PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Manager Terry Collins' address to the New York Mets before the first full-squad workout Friday was well-received by the team's prominent players.
“It was all positive stuff,” ace Matt Harvey said. “I think the main thing was: There’s a lot of expectations, and the only way to come through with those is to … go about our business and get ready. That’s what spring training is about, and that was his emphasis.”
Said captain David Wright: “The message is the exact same that it was last year, when the outside expectations were low, but the inside expectations were high. Now it’s the outside expectations are high and the inside expectations are high. It’s no different than coming into last spring. The mindset is the same. The message is the same. I think guys come in here with a little more confidence. The organization comes in with a little more confidence. But nothing changes.”
Collins said he enumerated some areas where his National League pennant winner can improve from 2015. Among those:
Mets baserunners were solid taking extra bases two years ago, but “weren’t that good last year."
Pitchers did a “tremendous” job RBI-wise, but need to improve at advancing runners via bunts and hitting behind them.
Pitchers need to do a better job holding runners and catchers need to be more proficient retiring base stealers.
“Last year is over,” Collins said. “We got to enjoy it for a period of time. Now we’ve got to focus on what it’s going to be to get ready for the next year and what we’ve got to do. We certainly realize there’s going to be a lot of people after us. We get that. And I’m of the mind to embrace as opposed to ignore it. You’re naïve if you think for one second it’s not going to be in your face every day. I think we’ve got to embrace it.”
While the Mets remain a strong team, Collins also identified some areas about which he is curious -- albeit not concerned. He noted that while the "athletic" bench has the type of “movable pieces” to provide starters days off, it also is young. Collins added that the Mets need to identify another late-inning reliever.
Wright described Collins’ Friday morning address as “fiery.”
Still, the players already were ready for their mission to return to the World Series and then win it.
“The motivation that we went through last year with losing the World Series, you don’t need any more motivation than that,” Wright said. “You now understand how hard it is to get to that point. You understand the work that’s put in. That starts here. And I think that’s what Terry is getting through to us.”