Anthony McCarron is a baseball writer at the New York Daily News.
Today, he plays the roll of Mets critic as he looks at the Amazins’ and their season ahead and gives us his take on today’s edition of #9innings.
For previous editions of #9innings, click here.
Here are his thoughts:
What do you make of this Mets’ team as currently constituted? Are they ready to contend?
I think these Mets have the potential to be wildcard contenders and if they do manage to get a wildcard berth, they could be a problem for opponents in the playoffs because their pitching at least projects to be strong and that could be dangerous in short series. There are some weaknesses, though — a pitching-first team with a middle of the infield manned by two players who are not strong defensively could be a problem going forward. Are all the players who are supposed to hit going to indeed hit?
If they’re missing something, what is that piece? Who would be the guy you’d go out and get and why?
A boffo shortstop would be my pick for the missing piece. Is that really out there for them to get, though? I don’t know about that and that seems to be why they are sticking with Wilmer Flores. Troy Tulowitzki is an expensive injury risk, no matter how good he is. And I think too much of Noah Syndergaard to trade him for a rental of Ian Desmond.
How do the Mets compete with the Nationals with that superstar rotation? Is the NL East title a distant pipe dream?
Simple — they don’t. The Nationals are probably the best team in the NL, at least on paper, for whatever that’s worth. I think the wildcard is the Mets’ regular-season ceiling.
David Wright had a career-worst year in 2014. Do you think we should expect a marginalized player moving forward or do you have hope in a resurgence?
If health is the reason Wright played poorly last year, then he should be better this year since he and everyone else says his left shoulder is healed. Will he be ’06, ’07 or ’08 David Wright? I can’t see it, but something like a 2012 David Wright would be a nice boost.
Who’s the guy who needs to step up to put the Mets offense over the top?
Curtis Granderson has to be better this year. Has to.
What are your thoughts on the Yankees? Do you hate them?
I think the Yankees are endlessly fascinating. I certainly don’t hate them because they are constantly providing drama and good stories and I get to write some of them. I can see why a Met fan would hate them, though I don’t think it’s necessary that they do. The Yankees spend money — even this winter when they didn’t buy Max Scherzer or Jon Lester, they still spent — and they’ve had an incredible run of success since ’94 with some remarkable players. I’m sure it’s been tough listening to the Yankee fans in your life yap about that.
If you could have one team as currently constituted, farm system and all, would you rather have the Mets or the Yankees? Why?
I’d take the Mets right now, just because I think they have just as much of a shot to be relevant this year as the Yankees do and more high-end talent in the minors. Of course, the Mets now have to deliver on all the promise they seem to have, which is no slam dunk, of course.
What’s the best thing to eat or drink at Citi Field?
I am still partial to a Shake Shack burger. Double Shackburger, to be precise.
Finish this sentence. By the end of the season, the Mets will be…
The second NL wildcard.