10 Days Away From Opening Day…Do You Know Who Your Mets Are?

Dennis Ribant has nothing to to do with this post. I just felt like posting his baseball card. For some reason I was thinking about Ribant and why his Mets career was so short. Yes, I need to go out and get some fresh air.   

So we are a mere 10 days away from opening day and the questions at the start of spring training are still questions as we hit the training camp home stretch.  Who’s on first? What’s on second and at shortstop? I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!

Let’s peruse the Mets roster that could debut at Citi Field a week from Monday in front a lot of empty seats:

The much anticipated battle of the stiffs never materialized as both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda went down with leg injuries.  That gave us a chance to see Eric Campbell and Josh Satin play the bulk of the spring games. Both players looked to be much better choices than either Ike or Duda but only one of them will make the 25 man roster and looks to be Satin. The shame of it is Campbell will not make it north because he hits from the right side, and Ike, Satin and most likely Duda will make the club. That’s a damn shame.

Daniel Murphy will be the everyday 2nd baseman until Ike Davis and Lucas Duda flop then he would shift over to 1st base and Terry Collins favorite Eric Young Jr would become the regular 2nd baseman that is unless Wilmer Flores takes that spot and EYJ keeps a spot as a super sub. Whew! Where for art thou Edgardo Alfonzo?

None of the in house candidates to play shortstop, Ruben Tejada, Omar Quintanilla or Wilmer Flores are much with the glove so why not take the best bat out of the three which would be Flores and start him at short? Let Ruben be what he was born to be a utility infielder and let Quintanilla be what he was destined to be, a former big league player.

David Wright 3rd base. Nuff’ said

It seems as if long time minor league journeyman and Jersey boy Anthony Seratelli will make this club as a super-sub. His ability to switch hit and get on base makes him an asset.

Chris Young has picked up his offense lately this spring so let’s hope that translates into the season. $7.25 mil for a player whose offensive game has declined the last three seasons seems like a huge gamble for a team that has to scrape and scrimp to come up with that kind of scratch. Got to hope this is not the offensive version of Frank Frank  .

There is no way in hell Terry Collins cannot write Juan Lagares name in the everyday lineup.   Not just Collins but no one in the organization can make a rational argument as to why Lagares will not be in centerfield just about every day.  Here’s a newsflash, the Washing ton Nationals are going to win the division by about 20 games so let’s play Lagares every day and let him grow as a big leaguer .

Can Curtis Granderson give the Mets an average Granderson season? Would you sign on for .261/.340/.488 with 30 HR 80 RBI? Oh hell yeah!

The training wheels are off Travis d’Arnaud, it’s not only his pitching staff but he has to contribute offensively as well. TDA’s bat could be the X factor in this season’ run to respectability.  Yes that is Kevin Pawlicki in the rear view mirror

Jon Niese starts the season on the DL but could be activated by the first weekend series against the Cincinnati Red Legs. With Niese out, Dillion Gee has been given the honor of starting the first game of the season. Good for Gee who was solid the last half of last season and has paid his dues in the organization. Gee will be followed by Zack Wheeler, Bartolo Colon and Dice-K. That’s a solid starting staff and with Raphael Montero and the Mighty Thor waiting in the wings, the club is flush with stellar pitching arms.

The front office has had a tough time putting together a solid bullpen. It doesn’t help that Terry Collins and Dan Warthen are not the best late inning pitching strategists  either but in order to be the 90 win team Alderson thinks he has here, he’s going to need a bullpen that ranks in the top ten , something that has eluded the Mets for a few years now.

There has to be trepidation over the lack of velocity coming from the right arm of Bobby Parnell and the lack of command shown by Vic Black.  Jose Valverde looks like he’s made the team and could step in to close when needed as well as Jeurys Familia who has had a spectacular spring. Scott Rice comes back as the LOOGY with Carlos Torres and John Lannan as long men/spot starters. This could be the year the Mets have a pen to believe in.

