By: Michael Ganci

Nine Innings with Eric Simon

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Eric Simon is the czar behind Amazin’ Avenue, and he’s also the assistant league manager for SB Nation Baseball.

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’m hopeful but not delusional. The 2015 Mets should be pretty good, and if a few things break their way—Matt Harvey is better than expected, David Wright bounces back, Curtis Granderson rebounds, Michael Cuddyer surprises us—they could be actually good. “Pretty good” is probably enough to contend; “actually good” is definitely enough. Making the playoffs would be great, of course, but that’s not really why I watch. The bargain we all hope to strike at the beginning of a new season is that we are sufficiently entertained to justify the time we commit, and I expect that the Mets will be incredibly fun to watch in 2015.

If they’re missing something, what is that piece? Who would be the guy you’d go out and get and why?

I’ll assume you mean among players who are realistically attainable, and Troy Tulowitzki remains that guy. He’s not worth *anything* the Mets are willing to pay, but in a deal commensurate with his skills, age, and risks, he’d help the Mets about as much as anyone else who is actually available.

How do the Mets compete with the Nationals with that superstar rotation? Is the NL East title a distant pipe dream?

They don’t, unless everyone on the Mets outperforms expectations and numerous star players on the Nationals get hurt or underperform. There are two Wild Cards, and those are what the Mets should be striving to compete for.

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?

There’s every reason to believe that Wright’s shoulder was in horrible shape last year, and that that injury had a significant negative impact on his hitting. He’s not getting younger, but he’s presumably getting healthier, and any evaluation of his 2014 season must account for his shoulder injury.

Who’s the guy who needs to step up to put the Mets offense over the top?

Apart from Wright, Granderson has the most room for improvement from 2014. Unlike Wright, I’m not convinced this isn’t just Granderson’s career arc at this point—as opposed to an aberration—but I think he has enough residual talent to be considerably better in 2015.

What are your thoughts on the Yankees? Do you hate them? 

I used to despise the Yankees in the same way a scrawny kid despises a bully. I don’t worry about them anymore, in part because I’ve grown up and in part because all of those players I once loathed are now retired. If anyone else wants to hate the Yankees, though, they certainly have my blessing.

If you could have one team as currently constituted, farm system and all, would you rather have the Mets or the Yankees? Why?

The Mets have a more interesting collection of personnel both in the big leagues and on the farm, and I think they’ll be a more exciting team to watch for a little while. The Yankees will always have more money to spend even if the Mets eventually get their shit together financially, so they have that going for them.

What’s the best thing to eat or drink at Citi Field?

I like the pulled pork at Blue Smoke. Make sure you load up on fixins!

Finish this sentence. By the end of the season, the Mets will be…

I’d say they’ll be done playing baseball, but I seriously hope to be proven wrong.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he’d have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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