The Nationals, Braves and Phillies all are better than the Mets on paper. How much better? If you built a roster using players from just the four teams, David Wright likely would be the Mets’ lone representative.

It leaves general manager Sandy Alderson ready to begin another spring training — the reporting date for pitchers and catchers is tomorrow — in which it is understood almost everything needs to fall into place for the Mets to have a shot at competing in the NL East.

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Kris Medlen, Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are among the marquee names in the division who have the potential to torment the Mets in 2013.

“The National League East may be the toughest division in baseball this year, and in a way it provides a model for us,” Alderson said last week. “It sets a standard. It also reinforces the direction we’ve taken, because we don’t want to just get lucky, we want to compete with teams of that caliber on a consistent basis.

“In order for us to do that, we’ve got to be methodical about how we get there. We’re not that far away. I don’t want anybody to believe this is a long-term project that has no possible realization anytime soon. ”