Everyone knows the realities of the Mets' situation with the 2012 season about to start.
The team's thin, still hamstrung by a less than ideal financial situation exacerbated by waning fan interest and rolling with a starting rotation that's short on elite talent. Even if none of those things were true, they'd still be playing in a tough division that would make contending difficult.
That doesn't mean that the season is destined to be a failure, though. The Mets can still turn this year into a positive with a record short of .500 and a team that plays its final meaningful game sometime in May.
Like just about everything with the Mets these days, it starts with David Wright. If Wright's power numbers return with the new fences at Citi Field, the team will have an asset on their hands that they don't have right now.
He can be traded at the deadline this year or after the team picks up his option in the offseason with the Mets picking up much needed youth and depth as they build their next contending team. He could also be re-signed to a long-term deal, although that feels like an unlikely turn of events for a team that has made it quite clear that they are taking the long view when it comes to building their organization.
A Wright resurgence isn't the only way forward for the Mets. These things would also make it possible to stamp the Mets' season a success, although we won't bother with hoping for turnarounds for Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey in the interest of keeping things realistic.
Big offensive years for Lucas Duda and Ike Davis - The Mets are going to need help in the middle of the lineup even if Wright bounces all the way back and both of these players are capable of providing it. Even better, they will provide that offense at affordable prices over the next several years which makes them the perfect building blocks for this Mets team.
Jon Niese taking the next step - There's hope for the future of the rotation with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but having a young lefty piece to add to the mix would be awfully nice. The Mets seem to believe he can take that step, judging by their desire to sign him to a long-term deal.
Health for Johan Santana - This season will be quite ugly if the Mets have to reach into their nonexistent pitching depth, so getting a full year from Santana would at least help from an aesthetic standpoint. And perhaps someone will bite on the last year of his deal in a trade next offseason if he shows something close to the pitcher he was when the Mets traded for him in the first place.
Bullpen stability - The depth issue applies here as well, but, really, it comes down to the difference between having a modicum of hope and the season becoming a soul-crushing disaster. Blowing lead after lead will make it the latter and that's not good for anybody.
Small gains, to be sure, but it's something to build on. Asking for much more for these Mets is just greedy.