Ten years ago, Fred Wilpon had the audacity to declare that his Mets should be playing “meaningful games” in September. I actually thought it was pretty practical approach, despite the fact that he was laughed at by the media and no doubt many fans for being so wishy-washy about his team’s expectations. All he was being was balanced and realistic for a team that was coming off of two very uninspiring seasons. In other words, typical Mets baseball.
Now we have Sandy Alderson setting a different standard in Flushing for preseason expectations, or expectorations, however you want to look at it. A few weeks ago he boldly spit out a goal of 90-wins for the 2014 season. That’s kind of like “meaningful games,” but with a bit more teeth. A lot more, actually. I can understand why Alderson would go out on a limb like this. To start, it’s Spring Training and if you don’t project optimism, no matter how delusional, then you may as well hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. Secondly, Alderson needs to start shooting higher, because last I checked, the Mets have become a little too comfy in the 75-win range, give or take, the past few years. On his watch. So what the heck, throw out a reach goal, get people excited, or at least talking, and hope it sticks. Until mid-May, at least.
All well and good. But now let’s talk reality. The Mets will be hard pressed to win 80 games. And Sandy knows that. So does Terry Collins. And maybe the Wilpons, but I’m not so sure. Let’s put the PR talk aside and face facts: Yes, they added Curtis Granderson’s power and Bartolo Colon’s quality innings. The pitching, even without Matt Harvey, should be more than respectable. But once again, this team has more question marks than the Riddler’s suit.
So riddle me this, 90-Win Sandy: if you’re sweating it out over how to get Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr. into the lineup; can’t decide between Ike Davis, Josh Satin or Lucas Duda at first; hoping that Travis D’Arnaud doesn’t end up as the forgotten man in the R.A Dickey Noah Syndegaard deal; desperately trying not to call Scott Boras about Steven Drew; trying to convince yourself that Chris Young will hit his weight his year; wondering who the heck will close if Bobby Parnell reverts to his old form; praying that Jon Niese’s elbow holds out (no shot!); wondering if Daniel Murphy can avoid the yips at second base; wondering if Rafael Montero is ready to contribute or if Kyle Farnsworth has any gas left in his heater . . .Okay, that’s enough for now.
90 wins my ass.