Allright back to blogging after a weekend of freezing my ass off on a camping trip in Northern New Jersey. I spent the weekend with my son and his Boy Scout Troop at Camp No-Be Bosco in NJ, if it wasn’t bad enough the woods were snow covered, the temps were in the mid-teens on Friday night and Saturday morning, but I have to admit this was what we call “fat-ass camping” we slept in cabins with propane heat but still, we did a 5 mile hike into the mountains which was nice until we discovered a couple of huge bear paw prints. That’s when my bowels started to churn a bit.
Anyway, here it is with opening day just five days away and it feels like football season more than baseball but never the less for us Mets fans Friday night at 7:05pm at “Your Name Here Stadium” in South Florida it will be the start of the Mets 2011 season but between now and Friday the decision makers of the Mets have some tough roster moves to make.
The starting eight look set now that Carlos Beltran is confident he will be good to go on opening day. Day two of the season he may not be and that looks to be how Beltran’s season will go. He is not an everyday player any longer. If he plays two or three games in a row we will surely need a day off to rest his hurting knees. That would make Scott Hairston or Willie Harris, Beltran’ caddy. Hairston has some power but he hasn’t played much right field so this could be problem if Beltran’s knee woes become chronic. Harris fits the bill defensively (as we Mets fans know too well) and he has that nice OBP that’s all the rage in Metsville. Depending on the pitcher the day Terry Collins will need an understudy will determine if Hairston (bats right) or Harris (bats left) gets the nod.
The four everyday infielders are set with Brad Emaus taking over second base on a futures bet by the Mets. Emaus didn’t light up spring training but with a big endorsement from J.P. Riccardi, Emaus gets to show his stuff on opening day and beyond, how far beyond will be up to Emaus. The infield bench consists of a no hit (Chin-lung Hu) no glove (Daniel Murphy) and a man of many gloves (Willie Harris who I bet will be the emergency third catcher) and some bat, what this does is it makes Nick Evans an ex-Met, which is kind of sad.
The catcher position is becoming a mess. Josh Thole is the starter but who will back him up? The Mets waited and waited for Rony Paulino knowing he came with some carryon baggage in an 8 game suspension for PED use. He then added another piece of luggage with his visa problems and now he’s added a steamer trunk with news that some blood work that was done on him looks problematic. Mike Nickeas is ok for a week but no way can the Mets go a full season with him as the backup catcher, so if Paulino has an illness the Mets may have to scramble for a backup catcher. Anyone have Bengi Molina’s phone number?
The starting pitching is set, as is 6/7ths of the bullpen, with the competition between Blaine Boyer and the surprising Jason Isringhausen comong down to a last minute decision. Izzy has been a great story this spring and looked to be a lock to win a job until he heard a pop in his elbow and Boyer has been fabulous this spring. As much as the club wants to keep Izzy, the worry is he will breakdown in a month or two, and Boyer has an out in his contract and will scooped up by another team in a heartbeat.
Sandy Alderson admitted during the bloggers conference call that the decision on who gets the last bullpen spot is a very tough call. Izzy brings a battle tested pitcher to the pen and has shown he wants to pass on his knowledge to his mates. It’s really really tough but since the medical staff says it was just some old scar tissue that’s popped and Izzy has returned to pitching and has still been effective, I’d take a shot at keeping him on the 25 man roster.