While speaking with reporters during the winter meetings in San Diego, Terry Collins said that he believes the 2015 Mets have the pieces necessary to compete for a title. If that proclamation puts added pressure on his job status, Collins explained that it doesn't bother him too much.
"So what? You put yourself on the hot seat. At my age, there's a lot of numbness down there anyway."
Since he's so numb to the hot seat, I'm sure Collins will eschew bunting in favor of a more bold strategy. Okay, maybe not, but it's still nice to see the skipper not shy away from great expectations.
With Matt Harvey coming back from Tommy John surgery and joining a rotation that already includes National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom as well as Zack Wheeler, the Mets figure to have one of the top pitching staffs in the senior circuit.
The move to forfeit a draft pick and bring in veteran slugger Michael Cuddyer only added to the increased expectations of the 2015 team. Speaking of Cuddyer, Collins said today that he'll probably play left field and bat fifth. With Juan Lagares batting leadoff, Collins would be able to alternate right-handed hitters and lefties through the first six spots in the order.
As for the bottom of the lineup, Collins isn't ready to just hand the starting shortstop job to Wilmer Flores. The manager told reporters that Ruben Tejada is still just 25 years old and may still have upside left.
One other nugget: Even though Bobby Parnell won't fully ramp up his workload until spring training (he underwent Tommy John surgery early last season), Collins is keeping the closer role open for him. Jenrry Mejia, of course, was the closer for much of the 2014 campaign, but his 1.48 WHIP leaves much to be desired.