Sandy Alderson believes the Mets have the potential to improve by 10 wins

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After finishing at 79-83 in 2014, the Mets had two clear needs this offseason to emerge as legitimate contenders: A corner outfielder and a shortstop. They got off to an interesting start by signing Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contract (and surrendering their first-round pick for 2015 in the process) in November, but nothing of note has happened since unless you count John Mayberry, Jr. They have come up empty-handed in their efforts to acquire an upgrade over Wilmer Flores at shortstop and they still have a surplus of starting pitchers. Still, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is confident about their chances in 2015.

During an appearance on MLB Network’s “High Heat” with Christopher Russo today, Alderson said that one of the reasons they have been fairly quiet this winter is because he believes they have players in place who give them the potential to improve by 10 wins from 2014. He also made an interesting comparison between Cal Ripken, Jr. and Flores. Check out the full video below:

One of the other reasons they were “fairly quiet” this winter could be that they don’t have the money to bring in other players, but fine, we’ll roll with that. So where are those 10 wins going to come from? Well, they appear to be banking on the addition of Cuddyer and the return of Matt Harvey combined with improvement from their young players and rebounds from David Wright and Curtis Granderson. Could everything click to get them to 89 wins and a playoff berth? Maybe, but there’s also the chance for regression from players like Lucas Duda and Jacob deGrom. It works both ways. By failing to address their obvious need at shortstop, the Mets haven’t really distinguished themselves from a large group of teams who figure to be in the mix for a Wild Card spot.

Carlos Carrasco pitches during game action

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Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer. He’d been out since June. Despite that diagnosis, he and the Indians insisted that he would make every effort to come back this year. Yesterday he took a big step in that direction, making his first rehab appearance at Double-A Akron.

He only tossed one inning, walking one batter and striking out another. He thew 16 pitches but cranked it up to 97 with his first offering. Not too shabby.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for him returning to Cleveland. If they intend to use him as a starter again he’ll obviously need several more appearances to get stretched out. If he’s to be used as a reliever, fewer obviously. What his stamina level is and will be is also an open question.

However that gets sorted out, it’s good so have him back in action.