Mets Season Preview, Predictions feat. Wally Backman

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Wally Backman at Mets spring training in 2013.
Wally Backman
Anthony J. Causi

Francisco Lindor and I have more in common than I thought. We both order chicken parm for dinner. Now, only if I could get the $300 million-plus contract that might be coming come his way, should the Mets get this big extension done before Opening Day. Lindor and the Mets begin their quest for a NL East division title on Thursday down in D.C. when they take on the Nationals. Are the Mets the team to beat in the division? Do they have enough to compete for a championship?

To answer those questions and provide an in-depth season preview, we bring you a new episode of the “Amazin’ But True” podcast with Nelson Figueroa and me, featuring a chat with the Post’s Mike Puma and a must-listen interview with 1986 Mets World Series champion infielder Wally Backman.

Amazin’ But True Podcast Opening Segment with Jake & Nelson:

  • LINEUP: One of the best Mets lineups in a long time. They have depth and respectable players coming off the bench, including strong late-game defensive replacements. Question marks are J.D. Davis’ defense at third base and Dom Smith’s defense in left field.
  • ROTATION: When Carlos Carrasco and Noah Synergaard return, the Mets could have one of the best rotations in baseball. A lot rides on Marcus Stroman having a big season and returning to his Blue Jays form.
  • BULLPEN: A lot rides on the bullpen, which has some question marks. Mets need vast improvements from Jeurys Familia and Dellin Betances. Worried about Robert Gsellman. Edwin Diaz needs to be a lockdown closer. Seth Lugo’s return will be pivotal for the bullpen.
  • PREDICTIONS: I say 93-69. Figgie says 92-70. I say the Mets win NL East. Figgie says they get a Wild Card spot. We both have the Dodgers getting to the World Series.

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Wally Backman Interview:
Former Mets infielder (1980-1988), 1986 World Series champion

  • LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Managing the Ducks for a second season this year after winning a championship in 2019. Whole infield is big-league players. Former Met TJ Rivera is likely going to be playing for them this season.
  • CHASE UTLEY SLIDE: Would have slid in exactly the same way. “The game has gotten so soft.” Game has changed so much.
  • MANAGING THE METS ONE DAY?: Not with Sandy Alderson as president. “He doesn’t like me, because I have always been close to the media.” Terry Collins wanted him to be bench coach in 2016 and Sandy wouldn’t let it happen. They didn’t like him hitting Brandon Nimmo 8th in the lineup some games in the minor leagues. “I’d love to be the guy that ran that team, but it’s not gonna happen.” Would never go back to the minor leagues in affiliated ball.
  • 2021 METS: They should be there at the end. It will depend on health and maybe making a move around the deadline. If Sandy doesn’t win in the next few years, he won’t be there.

Mike Puma Interview:
NY Post Mets beat writer

  • GSELLMAN/BULLPEN/ROTATION: Potential for multiple innings out of Gsellman. If Betances didn’t have $6 million coming to him, he would probably have been cut. His velocity is down and has not looked great in spring. They may split up the two lefties in rotation with Taijuan Walker between David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi.
  • JEFF MCNEIL: Had a terrible spring at the plate hitting just over .100…should we be concerned?
  • LINDOR CONTRACT EXTENSION: Heading in direction of getting done before Thursday. Mets willing to go over $300 million.
  • PREDICTION: 92 wins and second place in the NL East. Braves win the NL.

Catch up on all episodes of “Amazin’ But True,” a New York Mets podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Follow Jake Brown on Twitter and Instagram @JakeBrownRadio and Nelson Figueroa @FiggieNY. New episodes are released every Monday and beginning next week, every Monday and Thursday.

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