Likes and dislikes about the Mets heading into 2014 MLB season

Noah Syndergaard throws a bullpen session during spring

Noah Syndergaard throws a bullpen session during spring training on Monday Feb. 17, 2014 at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

WHY THERE SHOULD BE OPTIMISM . . .

A flow of young arms: Noah Syndergaard leads the pack and talented arms such as Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom could be used to fill out the bullpen later in the year.

Always about pitching: Pitching cures plenty of ills and the Mets have plenty of it. The Mets also could use some of their stockpile as trade bait to improve in other areas.

An infusion of talent: Free-agent additions Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon have flourished in winning environments. But more importantly, both appear perfectly capable of delivering elite production.

WHY THERE SHOULD BE CONCERN . . .

No first choice at first base: How did the Mets respond to lackluster power production from Ike Davis and Lucas Duda? By bringing back Davis and Duda and hoping for better results.

The shortage at shortstop: How did the Mets respond to a horrendous season from Ruben Tejada? By bringing back Tejada and hoping for better results.

Plenty of questions: How did the Mets respond to a lineup that piled up strikeouts and failed to score runs? By essentially freezing payroll for the third straight season, by leaving multiple holes unfilled -- and by hoping for better results.

BEAT MAN'S PREDICTION: 74-88

Hope is not a plan. The Mets didn't fill enough of their holes this winter. Expect more of the same: also-ran status in the NL East.

Marc Carig has covered the Mets for Newsday since 2012.

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