Jeremy Gibson of the Blue Jays blog 500 Level Fan asked me for my take on the NL East race this season by the way seems the Jays fans are still hurting from the trade last year.

 

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NEW YORK METS WHO STAYS WHO GOES HITTERS DIVISON

Okay, day 1 without Mets baseball has passed and I’ve gotten over the shakes and cold sweats that Mets withdrawal usually brings on. Today, besides getting ready to root my ass off for the Detroit Tigers (I may even buy a pack of Marlboro to put next to my Gates Brown, Dick McAuliffe, Mickey Stanley and Mayo Smith baseball card shrine I’m constructing for this series) and deciding if today is a good day to sneak out of work early to go see Moneyball, I figured this would be a good day to go over my “Who Stays and Who Go’s” from the Mets 2011 roster. So in the words of the late great Bob Murphy, “Fasten your seatbelts”:

Ike Davis-If anything good comes from the freak injury that Ike suffered it will be that Sandy Alderson may have seen the light and will overhaul the Mets training staff. A healthy Ike and hitter friendly alterations to Citi Field’ outfield dimensions could shoot Davis to superstar stratosphere. Hell Yeah Ike Stays!   

Ruben Tejada-Will he be the everyday 2nd baseman or the everyday shortstop that is to be determined what is fact is he’s here to stay and will play every day at one of those position in 2012. STAY.

Justin Turner-When Turner comes to bat with no one on base, he’s Mario Mendoza. With men in scoring position, he’s Mr. Clutch (.350/.480/.500 w/RISP) Not great range in the field but serviceable bench player. STAY

Jose Reyes-If Alderson can get creative with options and funky clauses in a contract, there is a chance that Reyes remains a Met. If an owner looks past the hammy issues or feel its training staff can cure Reyes of his leg malaise then Jose may get stupid money thrown at him. Alderson has a figure in terms of money and years that he won’t cross to keep Reyes and I still feel he hopes there is a team out there that blows his offer away as Alderson really doesn’t want to burden the organization with another long term deal. The heart says stay but the head says GO!

David Wright-No player on this team has become a bigger enigma than Wright. The only thing keeping me from saying put him on the trading block is the bringing in and lowering of the fences at Citi Field that have spooked Wright since day one. With a year left on his deal at $15 mil, DW is still affordable but his defense has deteriorated as much as his offense. Part of me wonders if the Mets would be better off with Daniel Murphy at 3 rd as a better option right now. I’ll stay with Wright for 2012 at 3rd base for two reasons; first, you wouldn’t get max return on him in a deal and two, with the new hitter friendly Citi Field maybe that will wake up DW stagnant bat.  A lukewarm STAY

Jason Bay-If Alderson could ever move his suffocating contract; he’d do it in heartbeat. Add Bay to the list of players who could be born again by shorter LF wall. Bay works hard and is respected in the clubhouse so to deal him for a bad contract would also mean you’re getting a bad guy (Carlos Zambrano or a John Lackey) so I guess what I’m getting at is he’s STAYS.

Angel Pagan-The expiration date on Pagan’s big league career has been achieved. Pagan 2011 was nothing like Pagan 2010 but more like Pagan 2009 which not a vintage year. GO.

Lucas Duda-If Duda can become just a serviceable right fielder (which means not tripping over his own feet or turning left when he should turn right) to go with his power bat and run production ability, the Mets will have an All Star for years to come. In fact Duda and Ike can become the new faces of the franchise. STAY.

Josh Thole-Great guy, decent contact hitter, disaster behind the plate. Catcher is a position that the Mets need to shore up badly as Casey Stengel said “You need a catcher because without one there would be a lot of passed balls” unfortunately even with Thole behind the plate there were a ton of PB’s (16) yes I know we have R.A Dickey and his knuckler on staff but shit 16 PASSED BALLS? COM’ON.   Thole is serviceable with a decent bat and more importantly he works cheap. STAY

Ronnie Paulino- Word on the street is Paulino has poor work habits and is not very good at working with the pitching staff on going over hitters tendencies. Add his deficiencies along with Thole’s and you can see that the organization has a big problem behind the plate. With a lot of young arms here and on the way the need for a solid veteran defensive catcher should be item #2 on Alderson’s to do list this offseason right after dealing with Jose Reyes. GO.

