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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It’s A Nationals Nightmare, The Mets Are Coming To Town

 

I am off on a two week vacation so I thought before I head off, I’d put up a post filled with Mets-nutia and more:

I have wrestled with the notion of should the Mets deal Bobby Parnell and Marlon Byrd, I’m sure the Mets front office has had the same dilemma. I’m enjoying this team right now and the fact that all the Mets-haters look like idiots talking shit about our team. No nothings in the media still make the same old stale jokes about the Mets but throughout the baseball industry, there is a ton of respect for what the Mets are building. How can you mock a team that has Matt Harvey and David Wright as its two big stars? How incredibly stupid do you look questioning the direction of this team when the Mets are the envy of baseball with the stockpile of young pitching in their minor league system? I know it’s hard for many of the numb skulls in the media to comprehend that the Mets have shown improvement and are on the right track to being a winning organization. Smarten up !

With that said, I hope the Mets don’t trade Parnell or Byrd. The time has come where to put an emphasis on winning. The Mets , Phillies and Nationals all have 53 losses . The Phillies and Nats are tied for 2nd place in the NL East with the Mets just 2 games back. Think about that, the Mets are 2 games out of 2nd place. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then you haven’t been a long time Mets fan.

So by the end of this weekend the Mets could be right in back of the Braves for 1st place in the NL East. WOW! Ponder that!

The last team Davey Johnson wanted to see this weekend was the NY Mets. The Nats are 2-8 last 10 and 7-13 in their last 20 and have to face Matt Harvey in tonight’s night cap. Be proud Mets fans be proud!

We have seen the resiliency of this team and the solid camaraderie among the players that has sold me that this team is well worth rooting for. What the off season brings is not for today. It’s nearly August and I’m enjoying watching the NY Mets play baseball, what’s wrong with that?

I hope Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada spend the month of August in Las Vegas. Why bring either player up now? Since both players went down with injury and Eric Young Jr. joined the club, and the bullpen has been solidified,  the team’s been winning. The mantra of the Mets outfield being the worst in baseball has been silenced. In fact, defensively the Mets outfield of EYJ, Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd is a major plus. No way Lucas Duda ever sees LF again, so it’s either 1B, be traded, or stay in LV until September.  

With Tejada, I can see bringing him up in a platoon with Omar Quintanilla but you gets sent down? Having Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andrew Brown on the bench gives Terry Collins a nice late inning lefty/righty option late in games. Josh Satin isn’t even in the thought process of going to LV and Justin Turner is Terry Collins’ pet, so what to do? I say stand pat, platoon Ike and Satin at 1B and live with Turner as the backup shortstop for a month.

The Mets will giveaway Jay Horowitz Bobbleheads on August 23rd when the Detroit Tigers come to town. There will also be a post game concert by 3rd Eye Blind and a portion of the tickets sales will go to Hope Shines For Shannon. Instead of 3rd Eye Blind should the Talking Heads be the band to perform on Jay Horowitz Bobble head Night?

The Mets are also hosting a sleepover at Citi Field on August 10th

 
 
LET’S GO METS!!!

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Suddenly It Feels Like 1968

What’s going on around here? When did the Mets become a resilient team? Is this a flash in the pan or have we reached a point in the season where we thought all was lost but now winning has been found with all are angst to the early part of the season,  were we too blind to see this (Amazin’ Mets how sweet the sound that saved a wretched fan like meeeeeeeeeeeeee……………..)

I’m starting to feel a little bit of a 1968 mojo rising here with the Mets.  6-4 in the last 10 games and winning the last two series against division foes AND bouncing back from late inning loses to win the next game. Usually the walk off loses suffered in Atlanta and Philly would put the Mets in a downward spiral but  the opposite happened.  Don’t tell anyone but that’s what good teams do.

The ’68 vibe comes from the strong personality and even stronger right arm of Matt Harvey. It’s not only the on field presences he has but the legend of Matt Harvey off the field is growing as well. First was the declaration that he was not a fan of the 6 man starting rotation and the tactful way he said it. It’s kind of like when I’m elected to feed our two cats I hate opening up cat food and I make sure everyone in the house knows it but hey, I still feed the little fur balls because they have to eat just like the rest of us. Then there was the Jon Rauch story which was epic and now we have the, I hate the extra day rest and I love the Friday Night Lights of Citi Field   that Harvey let it be known he much rather take on the Nationals this Friday night than Saturday afternoon.  

