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Mets Turn The Corner,Now to the Top

I had the opportunity to watch the Mets this Spring Training in games against the Cards, couple of times against the high ranking Nationals, the Braves and the Tigers. I was also able to talk with some of the coaches about this year's team, the new acquisitions, the trades and the status of the prospects in the minor league. We also went over briefly the state of finances of the organization, etc. The last three years were the work of rebuilding, with a very modest budget, a team and an organization that made poor player choices, injuries to high priced players, overpaying some players as the previous organization thought they were NY Yanks II; making some good trades, and this winter making some free agent acquisitions. All the large, long term contracts, ex David Wright, have been cleared off the books. The Club lost $10 mill in operations last year. The club started where a good club should start, with pitching. The starting 5 are an upgrade from last year, in spite of losing a fireballer, Matt Harvey, to elbow surgery last Fall. And another high prospect, Noah Syndergaard, was sent to AAA Las Vegas late this Spring for another 6 months of more seasoning. Look to see Syndergaard up with the Mets by the summer. With the signing of free agents Curtis Granderson (OF) and Chris Young (OF), the outfield was significantly upgraded to MLB standards. Granderson should like the closer fence at Citi Field. Travis d'Arnaud has shown significant improvement in his feet work the last two years, and his hitting was coming along as he hit a few HRs in the final games in Spring Training, and hit one in Montreal last weekend. A brief glimpse of the hitting, pitching and playing potential was shown in the next to last week when the Mets won 7 of 8 games against some of the top teams. The minor league teams have been stocked with some major league prospect at AAA Las Vegas. A few years ago the Mets had AA players disguised as AAA player; some of the those games were embarrassing. There are about 10 prospects now at Las Vegas that challenged the vets until the last week of Spring Training. It is interesting the bookies in Vegas and the MLBN look for the Mets to win only 74 games this year. The Mets won 74 games the last two years, with a much weaker team and bench. One cannot argue with the Nationals as the top pick for the Division. But the Braves suffered some bad injuries near the end of Spring Training; the Phillies have added some talent but the have a group of over 35 year old starters. (Bill James, Yanks, doesn't like these type "oldster", because they seem to get injured more often and the injuries seem to last longer.) And the Marlins, with some new baseball management guys added, it still is going to be awhile before they are competitive. With Murphy, Granderson and C. Young surrounding Wright, they are a much better hitting club. The battle for a good, on base hitter at the leadoff hasn't been resolved. Altho we only mentioned Syndergaard, the minor league is well stocked players with MLB prospects. That group needs a couple of years seasoning before they can really challenge for a place with the big club. The Mets should look to be around or over 80 wins this year, assuming only few real injuries. Its been since 2007-8, where the Mets were in 2nd place with 89 and 88 wins. The real excitement could be in 2015 when Harvey and Syndergaard are in the starting rotation. The Mets also need a MLB first baseman, short stop and lead off man. These upgrades would put the Mets in second place territory. Wright is going on 32, with a big contract. His last Golden Glove was 2008. His Spring Training BA was not outstanding. His arm is not MLB, but he still has value. If the Mets could pull another d'arnaud and Syndergaard for Wright, well... Murphy is know as a good hitter, but where do you play him? All the above is true but there is some April Fool, or is it Met Fan, new season, April Dreaming in the mix. Alderson is 66, and he recently said he expects to be around 2-3 more years. His reputation is to change things methodically but he is not shy, he intro Sabremetrics to the A's in the mid 1990's, and see where Billy Beane took it in the 2000s. Alderson has a few of the same management people he had at the A's in the late 1990's with him at the Mets now, would he try another major move as his swansong?

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