There are a lot of things I want to see happen for the 2013 Mets, such as making the playoffs. However, in the hope of being realistic, let’s talk about some of the things that would be good to see happen.
Perhaps if several of these happen, there might be some fun at Citi Field.
TRADING JOHAN SANTANA: Don’t get me wrong, I like Santana. I really do. I’d like nothing more than for him to remain healthy and regain his status as an elite pitcher and guide the Mets into October. But, let’s face it, even if Santana were to have a strong season the Mets don’t have enough pieces and will buy him out after this season. Given that, I’d settle on him being healthy and productive in the first half and the Mets being able to deal him to a contender. They’ll have to pick up some of the contract, but if they could swing a trade getting something is better than having him walk after the year with a $5.5 million buyout.
JON NIESE TAKING THE NEXT STEP: Niese is the Mets’ ace despite a career-high 13 victories. There’s a lot to like about his future, but even more to like if he wins north of 15 games and gets to the next level.
DILLON GEE PITCHES LIKE A NO. 3: Gee enters spring training recovering from an aneurism. The doctors say he’s ready to go, but can anybody say how he’ll do? Gee has been impressive in spots, but no more than a No. 5 starter. He needs to step up his game.
MATT HARVEY LIVES THE HYPE: He’s had ten starts, not enough to pencil him in for the Cy Young Award. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain pitched dominating baseball early in their careers, can Harvey do the same?
BOBBY PARNELL BECOMES A PITCHER: There’s no doubting Parnell’s stuff, but he needs to improve his command, secondary pitches and learn how to challenge hitters with that fastball. The Mets can’t count on Frank Francisco to stay healthy and be a reliable closer. If not him, it has to be Parnell.
TRAVIS d’ARNAUD GIVING US A PEEK AT HIS FUTURE: I’ve raised the possibility of the Mets getting damaged goods, but no one knows for certain what to expect from the catching prospect they acquired for R.A. Dickey. He’s expected to open the season in the minors, but it would be encouraging for him to stay healthy – back and knee issues last year – come up at the end of the season to give us a glimpse of what the fuss is about.
TWO STRONG HALVES FROM IKE DAVIS: Davis was inconsistent at the start of the season, but finished with 32 homers. The Mets avoided arbitration and signed him. We need to see two strong halves from Davis and perhaps the Mets could respond by giving him a multi-year deal next winter. Davis has much potential. Now, let’s see him shorten his swing, go the opposite way and continue to develop as a hitter.
DANIEL MURPHY SHOWING SOME MUSCLE: Wade Boggs used to say he could hit homers if he tried. I don’t want to see Murphy stop being patient, but he’s strong enough to have greater run production.
RUBEN TEJADA BEING STEADY AT THE PLATE: He’s not another Jose Reyes offensively, but showed he’s far from an easy out. I’d like to see Terry Collins find a spot for him in the order and for him to give us .290. I don’t care about Tejada’s power as long as he plays a solid defense.
DAVID WRIGHT REGAINING HIS POWER STROKE: I hope his contract is as much for what the Mets hope he’ll do as for what he’s done. Wright is the Mets’ best offensive player, but prone to stretches of multiple strikeouts and trying to carry the team on his back. I’d like him to regain his power stroke and hit 30 homers.
LUCAS DUDA SHOWING POTENTIAL: As with Davis, Duda has been more potential than production. Left field should be easier than right. Last year he put too much pressure on himself and tried to pull everything deep. If he could learn the strike zone and be more patient, the home runs will come.
KIRK NIEUWENHUIS BECOMING A LEADOFF HITTER: He was fun to watch when he first came up, but then discovered breaking pitches away. He just hasn’t discovered how to hit them. Nieuwenhuis has the potential to be a decent leadoff hitter with greater patience. That’s a key word for a lot of Mets’ hitters.
Perhaps if all this happened in the positive, there might be a reason to keep Santana for the entire season.