Imagine the surprise among New York/Metro Area Mets fans when they saw this morning’s Daily News . Sandy Alderson has apparently thrown down the gauntlet. In a supposedly “closed door” meeting – but of course knowing full well that anything quotable would find its way into a newspaper: such is the nature of a leaky outfit like the Mets – Alderson said the Mets should win 90 games. Yes, that’s “nine-zero.” This year. The immediate reaction over here was “I’ll have some of what he’s smoking.” 90 wins? With unsettled situations at first base, shortstop and the bullpen? When there’s still uncertainty about the final composition of the outfield? When seemingly all the acquisitions of an admittedly fine winter – by Mets’ standards, anyway – will only serve to replace production that has been shipped elsewhere or is currently sitting on the DL shelf? How could anyone in his right mind think this bunch, as presently constituted, could produce anything above and beyond a .500 mark? On second look, though, it appears there might be a purpose behind such outlandish talk.
No, as presently constituted, the Mets do not look like pennant winners. Not even a little bit. But this is the strongest looking Met squad since Sandy Alderson took over the GM job following the 2010 season and one needn’t look terribly far into the future to see bluer skies. Remember, one of the reasons Alderson and Terry Collins were brought in was to reverse the losing attitude that has pervaded Citi Field from the moment its gates opened – to “change the culture” in the current parlance. Alderson’s statement is a signal that – at least in his view, which is one of four that count – the culture shift is nearly complete. This can be looked at as the Mets attempting to emulate the 1992-into-1993 Yankees, who made a flurry of seemingly wheel-spinning moves, acquiring players who quietly became key components of the early portion of the dynasty. Now, the Yankee management never had to say anything like “We should win xx number of games;” they could rely on their fans to do that for them. In any case, the 1992 Yanks won 76 games. They upped their total to 88 in ’93. Now, before anybody gets crazy, I’m not saying the Mets are on the cusp of reeling off four pennants over the next five years, or establishing themselves as the force in MLB or New York City, as they were in the long-gone ‘80s. The point is, there are certainly worse teams and more woebegone eras to pattern the franchise after.
The other thing the Sandy Statement does is it gives the Mets a slightly more subdued Jimmy Rollins “we’re-the-team-to-beat” moment. This is Alderson trying to raise the expectations of the fans he has left. No problem there; again, this is what winning organizations do. Does Sandy Alderson really think the Mets are primed to break into the 90-win club? He might be a year too early, but they should get closer that mark than they’ve been since 2008.
If he is serious about 90 wins in 2014, though, it would appear that really has spent too much time in Colorado or Washington State…
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