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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OHHHHHHHHHHH DOCTOR!

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Cheap trick – i want you to want me by la_shivi>

 

Seems the Mets can’t even get through a choose up game without controversy.  It was reported that Scott Hairston has re-aggravated the left oblique muscle that knock him out for the last month of last  season. We also found out that David Wright will be held out of spring games until Wednesday the earliest with a tweak of his left rib cage, LHP Robert Carson had an injection to ease the pain of an injury to his intercostal muscle and then the news broke that Ike Davis has/hasn’t Valley Fever. Whew! I need two Tylenol just typing that out.

The reaction to Ike’s illness was a bit over the top as the blood test he took in Manhattan last week showed no sign of the disease but a Mets doctor felt he had the symptoms of Valley Fever. Ike says he feels great and doesn’t think this is a big deal, if he feels fatigued he will let Terry Collins know and take a day off if he needs it. Right now he says he doesn’t so we move on. One thing though, Sandy Alderson has to be a wee bit concerned if Ike has to take a day or two off a week if this illness is more than we think and having Justin Turner as Ike’s caddy at first base just won’t cut it.

Whenever I hear of a Mets players going down with a muscle pull or tightness, I get very Jerry Seinfled-ian and clinch my face and fist and yell out “RAMIREZ”!!!! as in Ray Ramirez, the Mets head trainer.

Three players, three muscle strains one of which was suffered last year, has to bring up a red flag about this training staff and it’s head guy Ray Ramirez.  I have no idea why the three have suffered muscle problems this early in spring but if I were the GM, I’d have my head trainer in my office first thing in the morning and he better have a damn good explanation for why this happened.

Mets single game tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10AM and this season it seems the Mets will have a Concert Series after some games.

The first of the series kicks off June 15th with REO Speedwagon. Back in the day we referred to bands like this as “milk and cookie” bands just too sweet and safe for our musical taste and quite frankly they are still too sweet for my taste.

Now the second concert will feature Cheap Trick who I did like way back when. They always put on a good show as Rick Nielsen was very entertaining with his various axes and Robin Zander’ vocals were just near borderline milk and cookies but my favorite band member was Bun E. Carlos on drums. Carlos always had a Charlie Watts vibe about him I thought.  It is kind of sad to see that they have become post game entertainment in the twilight of their careers but its work I guess. This one I will make an effort to attend.

Mercy Me is the name of the third band and they will play on August 10th after the Mets-Braves game. I had never heard of this band and when I found out they are a Christian Rock band I knew why I had never heard of them.

You don’t really need Newsday to tell us that the Mets stadium revenues have been sliding every year since Citi Field opened in 2009. All you had to do was go to a game in July and August to see it up close and personal. Many games last year the parking lots there were so many spots that you could take up four of them and no one would complain. Many games I went to in that time span and sat in the Promenade and saw the only food concession open were the ones in the Promenade food court. Even if you didn’t come out to Citi Field and just watched on TV you saw all the seats behind home plate from dugout to dugout lacking ass’ in them.

But don’t worry Freddy and his Fins say, it’s all good.

 

 

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FINALLY, PLAYING LIKE MEN

When it came time to step up, John Maine did just that. Or maybe it was the fear of seeing Jerry Manuel yank Ollie Perez after 3.2 innings that scared Maine straight or should I say scared the movement out him as Maine, still unable to hit 90 mph on the radar gun with his fastball, had his fastball dancing like Bo jangles Robinson. It was a fine piece of pitching by Maine.

I’m sure we can all agree that it’s “the pitching stupid” that has set off this Mets revival, but don’t overlook the aggressive way the team plays on defense and on the bases. The team is starting to figure out how to use the vast gaps of the $iti Field outfield. The players have adopted this terrific bust your ass attitude when it comes to base running. Balls hit in the gap are not taken for granted as before. How many times last year did we see Mets batters hit one to gap and watch them jog into second base? Now the mindset is go for three. This might backfire once in a awhile but most times this aggressive type of base running will pay great dividends. At least once this year, Frenchy will throw someone out on at 1st base on one hopper to RF.

