Baseball outlook is sunny for local teams
by John Jastremski
Apr 06, 2016 | 7457 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’ve been counting down the days until the start of the 2016 baseball season. The start of the season just by nature usually brings all sorts of excitement and anticipation, but this season feels a little bit different because of the way 2015 finished up for both of the local New York teams.

Satisfactory seasons, but unfulfilled.

The Mets are fresh off their first appearance in the World Series in 15 years. I don’t think there’s any question due to their outstanding starting pitching and the return of slugger Yoenis Cespedes, the team in Flushing looks to be one of baseball’s best in 2016.

It’s very rare for Mets fans to have serious expectations entering a season. I totally understand the bizzaro dynamic to a 2016 season where indeed the Mets and their fans have embraced the Yankee fan mentality of “World Series or bust.”

It’s the right approach to have.

The only way the Mets can improve upon what they accomplished in 2015 is by going out and winning their first World Series title in 30 years.

The rotation will be must-see TV night after night. Between Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, it doesn’t even seem fair for the rest of the National League East.

The two biggest keys for the Mets in 2016 will be maintaining the health of third basemen David Wright and catcher Travis D’Arnaud, as well as figuring how to bridge the game to outstanding closer Jeurys Familia.

If the Mets can accomplish those two things, I fully expect them to repeat as champions in the National League East.

For the other team in town, the New York Yankees enter 2016 with a realistic chance to win the American League East, but they also could be a team that has a ton of aging, injured players stuck on the disabled list throughout the season.

Last year, the Yankees showed you that when they are healthy, and when they are at full strength they can be very dangerous.

They were in first place for a majority of the 2015 season, until critical injuries to Mark Teixeria and Nathan Evoaldi torpedoed the Yankees chances at a division title.

The Yankees were forced to settle for a wild card spot and fell short against Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros.

Despite the fact that the Yankees did not sign a free agent, they improved their club in 2016.

Offensive acquisitions Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks should help against left-handed pitching.

On the mound, the Yankees added to the greatest strength of their team. They’ll welcome flamethrower Arodlis Chapman in mid-May, which will give Joe Girardi one of the best 7-8-9 trios in the history of baseball.

With Chapman alongside Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, the Yankees have essentially made it a six-inning game for their opponents.

However, the biggest key for the Yankees chances in 2016 is the ability of the team to stay healthy throughout 2016.

It’s really that simple.

If you can assure me that Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez can stay healthy, they’ll produce in the middle of the order.

If Masahiro Tanaka is able to throw 180-plus innings, he’ll lead the staff.

However, there are just too many if’s for me to declare the Yankees as the best team in the American League East.

I think Joe Girardi and company will find themselves in a similar predicament: back in the postseason, but playing in that stressful wild card game at the end of the year.

Considering 2015 was the first season that both New York baseball teams were in the playoffs in nine years, I think both Yankees and Mets fans can agree that October is a lot more fun with both teams in the mix.

Let’s pray for a reprise.

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