The Harvey feistiness is starting to rub off on some of the other Mets as well. We have Captain and leading vote getter at 3rd base for the All Star Game David Wright throwing out F-bombs to umpires. We have Jon Niese staring down Terry Collins when he wants the ball to take him out of a game, Juan Lagares in the past week stepping up his game and of course Zack Wheeler turning on the light at the end of the tunnel.    

I really, really don’t like to compare Harvey with Seaver because it’s just not fair to Harvey so soon in his career but he has the same air of confidence that Seaver possessed from the first day he hit NY. First pitch curve for a strike? No problem. Crank a fast ball to triple digits? Watch it wiz by you? Date a super model? Come to #33 baby.  

The best gift Harvey has given Mets fans has been giving us our swagger back on days he pitches. Think about it, the Mets, the lowly, broke ass, can’t get out their way New York Mets, on the day Matt Harvey pitches can compete as equals with or are better in every game that he starts. You want match your Ace with ours, no problem bring it on. You want to match your starter in the back of your rotation with Harvey and the Mets, as Mike Francesa would say “YA BRINGIN’ UH PEESHOOTAH TOA GUN FIGHT”     

 

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Even David Wright Has Enough Of The All-Star Hype

It’s bad enough that the Mets embarrass David Wright by surrounding him with seven Schmohawks every game they now decide that wasn’t enough so they go and embarrass him off the field as well.

Some deep thinker in the marketing department thought it was a good idea to contact a dating site that caters to middle aged women looking to hook up with much younger men to help get David Wright voted in to the starting third base spot for the All-Star Game.  Thankfully an adult in the Mets marketing office got wind of this and put the kibosh on it. In fact Wright himself has told the club to cease and desist with the Vote Wright over done campaign.  What started out as a fun thing to get Mets fans to vote Wright in as an All-Star starter has turned into an embarrassment. That’s so Mets.

The Mets have a bad case of SF Giants envy. They can’t understand how Giants fans turn out the vote for Pablo “Panda” Sandoval. Well, first it helps to have won a couple of World Series Championships In the last few years, especially last year. It helps to play in a ball park that’s full  of fans and a gameday staff that wants you to  have the best time ever and it helps to have a very bright an progressive marketing staff that knows its fan base and its community.

The Giants were first major league sports team to make a It Gets Better video to help gay lesbian and transgender teens know that life is worth living and not to give in to bullies and haters. The Mets gave lip service to the idea of making a similar video, its two years now and still no video.

The Giants also put out some of the best TV commercial to sell their team and tickets as well   

When you have a team that is underperforming on the field and not drawing anyone to your ballpark you need to get creative and find ways to make it worth someone’s while to come to Citi Field. Catering to middle aged women looking for a boy toy is not the way to go about it.

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Take Note: Mets v. Phillies 2 Night at CBP

Some interesting information in today’s Mets game notes from Citizens Bank Ball Park as the Mets  take on the Phillies for the first time this season.

The Mets hit the road for the first time in 2013 and this trip is tied for the second longest of the season. The Mets will stay in Philly for three games then off to the Twin Cities for three weekend games and then off to Colorado for four games. Hope the equipment guys packed the long underwear, ski hats and snow shoes.

Yesterday’s come from behind walk off win was the Mets 3 of their 4 wins of one run. Last year the Mets were 20-22 in one run games. Hopefully they will do much better than that make this year.

The Mets have hit 6 home runs in their first 6 games. The 1962 hit home runs in their first 7 games so take that for what it’s worth.

The strikeout machine known as Matt Harvey takes the mound for the Mets tonight. In his first 11 starts with the Mets Harvey has K’d 10 batters or more 3 times. Only Dwight Gooden has been better than Harvey in the K Korner with 4 games out of 11 with 10+ punch outs.

David Wright LOVE hitting at CBP in fact Wright has the most home runs hit by any visiting player with 16 dingers in 74 games.

The starting pitching enjoyed a great first week of the season posting a 1.98 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched.

