PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Last year's proclamation that the Mets expected, hoped or intended to win 90 games caught more traction than general manager Sandy Alderson figured. His goal was simply to alter clubhouse culture.
A year later, that goal has not changed.
"If you don't make the playoffs, you're disappointed," said Alderson, who stated early in the offseason that he hoped the Mets could win about a dozen more games than the 79 they did last year. "If you win 79 games and you don't win 81, you're disappointed. So it's relative. We have higher expectations for ourselves than we've had in past years."
Alderson has reasons to believe his goals are grounded in reality. In addition to a healthy Matt Harvey and the addition of Michael Cuddyer, the Mets are banking on a rebound season from David Wright, the strongest bullpen the club has had in years, and continued development from young pitchers Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom. While injuries are bound to happen, Alderson sees a roster with plenty of depth and no glaring holes.
"Is the team capable of winning 89, 90 games? Yeah, I think the team is capable," Alderson said. "I think it has that capacity. I think it has that potential. What's more important to me is not what I think, or what I estimate, or what I think is our capacity. It's what the players are thinking. What I've been impressed with is the way our players are approaching the season, and the confidence level that I think they have. Do I think we're capable? Yeah, I think we're capable. But we've got to go out and do it."
And if they do not? Alderson downplayed the possibility that manager Terry Collins, who has no contract guarantees beyond this season, may be at risk if the Mets stumble out to a poor start.
"Every team wants to get out of the gate fast," he said. "I think we've been patient on those occasions, in those seasons where we haven't gotten out of the gate quickly. So I don't think there's going to be any additional pressure on Terry based on how we start. Look, if the team is awful coming out of the gate, that creates pressure on everybody -- and I mean pressure just in the sense of wanting to get things turned around, not necessarily in terms of job tenure. Everybody hopes to get off to a good season. We hope to get off to a good start as well, and we'll see how it goes."
This will be Alderson's fifth summer with the Mets. Toward the end of a nearly 31-minute state-of-the-team address, he was asked if five years -- despite starting points, payroll constraints or any other factors -- are enough for a noncompetitive team to transform.
"Should be, yeah," Alderson replied. "I think every team faces certain constraints of one type or another. Five years is a pretty good length of time, so from that standpoint I would agree with you.
"Is there a follow-up to that question?"
There were none. The implication, of course, being that the Mets must follow up his words on the field.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.