It’s the holiday season, that wonderful time of year filled with optimism, holiday cheer and Mets greeting cards. But no card is powerful enough to make Met fans believe the 2012 season will make our dreams come true. With the loss of Jose Reyes, and with only a few minor additions, next season will be a struggle. Again. And yet, while it may feel like the Metspocalypse is upon us, the reality is that plenty could still go right in 2012, as long as we set reasonable expectations. Here are 10 things that Met fans can hope for — optimistically, but realistically — in the coming year.
1. For Jason Bay to hit 20 home runs
Bay ended up with 12 last year. With the fences moved in, 20 is a pretty reasonable request.
2. For Johan to make 25 starts
History suggests this will be a tall task after Santana’s shoulder surgery (see: Chien-Ming Wang, Mark Prior). But if we just hope he stays on the field, and don’t expect him to pitch like an ace, then perhaps we won’t be disappointed.
3. For Wheeler, Harvey and Familia to stay healthy
Mejia had Tommy John surgery in May, but if the Mets’ other three star pitching prospects can stay healthy, there will at least be a glimmer of hope for 2014.
(3a. For fans to avoid giving them a nickname. Let’s just call them Wheeler, Harvey and Familia for now and keep the hype in check.)
4. For Niese, Gee or Pelfrey to have 15 wins and a sub-4.00 ERA
Keyword: Or. Is that so much to ask from one of the three? Niese is the most likely candidate, but hopefully he and Gee will both be more consistent. As for Pelf, the smartest thing we can do is expect very, very little.
5. For David Wright to have a 25 HR/100 RBI year
And play good third base like he used to. And not get traded. And silence all the haters. (No pressure, David.)
6. For Ike Davis to also have a 25/100 year
The key for Ike, in addition to staying healthy, will be learning to have more plate discipline. If he can get better at laying off offspeed junk, 25/100 will be an attainable mark.
7. For Ruben Tejada to be serviceable
Just serviceable. Nothing more. Strong defense, a .285 average, and improvement as a base stealer. Putting on some muscle in the offseason also wouldn’t hurt, if only to help him hit a few more doubles.
8. For two new bullpen guys to be reliable in the 9th
Earlier this month, the Mets landed Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez in a two-hour span. Francisco and Rauch both have closing experience, and Ramirez has been a great late-inning guy. If two of the three can prove they are capable closers, the pen won’t be nearly as dreadful as it was last year.
9. For Jose Reyes to play less than 130 games
Some people might not care what Jose does in those hideous Miami unis. But come on — you can’t honestly tell me you won’t be pissed if he plays 155 games.
10. For the Wilpons to sell the team
This may be the least likely of all, since Bud Selig won’t force the Wilpons out unless it’s absolutely necessary. But the team is neck-deep in debt. Picard-willing, someone else will own the Mets by the end of 2012.