Outstanding effort by the Mets bullpen yesterday left the fire brigade with a 3.57 ERA which puts them right in the middle of the back of big league bullpens.

Congratulations to Scott Rice, after 14 years of awful bus trips, Rice got his first major league win yesterday!

Let’s hope the broken down velocity down more fly balls allowed Roy Halladay shows up tonight and not the 7-0 1.78 EAR vs. the Mets since he joined the Phillies Roy Halladay.

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Hey Jordany, Smarten Up!

Yes it was an ugly loss last night but not ugly enough to throw up your hands just yet Mets fans.  I will say though, it would be a huge boost to the Mets and the fan base if they take the next two from the Fish. Some more about last night:

Hats off to Jeremy Hefner as he continued with the parade of solid starting pitching the Mets have gotten so far this week. Hefner showed nice command of his fastball and slider, keeping the ball down in the zone as well. He threw a lot of pitches in the 2nd and 3rd innings (49 total) but all he gave up was solo home run to Greg Dobbs.

Jordany Valdespin will drive us crazy all year. As good an offensive player as he is JV1 has absolutely no baseball instincts.  The 3rd inning brought it all into perspective. From be too far off the bag at 1st on Daniel Murphy’s soft liner to short that the throw to pick him at first base caught his bicep to then getting picked off at first with David Wright up and before a pitch could be thrown to Wright. MY GOD!

SNY cameras caught a great scene in the dugout after JV1 got picked off. He retreated to the corner of the dugout both to stay out of ear shot of Terry Collins and because is arm was hurting. That didn’t stop John Buck from coming over to him to give some “advice”. The funniest part of the exchange was Buck cornered Valdespin so there was no place for him to go until Buck was done “talking” to him.

I don’t know what you expect from Lucas Duda in left field. He’s not an outfielder; he’s a first baseman/DH and at some point Sandy Alderson is going to have a make a decision on what to do with Duda.

Don’t panic about Ike

As you know I’m not a fan of Ruben Tejada and with the scuttlebutt that it was thisclose as to who went to Vegas him or Omar Ouintanilla, I agree with what Bobby Ojeda said on the post-game show  as much as you can play your way on to a team, you can play your way off a team. The only way Tejada keeps his job is with his bat and his glove and range at short are subpar.

Not a great night for Greg Burke, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins to say the least.  

Got to take the next two from the Fish. Got to

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NY Mets Notes for 4-1-13

A few Opening Day notes form the NY Mets:

Last Met to hit a leadoff home run on opening day was Kaz Matsui on 4-6-04 at Turner Field

In the history of MLB the NY Mets have the best opening day winning percentage of all time at .647 (33-18)

David Wright has had at least one hit in every opening day game he’s played in for the Mets since his debut in 2005

There has been only one Mets Grand Slam hit on opening day and that was by Todd Hundley in Colorado on 4-26-1995

Happy Birthday to Daniel Murphy (#Imwith28 who turns 28) and Rusty Staub (Le Grand Orange) who turns 69 years old and will throw out the first pitch of today’s game.

The Mets will honor the first responders who did outstanding work during Hurricane Sandy.

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Hey Mets, What’s Shakin’

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I’m not a fan of the Harlem Shake by any stretch but this version that the Mets have put together is a howl.

I’m really enjoying this Spring of Jay but I’m just afraid that the next wacky event he’ll be a part of is marrying a Kardashian

Good to see Andy Martino has the pulse of the Mets clubhouse, the players really seems to hate each other, especially David Wright and LaTroy Hawkins both guys need to lighten up.

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The Spring of The Mets Fans Discontent

This has got to be the most ho-hum spring training I’ve experienced as a Mets fan in a long long time.  I guess with the exception of Matt Harvey and to an extent Collin Cowgill have made me sit up and take notice. It seems as if jobs are being given to players not on merit but because they are best of a mediocre at best lot. In fact let’s look at who’s who on this team that should head North in 9 days:

Ike Davis-Will this be the Summer of Ike? Is this THE breakout season we’ve been waiting for from the talented first baseman? Can he give us that 30 HR 100 RBI season we’ve dreamed of? I sure hope so.

