The New York Mets’ unofficial motto last season was ‘Take the Damn Thing’, which is something that still rings true today.
‘Take the Damn Thing’.
Aided by the veteran leadership of newly signed outfielder Michael Cuddyer, the Amazin’s headed into the regular season with a profound sense of confidence, something that translated into the team’s first Fall Classic appearance in more than a decade and a half.
Although Cuddyer retired after an injury-ravaged (and ineffective) season, his legacy still lives on.
The Mets, who boast baseball’s most prolific young rotation, must feel destined to repeat some of the same success that hit Flushing last season — because they’ve been showing it.
The popular “Ya Gotta Believe” phrase the Mets coined years ago has never been so poignant from a players perspective.
And there are reasons why they should believe.
New York possess one of the more lethal starting rotations of the last century: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler (when he returns from Tommy John surgery).
This pitching staff is bound to collectively shatter every velocity record in the books.
The revamped infield now features Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker (who is a significant an upgrade over Daniel Murphy in the field), Asdrubal Cabrera (another upgrade) and David Wright. That’s one more season of experience for d’Arnaud — and one more Spring Training for the captain, Wright, to figure himself out.
In the outfield, the Mets boast a much different-looking unit than the one that graced Citi Field last season. Cuddyer, who struggled to stay afloat, and Juan Lagares, who has been clearly aching from injuries, have been replaced by Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, two powerful right-handed bats in the middle of the lineup.
Perhaps more surprising is the amount of hitting and pitching depth that New York owns. While the team’s bullpen isn’t all that spectacular, it is certainly deep: Jeurys Familia, Addison Reed, Antonio Bastardo, Logan Verret, Sean Gilmartin, Rafael Montero, Erik Goedell, Jim Henderson, Hansel Robles, Josh Edgin and Jerry Blevins (in no particular order) all have shots of making the big league roster.
And the manager, Terry Collins, can potentially make his second postseason appearance. Take it from the veteran skipper: experience is a key.
The time to believe is now.
For the Mets, it’s only a matter of ‘Taking the Damn Thing.’