PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - New York is a Mets town. At least, that's where Curtis Granderson believes it could be headed.
"I think we're primed and ready for it,'' the former Yankee said Tuesday. "We have a lot of guys that are in position to do it.''
The Yankees missed the postseason only three times in the past 20 years, while the Mets haven't qualified since 2006.
Nevertheless, Granderson ticked off a list of those he hopes will help turn the tide. He made reference to "the captain,'' David Wright, the only baseball player in New York to hold the distinction. Then he turned his focus toward a pitching staff led by returning ace Matt Harvey and Gold Glove centerfielder Juan Lagares.
"I'm excited to see what we can do for the city,'' said Granderson, who endured a volatile first season in Queens. Although his production dipped, the difference might have been driven by the move from Yankee Stadium to cavernous Citi Field.
Adjusted on-base plus slugging -- or OPS+ -- is a statistic that factors in a park's effects. The big-league average is 100. Granderson's 105 OPS+ last season was not far off his career mark of 115.
He finished the season as an above-average hitter, though that fact was obscured by his wild swings in production.
"He went through those streaks,'' manager Terry Collins said. "I know he's done it in the past.''
Consistency eluded Granderson and Citi Field's generous dimensions seemed to only make matters worse. He set career lows in average (.227) and slugging (.388) after signing a four-year, $60-million deal that came with heightened expectations.
"I think there were some bright sides,'' said Granderson, who faced unflattering comparisons to onetime free-agent bust Jason Bay. "There were also some negative sides to it and obviously some areas to improve upon.''
Granderson, 33, played 155 games after injuries limited him to 61 the previous year with the Yankees. Collins praised his defense in rightfield. But the Mets will have a tough time taking over the city without a bounce-back year from Granderson.
Although pitching is expected to carry the Mets, they will still need run production if they're serious about challenging the Nationals for supremacy in the division.
Granderson should get some help in two critical areas.
During the offseason, the Mets hired former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, reuniting what once was a formidable team. With Long providing counsel, Granderson twice eclipsed the 40-homer mark while making consecutive All-Star teams.
"He's your biggest fan,'' Granderson said of working with Long.
Part of that power bump also came from Granderson's taking advantage of Yankee Stadium's short rightfield porch. Citi Field will never be that cozy, even with its new configuration. However, moving in the fences in right-centerfield could benefit Granderson, whose power is mostly toward his pull side.
The Mets estimated he would have hit nine more homers last season with the new dimensions.
"There's no guarantees he's going to hit [more] homers to that same part of the park,'' Collins said. "But if he does, he's going to produce runs.''