I will concede that Daniel Murphy’ days as Mets first base man are over. But what has me pissed is Mets fans acting like Murphy is a leper. When Ty Wigington was a Met he was a folk hero and Murphy is cut from the same blue collar cloth as Wiggy. When he gets healthy, Murphy will play in some extended spring games and then do some rehab games at Bingo or Buffalo. I would think the plan is to make Murphy into a super sub where he can fill in at LF, or 2nd, 3rd or 1B. Yes I know Murphy was awful in left field but working in the minors and with the work ethic he has I’m sure he could become serviceable in the outfield. I guess all you Murphy haters enjoy watching Frank Catalanotto.

Remember Mike Bacsik who pitched for the Mets back in 2001-2002 ? Bacsik came to the Mets as part of the Robbie Alomar deal with the Indians. Bacsik had a nondescript career with the Mets and his claim to fame up until a few days ago was giving up Barry Bonds 756th home run. I saw Bacisk’ name on Twitter so I started following him and found out that he was a sportstalk radio host and show producer, was is the key word as Bacsik was canned from his job at KTCK in Dallas. Bacsik lost his job due to his rants on his private Twitter page during the Mavs-Spurs game the other night. I saw some of Bacsik’ Tweets that night and they were quite amusing especially his complaints about the officiating of the Mavs-Spurs playoff series in which he Tweeted about NBA Commish David Stern and his refs sucking. It was when Bacsik Tweeted about the “dirty Mexicans” in San Antonio that he got his ass in a sling. Bacsik claims he was at a bar and drinking heavily while watching the game and Tweeting. So if anything Bacsik is guilty of TUI, Tweeting Under the Influence. Bacsik is hoping to get his job back though by playing the Rickey Bobby card, asking the little baby Jesus for forgiveness.

The Mets and NY Water Taxi have brought back the service to $iti Field after a one year hiatus. This was my favorite mode of transportation to Shea. It took a bit longer than by car but it was much more enjoyable. When I saw they were bringing the service back and it was free I was jumping for joy but then I read the fine print, the boat is a one way trip. Why? The best part of the ride was the return trip. You could sit outside have a cold drink and just chill. My guess is the free one way trip is a way to gauge interest in fans taking the water taxi to the game and maybe after a few trips one way and having to fight the crowds of the 7 train back to the city, fans will clamor for round trip service and not mind paying a fee. I hope it happens as I’d be a frequent sailor.

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IF YOU STAYED IN A HOLLIDAY INN LAST NIGHT, COULD YOU PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT JOSE REYES LEG?

You think J-Man was doing a rain dance yesterday? If a team ever needed time to step back and access itself it’s the Mets. The good news yesterday was Carlos Beltran abdicating the porcelain throne to going back to being the everyday centerfielder. The bad news was Jose Reyes took himself out of an extended spring game (how long are these extended spring games and who plays in them besides the handicapped major leaguer ?)

 

Then to top of the day, the Atlanta Braves send a message that they ain’t going anywhere by pulling off a deal for Nate McClouth and telling Titan Tom Glavine to go home and make brownies.

 

The Reyes situation is a puzzling. I never question a guy who says he’s hurt but at some point, which hopefully is today when Reyes comes back to NY to see the quacks, a determination needs to be made on how this injury affects the team for the rest of the season. If this is going to be a chronic problem all season, then I’d expect Omar to quietly but out feelers for a shortstop (Miguel Tejda?) who is major league caliber. It’s ok that Omar has found some putty players like Wilson Valdez, Ramon Martinez, and Angel Pagan (before his yearly injury) but the fairy dust wears off quick with players like this. The Braves see this and look at the NL East landscape and say why not us? So out goes Titan Tom Glavine and in comes the young stud Tommy Hanson. As for us? Welcome the newest dumpster dive prize, Emil Brown.

 

Heads up news from upstate, top prospects RHP’s Bradley Holt and Jennry Meija have been promotes to Bingo and both will start this weekend. Keep you eye on Holt as he may just bypass Buffalo and go right to Flushing to offset the suckitude of Tim Redding.

 

Tonight on PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL we will discuss today’s Mets-Bucos game, the injury epidemic with the Mets and a look around the minor league system. We will be joined by Bert Sugar, who will be talking about his new book, Bert Sugar’s Baseball Hall of Fame: A Living History of America’s Greatest Game, (Running Press) You can listen live at Blog Talk Radio or listen to the podcast at PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL.   

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