And with hopes of upgrading the offense they brought in a couple of guys in their thirties who combined to miss 150 games last year.
No one outside of Queens is expecting a pennant run from this team this year. But can the Mets beat expectations? And might they be worth a futures wager?
2013 Quick Review
The Mets went off with a wins OVER/UNDER of 75 last year, and into August looked like they had a chance to beat that number. But a late 6-15 swoon and three losses to the Brewers right at the end kept New York UNDER by one game.
The Mets were actually a much better team on the road last season, going 41-40, than they were at Citi Field, were they went 33-48. Might it be safe to assume this team will play a little better at home this year, and a little worse on the road?
Of course, the big news of last season for New York was the elbow injury suffered by Matt Harvey, who started the All-Star game for the National League. After Tommy John surgery, Harvey will miss all of this season.
To replace him the Mets picked up Bartolo Colon, and in an attempt to boost the offense they signed Curtis Granderson and former Diamondback Chris Young. How any of these three guys might help this team this year is totally up for grabs.
The Arms Brigade
New York's starting rotation, even without Harvey, has potential.
Colon won 28 games the last couple of seasons out in Oakland, compiling a cumulative 3.00 ERA, walking just 49 batters over 342 innings. But he is going to turn 41 in May, and we can't recall of too many starting pitchers doing a whole lot after that age. At least, not without help.
Nonetheless, without Harvey, Colon is probably the new No. 1 man in the rotation.
Young Zack Wheeler posted a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts as a rookie last year, but also walked 46 in 100 innings. Cutting down on the walks would be a good idea.
Lefty Jon Niese put up a 3.71 ERA last year, 3.00 after he came back from a stint on the DL in August. But he also gave up 158 hits in 143 innings.
Dillon Gee became a solid option last year, posting a career-best 3.62 ERA in a career-high 199 innings.
And the projected five man, Jenrry Mejia, stuck out 27 while walking just four in 27 innings last year, although he is coming off elbow surgery.
New York ranked a respectable 13th in the Majors last year in team ERA at 3.77 and fifth in quality starts with 94. However, Harvey accounted for 20 of those by himself.
Meanwhile, the Mets bullpen ranked 22nd in ERA at 3.98, while blowing 18 of 58 save opportunities. And from what we can tell that bullpen hasn't improved much over the off-season.
New York ranked a pedestrian 25th in team OBP at .306, 25th in homers with 130 and 23rd in scoring at 3.8 runs per game. Having David Wright miss 50 games didn't help, but that was still a pretty lame performance.
As for this season a lineup that could go Daniel Murphy-Wright-Granderson-Lucas Duda-Chris Young also has potential. If all are healthy and productive, and they get a little better than a .280 OBP from their lead-off spot, the Mets could improve by, say, a half-run a game, which is a lot. But if the top spot can't get on base, and Wright and/or Granderson can't stay healthy, and Young can't find a little of his former form, New York will again struggle to score.
2014 Mets Futures
Just as exhibition games were beginning the best futures prices we could find on New York was +2500 to win the NL East at BetOnline, and +6000 to win the pennant and +12000 (120-to-1) to win the World Series at Bookmaker.
Any hopes the Mets and any potential futures bettors have for success this season must be tempered by the fact this team plays in the same division as pitching-rich Washington and Atlanta. New York just doesn't have the collection of arms to outlast either of those outfits.
The Mets have some nice young talent, and could have a bright future. But they're not going anywhere this season. Which gives wonder; would it have been better, long-term, to have bypassed signing Colon and Granderson, and given some youngsters a chance?
For the moment, any futures wager on the Mets to win a title of some kind would be a waste.