Analysis: Will 2015 really be better?

NEW YORK -- Add Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell to an already solid staff, and the New York Mets should have playoff-caliber pitching in 2015.

Still, it is entirely possible the glass-half-full outlook for next season is a mirage, and the Mets’ streak of consecutive losing seasons will continue.

Once Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud began to produce this season, it seemed reasonable to assert the Mets were a shortstop and left fielder away from becoming legitimate wild-card contenders.

Not that securing substantial upgrades at both of those positions this winter would have been a slam dunk, but it seemed a plausible goal to realistically make the Mets competitive.


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The struggles of Curtis Granderson and David Wright make the Mets' ability to succeed in 2015 questionable.

Given the profound struggles of David Wright and Curtis Granderson, you must begin to wonder if a shortstop and left fielder are remotely enough to jumpstart the team’s offense.

Wright is in the midst of a career-high, 153-at-bat homerless drought. He is hitting .207 (30-for-145) with two doubles and eight RBIs in 38 games since the All-Star break.

Granderson, who was on the bench Sunday, is 1-for-17 on the homestand, has two extra-base hits in August and is hitting .214 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs this year. He was signed to be Wright’s protection in the lineup, yet more recently found himself as the leadoff hitter -- and floundering in that role.

Aside from their paltry production as supposed anchors of the offense, Wright and Granderson’s contracts are borderline scary, too -- unless the Mets' owners are going to seriously loosen the purse strings.

Wright and Granderson are making a combined $33 million this season and are due to make a combined $36 million in 2015.

After Mets GM Sandy Alderson waited four years for payroll flexibility, he is now tied to two potentially unproductive players who may consume more than one-third of the payroll for the next three seasons.

“It’s a legitimate question,” manager Terry Collins said Sunday when asked about being able to succeed with the team’s two primary offensive cogs unproductive. “Your main guys, when you go into spring training every year, you look at those names and you say, ‘These are going to be the guys that carry us. Now, the pieces around those guys, what do they need to do for us to be successful?’ It depends on those guys to really do what they do best.”

The primary case for Wright having a rebound season in 2015 is that his shoulder is holding him back now, and he will be healthy next year. That might be valid to a certain extent, but Wright’s production trend is headed in a downward direction. Since producing a combined 63 home runs in 2007 and ’08, Wright’s long-ball totals have been 10, 29, 14, 21, 18 and now eight. And Wright is not getting any younger; he will be 32 next season.

Granderson’s season, meanwhile, might not be that much of an outlier from previous years. His on-base percentage is identical to that of his last season with the Yankees (.317). And he is homering once every 29.8 at-bats this season, compared with once every 30.6 at-bats a year ago in pinstripes.

“No. 1, I think David is going to be healthier next year than he has been,” Collins said. “I think that will make a difference. You look at his splits between the first and second half, [and] there’s a dramatic difference.

“And Grandy, I think [after] a year in the National League, I think [after] a year seeing what it takes to be successful in this park, I think he’ll probably come into spring training with a different outlook of what he’s got to do to find success here.”

Alderson was fond all last winter of noting the Mets went 50-50 in their final 100 games of the 2013 season, as if that was supposed to be a signal the team was on the precipice of something special.

It was not.

Using that same measurement tool, though, the Mets are 46-54 in their past 100 games this season.

That’s a 75-win pace that Harvey and Parnell will not remedy without rebounds from Wright and Granderson.