Here we are, a month away from spring training, and really last summer’s collapse doesn’t seem that far away.
The winter is for expectations, grandiose in some cities that fell short last year and tepid in others. In Flushing, what would a successful season look like?
On paper, it’s not even close, the Mets aren’t as good as they were when the season ended with them 14 games under .500. And, they were struggling to get that kind of record.
Let’s look at the progress they’ve made:
* Their Cy Young Award winning 20-game winner, R.A. Dickey was traded for prospects – one of which is coming off back and knee injuries, which aren’t good for a catcher – at least two years away.
* Another starter, Dillon Gee, is a health issue, as is their $25 million investment in Johan Santana. That makes Jon Niese, with a career-high 13 victories, their de facto ace.
* There have been no significant additions to a “Let’s-see-what-they-can-do’’ outfield. I guess it is better by the subtraction of Jason Bay, who’ll hit at least 20 homers for Seattle (Who can’t feel that?).
* Their best outfielder, Scott Hairston, is still out there, but will probably take his 20 homers to Yankee Stadium. There’s nothing significant on the bench.
* There has been nothing to help the bullpen, and their closer is coming off surgery. They are toying with the idea of signing Brian Wilson, who is coming off Tommy John surgery. Wilson made $8.5 million last year. I don’t know what his salary expectations are, but even if he wants half, that’s too much for the Mets’ blood. They could sign him to a minor league deal, but they also must sign him to a major league contract if he’s healthy. The major league minimum is what the Mets are thinking, and that would be a bonus if he is healthy.
So, outside of the All-Star Game and the possible honoring of Mike Piazza, where’s the buzz going to come from this summer at Citi Field.
For awhile last year, the Mets sniffed wild-card contention, but sat at the trade deadline. With all they’ve done this year, that’s a reach now. After the break, I was hoping for a .500 season. If that were offered today, I’d sign up for it in a flash, because realistically, with what they have now even that would be a reach.