Daniel Murphy-hard not to root for Murph. He gives you an honest effort every time out and while he’s not a home run hitter his 40 doubles is a-ok. Since Murph is not a home run hitter he needs to get on base more so his walk total needs to improve. Love to see him get that OBA back up to the .360 or better. Since he turns 28 (and on the DL) on opening day this is the season Murphy needs to make his mark to stay a Met .

Ruben Tejada-This may be one of those “it’s not you it’s me” situations when it comes to Tejada as he doesn’t stoke my excitement when I watch him play. He can’t lead off since he doesn’t get on base enough and his defense is acceptable. I hope he gains a little toughness this season and learns the difference between being hurt and being injured. I can’t wait for the Gavin Cecchini Era.

David Wright-So the organization decided to name David Wright Captain. This is the equivalent of turning on a facet and seeing water come out. Wright has gone above and beyond for this organization from the first day he arrived in Flushing.  The one player on the roster that Mets have no worries that he will produce.

Justin Turner-Like Billy Martin was Casey Stengel’s boy, Turner is Terry Collins boy

Jordany Vladespin-I never thought there was a question about JV1 making the big league team. Now that he has a lock on a roster spot he needs to grow up this year. If you’re going to be a pain in the ass you better be a productive pain in the ass. I think Valdespin will finally realize he needs to man up and will have a solid season as an outfielder/infield fill in.

Brian Bixler-I think he makes the team because of Murphy hitting the DL to start the season. He could make a case to say if he can be a productive right handed bat off the bench

Omar Quintanilia-solid infielder also makes it North  to back up Tejada.

Lucas Duda-Please, please, please let this offensive surge that Duda has had of late carry over into the season. I don’t think it’s an over statement when I say a breakout season at the plate from Duda is the difference from another play out the string season  and being the most interesting Mets season in five years.

Colin Cowgill-Cowgill has done what guys like Cowgill need to do, impress the brass with solid hitting fielding and balls to the wall hustle. He’s not only done that but it looks like he’s won the right handed hitting spot of the center field job (JV1 or MDD the left handed hitting spot) and looks like he will be a Citi Field fav.

Matt Den Dekker/Mike Baxter-Already a first class defender, question is will his bat be potent enough to keep him in the line up? Kirk Nieuwenhuis injury open the door for MDD that and the dearth of outfield completion in this spring camp as well. Baxter has had a dreadful spring it will interest to see if he stays and MDD goes to LV which is a distinct possibility since MDD has options and Baxter doesn’t.

John Buck-number one catcher for now as Buck holds the spot for Travis d’Arnaud. Buck seems to have meshed well with the pitching staff this spring and he does hit home runs and is an obvious upgrade over the woeful backstops of last year.  Once d’Arnaud  comes up to the team he and Buck will form a catching tandem that will be one of the Mets strengths after years of being a major liability.

Anthony Recker-I’ve got nothing

 

Jon Niese-Congratualtion on the opening day start. As good as Niese is this will probably be the first and last OD start of his Mets career.  That’s not a knock on Niese it just shows that the Mets will have 3 top flight pitchers leading them to years to come with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Niese gets the nod as Johan Santana will start the season on the DL and I’ve already placed Santana in my mind as a former Met.

Matt Harvey-Harvey’ starts will be must see events. Looks like the total package a physical specimen and tough as nails mentality. Could there be a wine vineyard in his future?

Dillon Gee-good solid 3-4 starter who looks to be recovered for blood clot in his arm he suffered from last year. Gee if 100% should give the Mets hopefully he stays sound, them 190+ innings pitched

Jeremy Hefner-good guy to root for as he’s one of these bang around the bushes type that realizes how lucky he is to make a big league start.  Just needs to be serviceable to be an asset.

Shaun Marcum-what can we expect from Marcum? He’s got a sore shoulder which he claims is not a big deal, nothing a little cortisone can’t cure.  Let’s hope the Mets get 2011 Shaun Marcum and not 2012’s version.

Bobby Parnell-Meet the new closer. With Frank Francisco on the DL Parnell gets another shot of closing out games for the Mets. I hope he succeeds and I hope he has found that sumthin’ sumthin” that all successful closers have.

