Mets Attempt Turnaround in 2014
By Joe Rizza
Thirty years ago, in 1984, the New York Mets, led by veteran Keith Hernandez, rookie phenom Dwight Gooden and second-year power hitter Daryl Strawberry turned their fortunes around, winning 90 games and contending for the division title after seven straight losing seasons. The 2014 Mets will be attempt to turn the corner on their own fortunes after enduring losing seasons the past five years.
The free agent acquisitions by General Manager Sandy Alderson certainly haven’t hurt. Outfielder Curtis Granderson (formerly of the Yankees) should provide some stability in the middle of the lineup with third baseman David Wright. Pitcher Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65 ERA) is coming off one of his best seasons in the majors and the Mets hope outfielder Chris Young, who has hit at least 20 homeruns four times in his career, will have a bounce back season after hitting just .200 last year.
The starting pitching staff has the potential to be a solid group, anchored by young power pitcher Zack Wheeler, who showed promise last year, and veterans Dillon Gee, Jon Niese and Colon.
However, if the Mets are going to reach the .500 mark and contend for a playoff spot, there will be major obstacles to overcome. They are unsettled at first base, where as of the start of February, they still have Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in the mix, as well as at shortstop, an identified need that, as of February, hasn’t been fulfilled. The Mets will also be starting rookie Travis d’Arnaud, who has a total of 99 at-bats in the Major Leagues, at catcher, a key position, and are missing their current version of Gooden in righthander Matt Harvey (9-5, 2.27 ERA), who will likely be out for the season recovering from shoulder surgery.
Met fans can have that March and April hope that comes with the start of a new season, but it is more realistic for them to set themselves up to contend in 2015.