What Would Define A Successful Season For The 2014 Mets

Some teams define a successful season by the pouring of champagne. The New York Mets are not one of them.

The Mets last tasted champagne in 2006, after beating the Dodgers in the NLCS. They last tasted the good stuff in 1986, and if a baseball hadn’t squirted between Bill Buckner’s legs, we’d have to back to 1969, the year man walked on the moon.

After five straight losing seasons, the Mets did enough adding this winter to warrant the thought this summer might be different.

It’s wishful thinking to think the Mets will play into October, but it isn’t premature to wonder what could define a successful season. After winning 74 games last year and finishing in third place, there’s room for improvement.

The Mets finished 22 games behind first-place Atlanta and 12 behind Washington, and it is unrealistic to believe they can make up those games.

However, it isn’t out of the question to think .500 can’t be reached. The additions of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon – plus the anticipated improvement of Jon Niese, and dare I suggest, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada – should be worth at least one more victory a month.

With the baseball season six months long, that’s six more victories. If the Mets could squeeze out one more win, that puts them at 81-81.

That’s plausible.

So, what’s it going to take for that to happen?

For one thing, Niese must win more than eight games and Zack Wheeler must continue to progress. They also can’t afford a setback from Colon. The Mets also need improvement from their bullpen, which was more than spotty last year. That begins with Vic Black adequately replacing closer Bobby Parnell.

Offensively, David Wright needs to approach the .300, 30-homer and 100-RBI levels expected of him. Granderson won’t hit 40 homers in Citi Field, but at least 25 shouldn’t be out of the question.

It’s folly to predict what Davis might provide, but then again, any improvement would be welcome. As for Chris Young, considering what he’s done the past few years, he falls into the Davis category of “anything is better than nothing.’’

Of course, slumps and injuries can’t be forecast. However, if most expectations are reached, I’m thinking .500 is possible, with 85 reachable in the best-case scenario.

It could happen.

20 thoughts on “What Would Define A Successful Season For The 2014 Mets

  1. I would like to see Wheeler prove he is legit. D’Arnoud prove he can play a full season and handle the staff. Ruben to prove he can hit and field. Lagares prove he can hit

    Parnell prove he is recovered. If these things happen ir will be a positive season

    This would mean we have positive answers for 1/3 of the team and we would need to find players at first and OF

    This would be huge, but it is unlikely

  2. Above 500 record and a establishment of some players to Major league caliber types (d’Arnaud, Wheeler, Flores, Black, Lagares).

  3. Take a deep breath. Look at things carefully. Starting pitching is a plus they have at least 5 #3 starters and seem to have depth behind them. The BP is the biggest question mark in my mind. In the day of 6 inning starts a strong and deep BP is a must. Mets seem to be going with the kids and a hopefully injury recovered Parnell. This is the question mark. The OF is great defensively and probably better offensively. If C Young or Lagares can hit around league average that will be a huge boost. Davis has to be better and if platooned figures to be near league average which would be a huge upgrade. Murph and Wright are hitters just hope they are healthy. Shortstop seems to be a huge hole. Maybe Drew falls into their laps. This could be a playoff team if Syndergard comes up in July and pitches big. It also could surprise if a Flores or Puello come through big with the bat.

    • cabbie: If all that happens the Mets will make a wild-card run. You’re right about the bullpen. Colon was signed for his durability and grit, but he’s up there and breakdowns do happen. The bullpen is the biggest question. … You said Davis has to get better, but this is the third year saying that. … Don’t count on Drew falling into their laps. … You mentioned Flores. He’s not totally out of the picture as a shortstop. Will be interesting to see how much time he gets their in spring training.-JD

  4. Since Parnell appears to be healthy, why would this require Black replacing him as opposed to replacing Hawkins as a setup man?

    • jonathan: Clearly the first choice is Parnell in the closer role as you suggest and Black replacing Hawkins as you mentioned. However, Parnell being cleared to work out is different than being ready to pitch. This is one of the more important issues facing the Mets in spring training.-JD

  5. There really isn’t that much that needs to be done to have an 85 win season..just score a few more runs, which isn;t inconceivable. Last year they lost 22 games by 1 run

    • Rick: That might be the most important statistic coming out of last year. Losing that many games by one runs indicates a lack of hitting in the clutch and a spotty bullpen. Cut that in half and the Mets are at 85 wins. Of course, doing the math is easier than doing it on the field.-JD

  6. Lagares needs to show he can be a MLB hitter now after his showing in DWL. CY will not live up expectations, and will end up in a platoon with Duda. He is historically horrid against RHP… look it up. I do believe in Ike still, but this is a make or break year for him. He should be past the long term effectsof Valley Fever. Some people never fully recover from it. Wheeler needs to continue his growth. There should be fewer 1 run losses, just growth of several pieces, with Tejada proving what his real worth, is ssuccess for now.

    • Metfan62: I have no positive expectations for Chris Young or Duda. Agreed, Lagares needs to learn to hit on this level. If he doesn’t start, he should go to Vegas.-JD

  7. There is just one mistake in this article and it irritates me every time someone says it. The game was already tied when the ball went through Buckner’s legs, so if it hadn’t the game would have went into extras.

    • Alexander: I am aware of that and should have been clearer. I wrote that in the context that once the Red Sox blew Game 6 the Series was over for them. Although Boston had a lead in Game 7, everybody was waiting for the other shoe to drop for them.-JD

  8. Their offense needs to improve significantly, the pitching needs to be as good or better than last season. Teams making the playoff are near or below the league average in ERA and/or WHIP, AND near or above league average in OPS, AND significantly better in one category or the other, or somewhat better in both. The Mets ERA of 3.77 was somewhat better than average in 2013, but the OPS of .677 was well below average. Basically, the pitching can’t get worse, and the offense has to improve.

  9. FYI, if Buckner HAD fielded that grounder, the game would still have been tied.

    That was not the reason they won the series.

    • shmuggy: While technically correct, I think everybody knew that series was over when the Red Sox lost that game. Sure, Boston blew a lead in Game 7, but that falls under the category of being in the inevitable.-JD

  10. With Matt Harvey sidelined for the 2014 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, whether Wheeler can successfully make the jump from ballyhooed rookie to a top-of-the-rotation starter figures to play a major role in the Mets’ game plan for success.