Brandon Lyon-solid pick up for the Mets as Lyon has closed and should be perfect set-up man for Parnell.  No secret the bullpen was the major reason for the awful season the Mets had last year. Last year’s pen was right at the bottom of every stat there was for pitching and who knows, if they were a middle of the road pen maybe Mets fans wouldn’t have the miserable attitude they have towards this team.

Scott Atchinson-As Collin Cowgill will be the position player fan favorite, Atchinson could be the pitching fan favorite. When was the last time the Mets fan embraced a reliever? Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell???? If Atchinson can duplicate his 80 % stranded base runner rate this season, this team could have a better result than we all expect.

Josh Edgin-needs to get batters to chase that slider out of the strike zone and get that LOB% to at least 75% to become more than a LOOGY

Robert Carson/Pedro Feliciano –one of them is making this team as Terry Collins has stated he will go with two lefties in the pen. Feliciano hasn’t pitched in year and Mets have to make decision to either keep him or pay him $100K to take a trip to Vegas, which could be the move allowing Carson to make it North as the LOOGY.

LaTroy Hawkins-here for veteran leadership and direction to his pen mates

Greg Burke-got to love a guy who pitches from the land down under.

There is more pessimism with this Mets team for the coming season than I’ve seen in a long time. The 2013 Mets are far, far from being one of the worst I’ve ever seen; the Joe Torre years of the late 70’s still give me night sweats.  Those teams were not just a disaster but the whole organization was in a downward spiral. Sure The Skill Sets money woes are still prevalent but at least there is some serious talent on the horizon.

Two things will make this season better than you and I think it will be. The bullpen has to become a strength and the corners have to produce some power. If that happens this summer will be much better that we all think it’ll be. YA GOTTA BELIEVE! I guess.

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Spring Traning Roster Lag

 

It seems as if we are getting close to hitting the wall of the 2013 spring training marathon. Due to the World Baseball Classic, spring training started earlier than usual and the writers and bloggers covering the training camp are starting to drone on. So I thought maybe this is good time to take a look at how the 25 man roster of the Mets is shaping up:

Pitchers

(Starters)

Jon Niese

Matt Harvey

Dillon Gee

Shaun Marcum

Jeremy Hefner

 

I don’t think anyone is looking at Johan Santana starting the season at Citi Field, which is fine with me. This should be the season we see Jon Niese make the next step as a starter. Niese has improved every year he’s been up in the bigs and he looks to have shed the conditioning and stamina problems he’s had in the past. It also helps when you have two studs like Harvey and Zack Wheeler as teammates as well pushing you to keep pace.

 

Bullpen

Bobby Parnell

Brandon Lyon

Josh Edgin

Scott Atchinson

LaTroy Hawkins

Pedro Felicano

 

Those six barring injury look like they will be lined up on the first base line of Citi Field on April 1st. That would leave one spot left. Will Frank Francisco be ready for opening day? That’s a big question mark. So who would get the last spot in the pen? It could go to Collin McHugh even though he really doesn’t excite anyone when he’s on the mound.  Jeurys Familia would have to step it up in the next few weeks to stick as well. Even with a small sample size it would seem that Greg Burke would grab that last spot in the pen.  

 

Infielders

 

Ike Davis

Daniel Murphy

Ruben Tejada

David Wright

Justin Turner

 

The last infield spot could come down to Brian Bixler, Brandon Hicks, Zack Lutz and Josh Satin. Jordany Valdespin will most likely make the team as a hybrid Inf/Of.  Hicks, Lutz and Satin have shown some power in the minors and all hit from the right side. It will come down to the wire as to who becomes the 25th man on the Mets roster.

 

Outfield

 

Lucas Duda

Collin Cowgill

Marlon Byrd

Mike Baxter

 

Again Valdespin works his way here as the righty caddy for Duda and also as a fill in at 2nd base for Murph. Kirk Nieuwenhuis deep bruise of his knee hurts in more ways than one and Matt Den Dekker is the best defensive outfielder in camp but his bat is still under construction. We’ve beaten this outfield topic to death but a big question is, as bad as this outfield looks now, what happens if one or two of these guys go down with injury??? GULP!!!!!

 

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Tickets

The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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