Things have been looking up for the New York Mets lately. They added a handful of decent free agents this winter. Matt Harvey already is throwing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The financial news for ownership is encouraging.
And now: They're going to win 90 games in 2014 and compete for the National League playoffs. That's what the New York Daily News says that general manager Sandy Alderson told team personnel earlier this week. Hope springs eternal for every team, doesn't it? Coming off back-to-back 74-88 seasons, the Mets have not won as many as 90 since 2006, when they fell in the NLCS to the Cardinals. In fact, they haven't won as many as 80 since winning 89 in 2008 — when David Wright was just a pup.
As circumspect Daily News columnist John Harper points out, Las Vegas Wise Guys pegged the over/under on Mets victories at 73 1/2. And that was before left-hander Jonathon Niese returned to New York to have an MRI on his "dead" shoulder. (OK, so all of the recent Mets news isn't looking up.)
Either way, there is the potential for Alderson to look foolish, but he didn’t flinch when I asked him on Wednesday if he had indeed made the 90-win comment.
“All I’ll say is we have higher expectations than we’ve had in the past,” he said.
The Mets GM went on to talk about the importance of not only aiming high but making sure everyone gets the message.
“Because I think it has to be a mind-set,” he said. “Part of creating a winning environment is setting ambitious goals and working toward them. But it has to be systematic and it can’t be totally unrealistic. I don’t think it is in this case.”
Is 1985 Dwight Gooden coming through that door? Is Darryl Strawberry? HoJo? Heck, Tim Teufel? It's hard to see the Mets doing better than .500, but they might, and there's nothing wrong with thinking like you should win 90. It's also true that the Mets can take steps toward being a 90-win team without it having much to do with their actual won-loss record this season. The 2015 season, when Harvey returns, would seem a more reasonable time to start putting win totals as goals on the board.
Unless Alderson plans on predicting 100 wins next season.
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