch now that he has a full season under his belt. Jon Niese can also best his 2014 numbers and seems to have a chip on his shoulder.
Plus Jacob deGrom will get 32 starts this season instead of 22. And then we have Noah Syndergaard on standby like the proverbial ace up our sleeve. Think about that for a minute. How many teams are in as strong a position as the Mets when it comes to our rotation?
We may not have a proven elite closer like the Marlins, Braves and Nationals. but overall I’d say our bullpen is just as good if not better. And by the end of this season, Mejia could very well be a top flight closer.
I look at our infield, that for now has Lucas Duda at first, Daniel Murphy at second, and a hopefully healthy Wright at third, and I see one of the top infields in the division. If Wilmer Flores can deliver a .280 – 15 HR – 80 RBI season, and Travis d’Arnaud can produce a .787 OPS as he did in the second half of last season, I’d say it’s the best. Wouldn’t you agree?
Look, all I’m saying is that with a couple of lucky breaks 2015 could be more than just an 80-something win season. You never know.