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Mets bring merry thoughts on '18 to holiday party

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Given their budget, the Mets are not primed to make baseball's biggest Hot Stove splashes this season. They will acquire multiple players, with a focus on bullpen help. But the team that reports to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February is bound to look similar to the one that parted ways last October.

To improve, the Mets are looking to other areas. One is new manager Mickey Callaway and his staff, whom the Mets hope will help change the culture in Flushing. Another is the club's focus on new-age medical and training philosophies, which several players discussed Thursday at the Mets' annual holiday party for children from local schools.

NEW YORK -- Given their budget, the Mets are not primed to make baseball's biggest Hot Stove splashes this season. They will acquire multiple players, with a focus on bullpen help. But the team that reports to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February is bound to look similar to the one that parted ways last October.

To improve, the Mets are looking to other areas. One is new manager Mickey Callaway and his staff, whom the Mets hope will help change the culture in Flushing. Another is the club's focus on new-age medical and training philosophies, which several players discussed Thursday at the Mets' annual holiday party for children from local schools.

Video: Syndergaard looking forward to working with Callaway

"I think we're all really excited," starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard said. "We're all really pushing for one another to stay healthy throughout the entire year. We're all looking forward to that."

Syndergaard, who met Callaway recently at a Knicks game, has revamped his personal training methods since missing four months of last season due to a torn right lat. Working with an independent trainer this offseason, Syndergaard is "still lifting heavy, but smarter," in his words, avoiding lat-based exercises such as pull-ups, and even training briefly with the Canadian Olympic sprint coach. His goal is "to become a more well-rounded athlete," rather than to focus on power before all else.

Tweet from @Mets: Kevin Plawecki, @jerryblevins, @You_Found_Nimmo and @noahsyndergaard took part in our annual Kids Holiday Party. #MetsGiving📸: https://t.co/S14iNig9yI pic.twitter.com/PbvZNMiMDz

"It's different," Syndergaard said. "It's still taxing workouts. But my body has never felt better."

He and others have already talked to new pitching coach Dave Eiland, who has his own ideas about how to improve the club. The team also has plans to hire both a new head trainer and a high-performance director to oversee the entire operation.

"It's refreshing to get somebody else's mind in there, and tactics, and what they want to do," reliever Jerry Blevins said. "We want to win, so we're excited to move forward."

For now, however, most Mets are still resting their bodies while enjoying the offseason. For Syndergaard, Blevins, Brandon Nimmo and Kevin Plawecki, that meant attending the Mets' annual holiday party Thursday at Citi Field. Nimmo dressed up as Santa, handing out presents to local children with the help of his teammates, who donned elf garb.

"It's a blast," Nimmo said. "I really enjoy doing this. I really enjoy getting personal with the kids and just talking. We're normal people and sometimes we get this kind of superhero figure around you. We just get to get down on a one-on-one level and hand out presents, and meet people who are giving back to the community and trying to make it better. We really enjoy [giving back] as well."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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