March 5, 2014 published by Keith Gendron
Last week, when Sandy Alderson mentioned the Mets as a 90 win team in 2014, it was said behind closed doors and not mentioned during a news conference. The response from Mets owner Fred Wilpon, “we better win 90”, according to a source, can lead you to believe a few things.
One, as presently constituted so much would have to go right, that winning the actual 90 games would be the most believable thing to happen, not mentioning the stars being in alignment. They would need absolute health throughout the roster. No extended stays on the disabled list. Rebound seasons by Ike Davis, Chris Young and to a lesser extent Ruben Tejada. Good defense which will be improved by their new outfield cast. Good relief and Parnell to continue where he left off last summer. No sophomore jinx from Wheeler and for their starters to pitch efficiently in order not to rely on the bullpen to get too many outs. See what I am saying? That is a lot to expect. I believe some of these things will happen. Injuries though, are part of the game and hopefully they are not the type that sees anyone getting surgery.
But, If what Alderson and Wilpon said wasn’t just lip service or a publicity stunt and was not a hypothetical conversation that occurred during a staff meeting, then maybe their will be additions at or near the end of spring training. Are the Mets really satisfied going into the season with Tejada as their shortstop? Stephen Drew is running out of time if he expects to play on opening day for a team. Is he willing to continue sitting in hopes of an injury to happen to a team and then signs him out of desperation? What about the Mariner’s Nick Franklin? the Mets have shown interest in him as well, but word is, defensively he may be more suited as a second basemen. But he has played most of his career as a shortstop and one with pop in his bat. The Mets are keeping an eye on him, for proof he can handle the position. But, what do the Mariners want in return? getting Franklin, may require Rafael Montero.
Word lately has been that John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka have the lead in getting the 5th spot in the rotation over Jennry Mejia. This would slide Mejia in the bullpen, which may be a good idea. I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the hill every 5th day after his 5 impressive starts last summer before his elbow bone spurs shut him down. So why would they see the possibility of 90 wins for this team? Well, if you add a solid hitting and fielding shortstop, that would help. What if they are planning to bring Noah Syndergaard up with the team to start the season. I know management has wanted to bring him up in July as they did Harvey and Wheeler, in order to delay their service time starting and extending the length of control during their arbitration eligibility. But, to make such a statement it seems to me that they may be relaxing their feelings about this regarding Syndergaard. I mean he is not the sole reason they would win 90, but maybe they feel that he is ready now. If Syndergaard gets rocked the rest of the way in Spring training, then the point is moot. He has dominated at every level thus far, not pitching to an era above 3.11 in the minors since pitching as a 17-year-old in the rookie league in 2010. In his 4 seasons in the minors he has a record of 22-12 and 2.64 era and 329 strikeouts in 293.2 innings. Where does he fit in ? I don’t know. Are the Mets going to trade one of their starters to get a shortstop? Even, if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, It will be hard to keep him motivated they way he has blown through the competition to this point. But, we the fans didn’t make this statement, management and ownership did, so it is up to them to do what it takes to get there.