Mets begin quest for first playoff appearance in seven years

Mets Citi Field
The Mets open at Citi Field on March 31.
Credit: Getty Images

The objective for the New York Mets is 90 wins.

Whether the aspiration is reality or an overly romantic notion will be determined over the next six and a half months. But for a franchise whose recent past has been underscored by a thorough franchise rebuilding, it is radical change in attitude.

“It’s attainable,” David Wright told reporters in Port St. Lucie during spring training, echoing a number first mentioned by general manager Sandy Alderson. “It’s a good starting point for us. Ninety wins is a good starting point.”

Despite authoring a 374-436 record over the last five seasons, the Mets enter the 2014 season with unmistakable ambitions due to a long-term organizational reconstruction that has borne cornerstone pieces in starting pitchers Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard, along with catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Harvey will be out after Tommy John surgery, but the depth in the system is noticeable.

Added to that core in the offseason were outfielders Curtis Granderson (four years, $60 million) and Chris Young (one year, $7.25 million) and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (two years, $20 million), all of whom signed free agent contracts.

“I think 90 [wins] is a good starting point for giving us something to shoot for and getting guys to understand that mediocrity is not going to be acceptable,” Wright said. “It’s not about being better than last year. What does that get us? Third or fourth place? It’s about being a good team and being a playoff-contending team.”

But there is a distinct difference between improvement and playoff contention. In a division in which the muscle-laden Braves and Nationals are the standard bearers, the Mets may not possess the necessary depth to contend as Harvey and Jeremy Hefner are recuperating from Tommy John surgery.

The Mets also have question marks at first base and shortstop.

Ike Davis (.333/.385/.750/1.135 in four games) and Lucas Duda (.300/.417/1.000/1.417) have been injured during a spring training in which both were expected to engage in a neck-and-neck battle throughout spring training.

“It’s probably who is going to be the healthiest,” manager Terry Collins said when asked who will be the Opening Day first baseman following the Mets’ 7-6 win over the Braves on March 20.

Comparitively speaking, the Davis and Duda competition is still more concrete than Ruben Tejada’s grasp on the starting shortstop job.

Tejada has hit .226 in 11 games, while committing four errors, fueling speculation that general manager Sandy Alderson is attempting to acquire a shortstop. Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Nick Franklin have been the names most linked with the Mets. Gregorius and Franklin would have to be trade acquisitions, while Drew is a free agent.

Drew reportedly passed on a one year, $14.1 million deal with Boston, with whom he won the World Series last season, earlier this spring. Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has said his client could sign with a team after June’s draft. The Mets have the 10th pick in the draft, which is protected.

But would the Mets be willing to meet Drew’s price? Even with signings of Granderson, Young and Colon, the Mets only have a payroll of $73.996 million.

Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…