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FA signings at '13 Meetings helped rising Mets

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- Heading into the 2013 Winter Meetings, the Mets were coming off consecutive 88-loss seasons. They had not sniffed second place in the National League East since '08, which also happened to be the last time they were involved in a serious postseason race.

They had spent years worrying about payroll and passed quiet offseasons making moves at the margins, as the specter of Bernie Madoff loomed over the franchise.

NEW YORK -- Heading into the 2013 Winter Meetings, the Mets were coming off consecutive 88-loss seasons. They had not sniffed second place in the National League East since '08, which also happened to be the last time they were involved in a serious postseason race.

They had spent years worrying about payroll and passed quiet offseasons making moves at the margins, as the specter of Bernie Madoff loomed over the franchise.

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First, the Mets finalized a four-year, $60 million deal with outfielder Curtis Granderson, the most lucrative free-agent signing they secured in three years. Then, they inked Bartolo Colon to a two-year, $2 million contract, adding legitimacy to their claims of the dawn of a new era.

Those signings came a month after the Mets agreed with another free agent, Chris Young, to a $7.25 million deal, marking one of the Mets' most active offseasons in recent memory.

"It was what we had to do," chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said after Granderson's signing. "It was something that we wanted to do. It fit well with the plan. It's a commitment on our part to have him around. [Granderson] wanted to be around to see the team turn the corner and be part of it moving forward. I think he was the best fit for us."

While not quite as impactful, the signings recalled the Mets' most dramatic Winter Meetings splash ever, when they sealed a deal for catcher Gary Carter at the 1984 Meetings in Houston. At the time, the Mets were a team on the rise, improving to a 98-win club in '85, then a 108-win team that won the World Series in '86.

With Granderson and Colon in tow, the Mets likewise bumped up to second place with a 79-win season in 2014, then to 90 wins, a division title and a World Series berth in '15.

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"I can't be more excited or more proud to wear the orange and blue," David Wright, who finalized his own $138 million deal at the 2012 Winter Meetings, said after the division clincher. "I bleed orange and blue. To be able to celebrate with these fans, this city, this team, is a privilege."

This year's Meetings may not be as dramatic for the Mets, but they are still likely to include one or more major signings. The team plans to be aggressive in the relief market, hoping to ink at least one premier setup man in the coming weeks. General manager Sandy Alderson's front office is also shopping around for a second baseman and first base/outfield hybrid.

Unlike in 2013, this isn't the dawn of a new era; the Mets are primed to win now, and have been for some time. But they still need to add plenty of pieces. As in '13, at least some of them are likely to come at the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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

New York Mets