The Mets were not a great team in 2015, at least not until they had managed to solve the problems that plagued them during the season's first half. Rather than tempt fate again by hoping to hold on in the standings until the trade deadline, New York attacked their issues head on during the winter. Now, they look like one of the favorites in the National League, and a more than worthy opponent for the Nationals, even if Washington manages to dig themselves out of their own mess from last summer.
The thematic key addition is shared by Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. The Mets could have sat back and let Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores play the two positions on the cheap -- it would have been very on #brand of the Mets to do so -- but instead, they went out and acquired some useful players who would help insure them against lineup holes and lost causes. That's a component the 2015 Mets were missing, and they are now much more frightening with fewer easy outs.
All additions: Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Antonio Bastardo, Alejandro De Aza, Jim Henderson
Speaking of frightening, the best player the Mets lost this winter was their stone-handed second baseman whose playoff performance at the plate made him seem much better than he actually is. Oh, and they replaced him with a better, more consistent second baseman.
All departures: Daniel Murphy, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard, Jenrry Mejia
The Mets manage to have a healthy rotation once again, and that plus their improved lineup leads them to the World Series championship they were just three wins away from in 2015.
Do you know how rare it is to have a rotation full of healthy arms? The Mets might have the makings of an ace-filled one through five, sure, but if you can't imagine injuries interrupting that, you aren't imagining hard enough. Throw in that Curtis Granderson is 35 years old, Michael Conforto doesn't have a full season (or the adjustments that must come with it) behind him, and the fact no one knows what David Wright can be counted on for in 2016, and you can see how things could fall apart even if, on paper, these Mets are better than last year's iteration.
Lineup: Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Travis d'Arnaud, Michael Conforto, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera
Rotation: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Bartolo Colon