The New York Mets have finished below .500 in each of the past five seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, but hope springs eternal as a new crop of stars prepares to make an impact in 2014.

New York managed to finish third in the NL East last season with a record of 74-88, but the expectation seems to be that the Mets are destined for a fourth-placed showing this year ahead of only the lowly Miami Marlins.

One person who doesn’t agree with that assessment is general manager Sandy Alderson. According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, he has reportedly set a goal of 90 wins for his team this season.

All I’ll say is we have higher expectations than we’ve had in the past … Because I think it has to be a mind-set. Part of creating a winning environment is setting ambitious goals and working toward them. But it has to be systematic and it can’t be totally unrealistic. I don’t think it is in this case.

Some might view that as overly ambitious considering the Mets’ recent struggles, but with the addition of outfielder Curtis Granderson and veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, along with the continued development of an elite prospect pool, perhaps the Amazins have a chance to shock the world.

Better-than-expected performances have been a hallmark of Mets baseball over the years, and simply finishing .500 or better in 2014 would be considered a massive leap forward with new potential stars on the horizon.

New York’s drive for 90 starts in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where it hopes to get off on the right foot during spring training.

Along with a look at the Mets’ spring training schedule and predictions on how they will fare during the regular season, check back here after every Mets spring training game for score updates, breaking news and much more.


March 1: Marlins 9, Mets 1

The Miami Marlins and New York Mets could very well find themselves battling to avoid the NL East basement this season, and while the result of their spring training game Saturday may not have any bearing on that, the Marlins struck the first blow.

Miami received production throughout its lineup to come out on top 9-1, but designated hitter Austin Barnes was the big star with two hits and two RBI, including a first-inning home run.

On a positive note for the Mets, Lucas Duda matched Ike Davis’ home run Friday with one of his own. Duda and Davis are battling to win the starting job at first base along with Josh Satin, and Duda was able to keep pace.

According to Marc Carig of Newsday, Duda’s homer was a gargantuan shot that surely got Mets fans excited.

Also, one day after both Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom did their best to stake claim to the Mets’ fifth spot in the starting rotation, John Lannan made his case as well.

The veteran pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three, although he was the recipient of luck with some hard-hit balls finding his fielders, per Adam Rubin of

New York struggled to generate anything offensively for much of the day, but the big issue related to the performance of the bullpen. Kyle Farnsworth allowed three baserunners and a run, which didn’t help his chances of making the team as a non-roster invitee.

Also, Josh Edgin was battered in one inning of work, giving up five hits, one walk and five runs, three of which were earned.

The Mets’ pen is very much unsettled, and Saturday’s showing made life even more difficult for manager Terry Collins.


Feb. 28: Nationals 5, Mets 4

The Washington Nationals and New York Mets have developed quite a rivalry over the years, and that was on full display in the Nats‘ exciting 5-4 win Friday. The two squads were evenly matched throughout, and an RBI triple by Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor in the top of the ninth inning ultimately proved to be the difference.

For the Mets, the big story in this game related to the battle for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. No less than six pitchers will vie for that coveted position, and two of them were absolutely fantastic against the Nats.

Rafael Montero got the start and pitched the first two innings. Not only was he perfect, but he showed impressive velocity as well, according to Adam Rubin of

Montero was relieved by Jacob deGrom, who looked even better in his two innings of work. Per’s Anthony DiComo, deGrom punched out four of the six batters that he faced:

New York’s lineup featured plenty of prospective starters, including first baseman Ike Davis. His struggles over the past couple seasons are well documented, but he got his spring off to an ideal start.

Davis cranked a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and the fans let their appreciation be known, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:

Ultimately, it was a fantastic spring opener for the Mets. Montero and deGrom made their case for a spot on the team, and a handful of potential lineup stalwarts did some damage as well.


Pre-Spring Training Prediction for 2014 Season

Although the Mets certainly took their lumps during the 2013 season, the fanbase was seemingly energized by the emergence of starting pitcher Matt Harvey. At 24 years of age, Harvey started the MLB All-Star Game for the National League and seemed well on his way to a Cy Young Award.

But disaster ultimately struck.

An elbow injury forced the Mets to shut Harvey down for the remainder of the season before he underwent Tommy John surgery in October. That will keep Harvey out of action for the entirety of the 2014 campaign, although he is already able to play catch, as seen in this photo courtesy of SportsNet New York’s (SNY) Matt Dunn:

Harvey was someone the Mets faithful could latch onto and root for during an otherwise painful season, but that crutch won’t be available to them in 2014. Even so, there are plenty of reasons for fans to be excited about the 162-game slate that lies before them.

For starters, the Mets have already avoided disaster. There were concerns regarding projected No. 2 starter Jon Niese‘s shoulder, but it turns out that there is no structural damage to speak of, according to the New York Post:

With Niese now expected to be ready for the regular season, the Mets boast a formidable rotation that also includes the ageless Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and a player Mets fans hope is the next Harvey in the form of Zack Wheeler.

The fifth spot in the rotation is seemingly up for grabs, with Jenrry Mejia perhaps in the driver’s seat, although a pair of hot prospects could assume that role at some point during the season.

Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard may not make the team out of camp, but they have a chance to impress manager Terry Collins and perhaps receive a call-up later in the year.

At the same time, Collins didn’t rule out the possibility of one of the phenoms beginning the season with the big club, per Robert Brender of SNY:

There is a great deal of intrigue surrounding the lineup as well since this could be a make-or-break year for players like Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada. All of them fell flat last season with the exception of Murphy, and another poor campaign might force Alderson‘s hand next offseason.

Third baseman David Wright is obviously the anchor as always, but he needs some support in order for New York to take a significant step forward this year. Maybe that will come in the form of catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Although he hit just .202 in his 2013 debut, d’Arnaud has the potential to be a great run producer.

With that said, d’Arnaud‘s performance behind the dish may be even more important. In order for New York’s young arms to develop, they must have confidence in who is receiving the ball. According to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, d’Arnaud is already thriving in that capacity:

For many teams, spring training is just about going through the motions. But it is legitimately important for the Mets as the next generation of players prepares to make the leap to the majors.

There is no question that there will be some good things for Mets fans to hang their hats on in 2014, but with no surefire anchor in the rotation and a muddled lineup that will struggle to score consistently, a 70-92 mark seems realistic.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

Read more MLB news on