NEW YORK -- Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns offered optimism about the club's 2024 chances on Wednesday, saying he believes the team will be better than many outsiders believe.
"One of the really fascinating parts of my first weeks on the job was talking to a bunch of our players, and they were trying to convince me how good they are," Stearns said, speaking on the Foul Territory streaming show. "And I was like, 'No guys, I get it.' This is a talented group we have here, and we're going to add to it, and we're going to be a good team next year."
During his first winter in charge of baseball ops, Stearns added 13 new players to the Mets' 40-man roster, including three-fifths of their projected rotation, multiple bullpen pieces and a new starting center fielder. The goal was to improve a club that finished 75-87 last season.
"I think the guys who were on the team last year believe that the group that was here last year and the group that we have going forward is significantly better than what the win total from 2023 would demonstrate," Stearns said. "And I think there are a lot of reasons for that. I think a lot of people in baseball would believe that as well. So I really don't think I have to convince anyone."
During a casual but wide-ranging interview on Foul Territory, Stearns addressed several other issues, including:
A potential Pete Alonso extension
"Pete's a really good player. He's performed on a big stage here for a long time. I know that. We all know that. I know how important he is to our fan base. I think where we are right now and where Pete is, everyone's going to focus on this year. The best thing for us is for Pete to have a great year, and the best thing for Pete is for Pete to have a great year, and then we'll go forward from there. But we're certainly invested in trying to keep Pete a Met, and I'm hopeful that over time we'll be able to work that out."
The club's pursuit of Yoshinobu Yamamoto
"Look, we gave it our best shot. I think as an organization, we did pretty much everything we could. I thought it was a good process, a fair process. And ultimately the player chose to go to L.A., which I respect. But we're going to go through these types of pursuits in the future, and there are going to be times when we land the player. And that will certainly be exciting for us."
The Mets' (likely) decision to use Mark Vientos as their primary DH
"I am a firm believer philosophically that we have to let young players play, that we have to allow young players to experience success and setback at the Major League level, that that's how we learn, that that's how we get better. So we have to provide room on our roster for that to happen. And that's not only this year. That's going to be going forward as well. We're going to want to have our young players who have performed well in Triple-A to have the opportunity to perform in the big leagues and get meaningful playing time."
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Stearns is scheduled to speak with a larger media group next week in Port St. Lucie, Fla., at which point he will address numerous other topics regarding the 2024 Mets.