COMMENTARY | There is plenty of optimism surrounding the New York Mets for the 2014 season, but those that are excited need to be cautious.
For the Amazins to have a successful season, a lot of things need to happen in their favor -- something that hasn't occurred in quite some time. In a year which fans want to see the Mets put together a winning record for the first time since 2008, here are five things that could ruin the season:
At the moment, Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada are projected to be everyday players for Terry Collins in 2014. They each took huge steps back in their development last season. It was so bad that New York sent both of them to Triple-A to straighten themselves out.
Alderson has tried to find alternatives to Davis and Tejada, but it's looking like they'll each get one more chance to prove they belong. If they are as inefficient as they were in 2013 at important positions such as first base and shortstop, the team will suffer.
David Wright gets hurt again
It's clear that David Wright is the Mets' best player. With him in the lineup, he provides production on the field and leadership in the clubhouse. When he landed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury last season, the lineup looked a lot less formidable.
Wright has played at least 144 games in a season seven times throughout his 10-year MLB career. However, he hasn't reached that level in two of the last three seasons. If he misses significant time with injury in 2014, the Mets will have a huge hole in their lineup they won't be able to replace.
The starting rotation suffers multiple injuries
Throughout this rebuilding process, New York has decided to focus its organization around top-tier pitching. This is an area of strength, but they'll need to stay healthy in order to deliver favorable results.
Just last season, the Mets saw Johan Santana, Jeremy Hefner, Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and Jenrry Mejia hit the disabled list with injuries. If the Mets want to be a winning team in 2014, their young rotation must stay reasonably intact all year long.
The bullpen implodes
A successful team needs to have strong starting pitching. However, if the bullpen is ineffective or inconsistent, it won't matter how good the rotation is. Alderson is on the search for a veteran free agent reliever, but the 2014 'pen will be full of mostly young arms.
It will be exciting to watch hurlers like Gonzalez Germen, Vic Black and Josh Edgin take the mound, but they must be consistent, which can be hard for younger players. If they can't hand the ball off to Bobby Parnell with a lead on a regular basis, it could be a long summer at Citi Field.
Acquired free agents don't perform up to expectations
The Mets' recent history with free agent contracts hasn't gone very well. Johan Santana, Jason Bay, Frank Francisco and Shaun Marcum all underperformed at times during the life of their contracts -- whether it was because of injury, lack of production or both.
Alderson has signed Curtis Granderson, Chris Young and Bartolo Colon to be crucial pieces to New York's 2014 puzzle. If the Mets' bad luck with free agent contracts persists, there could be a huge problem in Flushing.
Baseball Reference - David Wright's games-played statistics
Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, Bleacher Report, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue and Mets Merized Online. To keep up with Matt, you can follow him on Twitter.
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