Daniel Murphy-Safe to say you can add Adlerson and Terry Collins to the #ImWith28 Club. Murph will STAY and Collins will find a way to play him as much as he can. Where that is? That’s why Collins gets the big bucks.  If it weren’t for his injury Murph would have finished in the top 10 in batting average no doubt about it. STAY.

Willie Harris-Started off his Mets career very shaky but rebounded to become a valuable bench player. Has a good ability to get on base and can play multiple positions. Harris also become a leader in the clubhouse and helped make it a better place. Harris wants to come back and the Mets should bring him back but Alderson won’t make that a top priority. A halfhearted STAY   

Scott Hairston-I nearly forgot about Hairston as he’s been out all of September with a knee injury and played sporadically when he was healthy. GO

Nick Evans-I’d love to ask Evans what is it like to be DFA on five different occasions and not have one team put a claim in for you? You would think it would be a blow to anyone’s self-esteem but Evans kept going back to Buffalo and produced and kept getting the call to the big leagues, the man is the picture of perseverance. I have a lot of respect for Evans and he can play either corner spot on the field. Someday a team will wake up and give him a chance on a big league roster. I just don’t think it will be the Mets. With regrets I say GO.

Jason Pridie-No great shakes in CF, can’t hit for shit and has an ugly beard. GO.

Mike Baxter-If I am fortunate to speak to Terry Collins in the off season the first question I want ask him is “What did Mike Baxter do to piss you off to the point of burying on the bench”? I would have loved to see more of Baxter. On the final day of the season I was happy he hit the home run but I was more impressed with the way he busted his ass down the 1st base line on a groundball. Baxter also looks pretty good in RF as well. Baxter played a bit of CF in the minors which is why I’m puzzled why Collins played Pridie over him. What was there to lose? I hope Baxter gets a shot in spring training but it seems he has Buffalo written all over him. A shaky STAY   

   On Monday I’ll go over the pitchers who get to stay or should be sent packing

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I FOUND IT! MY 1965 JOE CHRISTOPHER BASEBALL CARD!

Tomorrow my daughter will celebrate her eleventh birthday so when I asked what would be the best present she could get on this eventful day her answer was “FOR YOU TO GET THOSE STUPID BASEBALL CARDS OUT OF MY CLOSET DADDY”.  Ah…. that disposition, she is surely daddy’s little girl. See, before she was born her bedroom was my little man cave. I had sports pictures on the walls, a desk, a tv all the essentials that a man like me needs to sustain life. Then came the day I was handed a couple of quarts of Benjamin Moore pink paint and a brush and told take down Tom Seaver’s picture and that huge team picture of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion NY Rangers and those plaques of the ’69 and ’86 Mets and that poster of Lawrence Taylor and move it down to the basement (it wasn’t until I was banished underground that I started blogging so I guess I fit the stereotype of bloggers in the basement except I own the basement and I wear pants most days) and turn this room into Eloise’s suite at the Plaza.

So today I will be going through boxes and boxes of baseball cards and copies of old Street and Smith Baseball Yearbooks, Who’s Who in Baseball books and about forty years worth of Baseball Digests and not to mention the long ago “Baseball Stars of the 1960’s” books I bought a the book fairs every year while attending P.S. 105. There is also a  CB Radio in that closet along with a collection of baseball caps, jerseys, roller skates, hockey sticks and I think a pair of boxing gloves.  I know for a fact there is a storage bin in the back of this closet that holds such treasures as a copy of the NY Daily News from the first moon landing and the 1969 World Series edition.  If you are old enough to remember, the Daily News even ran a color front page in 1969 which was revolutionary technology back then, not for the moon landing but to honor the Mets.   I also think I will discover some Bat Day bats from Highlander Stadium and I mean the original seat behind a steel pillar, 76,000 seat, Fred Talbot pitching to Jake Gibbs, ride the Sea Beach to DeKalb Ave to catch the Brighton Line to Highlander Stadium, Bat Day bats.

