Collins knows more is expected of Mets following NL pennant

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, left, talks to New York Mets manager Terry Collins before an exhibition baseball game in Tampa, Fla. For the first time in the four decades of baseball's modern economic era, the Yankees enter spring training without having signed a single free agent to a major league contract. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
AP

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Manager Terry Collins knows more is expected from his New York Mets following their first NL pennant since 2000.

Led by their young starting rotation and slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets won their first NL East title since 2006 and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in the playoffs before losing a five-game World Series to the Kansas City Royals.

''I tell our players all the time, we create our own expectations,'' Collins said Thursday during his first news conference of spring training. ''Last year we sat down some expectations: It's time to win. We won. Now, those expectations have been changed. We've still got to win, but it's unfair to say it's World Series or bust, because that's not true. There's too many things that happen during the course of a year that can change that.”

Mets pitchers and catchers have their first formal workout Friday, though many have reported early.

''What we're going to do right now is walk out this year knowing we've got a quality pitching staff, a quality bullpen, a very, very good lineup and we've shown we can compete,'' Collins said.

New York stopped a skid of six consecutive losing seasons. Collins, who turns 67 in May, is entering his sixth season as manager and was rewarded with a two-year contract through 2017.

''You can say we snuck on people last year, but as I told you one year ago today, we expected to win,'' Collins said. ''We weren't surprised by it. Now, hey, look, we're not going to surprise people anymore. So we've got to walk out there with the confidence each and every day, which I'm going to tell the guys next week on Friday when everybody's here.

''Look, I want that swagger. We're good. We're a good team. Now we can't be egomaniacs about it, but you've got to walk out there with that confidence that we're going to win. We saw it for years and years, I certainly saw it on the other side of the field when we'd play the Yankees, I saw it on the other side of the field with the Atlanta Braves when they had their run in the 90s.''

Collins said there is no planned number of days third baseman David Wright (spinal stenosis) will take off during the season or how many at-bats the captain will get during the exhibition season. Collins did emphasize Wright must be careful how many repetitions he takes during spring training.

''This guy works so hard, but as Don Mattingly told him, who had the same type of an injury, `Look, you've got to just be careful of the repetitions,''' Collins said. ''The one thing you can't do is get yourself so fatigued that you end up breaking down.''

Collins said he can't remember a starting rotation that can match the Mets current staff of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon.

''If there's a staff that has a possibility of five No. 1 guys, we've got it,'' he said.