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Wilpon extracts positives from season

Wilpon extracts positives from season

NEW YORK -- Despite all the expectations, the what-ifs and the could-have-beens, Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon managed to muster a few positives Sunday on the final day of his team's 2008 season.

"I think we overachieved based on what we had," Wilpon said.

Dressed in a windbreaker and sneakers with electric yellow streaks, Wilpon lamented all the injuries -- to John Maine, Billy Wagner and Moises Alou. He ran down the list of replacement players who had populated Shea Stadium -- Daniel Murphy, Luis Ayala, Nick Evans and Brian Stokes. And Wilpon smiled, best as he could.

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"I think we underachieved last year, and I think we overachieved this year," Wilpon said. "Look who our second baseman was. Look who our left fielder was. Look who was in our bullpen. No Billy Wagner, no John Maine. You can go right down the list of what happened."

And so the Mets, Wilpon insisted, had succeeded simply by being in playoff contention on the season's final Sunday. Though he stopped short of lauding manager Jerry Manuel, saying he needed first to discuss the issue with general manager Omar Minaya, Wilpon indicated that he was quite pleased with the bulk of his uniformed personnel.

He was also quite pleased with Citi Field, his own dream and creation, which will open to the Mets and their fans next April.

That, more than anything, has given Wilpon a reason for almost unguarded optimism. He knows that the Mets will not have Alou or Wagner back for any significant stretch of next season, but he indicated that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win. The Mets might not see any momentous personnel changes between now and April, but that's not grounds for pessimism.

So when asked if the Mets are planning on making any significant changes in the coming months, Wilpon simply grinned.

"We are," he said. "We're moving to a new ballpark."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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