By Jim Monaghan
At a staff meeting late last month, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson raised more than a few eyebrows when he said that the Mets are capable of winning 90 games in 2014. Once details on that meeting got out (as reported by John Harper in the New York Daily News), the laughs and the one-liners started flying.
First, the reality – the Mets are coming off five straight losing seasons. There’s no Matt Harvey coming through that locker room door to pitch every fifth day until 2015 (though Harvey did tweet this morning that “Harvey Day 2014” will happen).
And we still have no concrete idea just how much the Bernie Madoff financial scandal has strangled ownership’s ability to spend enough cash to field a competitive team.
But while the media may be laughing all the way to their laptops and twitter accounts, and the fans (and maybe even Mets players) may be skeptical, perhaps there’s a method to Alderson’s madness that goes beyond whatever the Mets’ final win tally will be in 2014.
As much as anything else, the Mets organization needs an attitude adjustment. Alderson’s proclamation of 90 wins should be seen more as a statement that team management has raised the bar, that mediocrity isn’t going to be accepted.
Following the Red Sox 2013 World Series victory, I had the chance to speak with two senior team executives. One told me that while the organization knew the team would perform better simply by the change in managers from Bobby Valentine to John Farrell, no one really expected the end result the organization got. The other executive put it in different terms telling me, “We went out and got guys who loved to play baseball and who wanted to be here. If you didn’t want to be here, we didn’t want you here.”
Sandy Alderson’s 90-win statement should be taken by players in the organization, from low-A ball to Citi Field as a sign that anything less than a desire to win and an expectation to win will not be tolerated. Organizational attitude adjustments need to start from the top. This is a good sign for the Mets. Oh, and they might want to sign Stephen Drew to play shortstop, too. Just sayin’.
For more on the Mets’ offseason moves and the 2014 season, check out Brandon Karsten’s Mets’ preview.
Jim Monaghan can be heard Monday through Friday mornings on the WDHA Morning Jolt from 6-10AM & Sundays from 7-10AM with “All Mixed Up.” He’s also an instructor at Professional Baseball Instruction in Upper Saddle River. Follow him on twitter – @Monaghan21.