Now all that memorabilia, a very poor man’s Barry Halper collection, will be relegated to my underground lair, replaced by three pairs of Ugg’s and clothing from Justice (a preteen girls Model’s if you will) and about 20 pairs of shoes, flip flops and sandals.

It will take me hours to complete this mission and I know there will be stern words directed to me as I will go over every card, every score card reliving the games they came from, and wondering what I could get for a Steve Whitaker Bat Day bat on eBay?

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SANDY ALDERSON PART DEUX AND OTHER MINUTIA

How lucky are the NY Highlanders? If it weren’t for Ron Washington not going with his best relievers in Game 1, we could be seeing the Bronx Bastards down 2 games to none and facing Cliff Lee with AJ Burnett  going in a do or die Game 4? Oh well, I’ll be rooting hard for Cliff Lee to continue his magic and I’ll keep my Pete Broberg baseball card close by as well.

As the Phuck Phaces evened their series with the Giants, Phuck Phace Phans celebrated by acting like assholes by beating the shit out of each other. The disturbing part of the video is not the front running drunks acting the way front running drunks do, but check out the guy holding the little girl, now that’s a royal asshole.

Sandy Alderson will be back at $iti Field for a second interview, this time with Freddy Skill Sets and Uncle Saul. I guess Freddy wasn’t kidding about not having and office at $iti since Alderson was there last week and Freddy and Saul couldn’t meet with them then? Freddy and Uncle Saul should demand that Jeffey move all the beer cans and soda bottles he’s collected all season and cash in the nickels so they can have a bit of space for them to call home.

Ok, can we wave the “must interview a minority” rule with the Mets ? The Tigers refused the Mets request to meet with Asst. GM  Al Avila, who by the way has a good rep as a talent evaluator. If any team in baseball has gone above and beyond with minority hires it’s the NY Mets .

Looks as though the Mets and Francisco Rodriguez will avoid speaking to an arbitrator and will settle their contract differences between themselves.  Most likely outcome is Rodriguez will forfeit the cash owed while on restricted list for his full guaranteed contract and his back breaking team option in 2011. That option kicks in if Rodriguez finishes 55 games next season. Let’s see if the new man in charge has the stones tell K-Rod he’s not the closer anymore this way it will be easier to keep him above that 55 game landmark.

Oh I forget, Freddy’s Dead, not our Freddy but Freddy Sez of the Mall of the South Bronx fame. Freddy will be buried in a casket made by T-Fal and the Highlanders will wear frying pan patches on their uniforms. First the Voice of God, then the Bronx Robber Baron and now Freddy, will Freddy’s monument be made out of Teflon?

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TONIGHT AT 7PM THE RETURN OF AMAZIN’ TUESDAYS AT TWO BOOTS TAVERN

Every year the Mets host a welcome home dinner for the club. The dinner is usually held in some high-falutin establishment where folks wear their fancy clothes, eat horses-doovers and are as stiff as M .Donald Grants corpse.

Now I know that is not the place you or I would ever darken a doorway, no for us, real life working men and women Mets fans our Welcome Home Dinner known as AMAZIN’ TUESDAYS is tonight at Two Boots Tavern  at 384 Delancey St on the LES.  For this event the NYC Transit System has provided transportation via the F line to Delancey St or the J, M, or Z line to Essex St and the B or D line to Grand St.

Your host for the evening Mr. Phil Hartman will be on hand to offer you a great exchange program where you give him a baseball card of a Mets player and in turn he buys you a beer. No white wine drinkers here friends!   

The Master of ceremonies for the evening Mr. Greg Prince has a star studded line up of guests to talk Mets baseball on a fine spring evening. The festivities get under way at 7PM, so adorn yourself in your finest Mets threads and join your fellow Mets fans at Two Boots tonight.

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