Ever since Carlos Beltran struck out looking at the end of game 7 of the NLCS in 2006, the Mets have not been a playoff team. That game in particular had the Mets a swing away from the World Series, and yet, the next two years were meltdowns and the last six seasons offered next to no hope. The Mets have been rebuilding and drafting intelligently, but have been far from contention for years — that is until now.
Finally in 2015, there is a genuine reason to hope the Mets will be a playoff team.
Countless Mets have chimed in on the topic, including Captain David Wright, who told NJ.com, “We can sit here and talk about it. Everybody can proclaim what they want to proclaim but it's about backing it up on the field … I'm confident in this team but at this point talk is cheap. It's about going out there and backing it up."
Over the offseason the Mets had just two major league signings and no significant trades. They signed Michael Cuddyer to be the right fielder and take some pressure off Lucas Duda, as Cuddyer is right-handed, balancing out Duda and Curtis Granderson’s left-handed power.
They also signed a right-handed power in John Mayberry Jr., but outside of that the moves have been more rumors that never came to fruition.
It seems that not much has changed since last year’s 79 win team, but that simply is not the case.
The Mets have the youngest pitching of any team in baseball and a crop of young players hoping to improve their last campaigns.
Lucas Duda hit 30 homeruns last year and Travis d’Arnaud had the best campaign of his young career in the second half of the season after spending time in the minors. Jacob deGrom and Zach Wheeler are coming off fantastic pitching seasons and David Wright and Curtis Granderson are healthy and ready. Not to mention the return of Matt Harvey, the pitcher who set the baseball world on fire before having Tommy John surgery in 2013.
All of this, plus the significant amount of star prospects like left hander Stephen Matz and Noah Syndergaard, also known as Thor, the guy who throws 98 miles per hour.
The addition of former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long is helping the Mets get back into a rhythm and helping to build a team that can live up to its general manager’s wishes.
General manager Sandy Alderson has not been quiet about his expectations for this team saying:
"We won 79 games last year, which was an improvement over the year before. We need to take a bigger jump next season," Alderson said during an interview on MLB Network’s “High Heat” earlier this year. "One of the reasons we've been quiet in the offseason is that we have quality players at every position. They're not all proven above-average major league players, but we're at the point now where we have to give them the opportunity to perform.”
As a fan, the idea of a great young team is something to keeps my spirts up. The team's talk has shown confidence, but has also put a target on their backs, and some have compared Met’s manager Terry Collins to Rex Ryan this offseason.