I've been looking forward to the Mets' Opening Day for some time. Opening Day 2015, that is.
While the Mets have written off 2014 with their small-market payroll and inability to solve their problems at shortstop and first base, at least we can look forward to the first full season of Zack Wheeler and the eventual debut of Noah Syndergaard. But I can't get too excited about trying to reach .500.
Maybe there will be an unexpected pleasant surprise, which the Mets have had each of the last three seasons. In 2011, Jose Reyes won the batting title. In 2012, R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young Award. In 2013, Matt Harvey had a breakout season and started the All-Star Game.
Naturally, all three stars were not on the team the following year. At least Harvey will be back next season. And while I hated to see Dickey go, the trade for Travis D'Arnaud and Syndergaard looks very promising as of now. But considering that the Mets are in dire need of a shortstop and leadoff hitter, it's hard not to wonder what this team would be like if it still had Reyes.
One of my main hopes for 2014 is for Curtis Granderson to succeed, or at least not be Jason Bay 2.0. It would be good for the Mets and a tweak to the Yankees, who let him go while giving Brett Gardner a four-year deal that was almost as much. But perhaps most importantly, it would show the Mets that spending money can help a team. The Mets have conveniently forgotten that the 2006-08 contenders were built largely on high-priced acquisitions.
It would also be great to get a full season out of David Wright after he missed 50 games two of the last three seasons.
Though the notion that Bartolo Colon can replace Harvey at the top of the rotation kind of sums up what it is to be a Met fan, at least the front office made a reasonable effort to patch up the rotation. While I want the Mets to spend money, I don't envy a team like the Twins throwing multiyear deals at the likes of Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey.
I'm looking for a 79-83 season. Not quite .500, but a step in the right direction while we wait for next year.