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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When I’m Told, “Don’t Worry About Johan Santana”, That’s When I Worry About Johan Santana

 

After a hectic weekend I finally have time to gives some thought son the Mets and the beginning of spring training:

Sandy Alderson and Johan Santana can spin his shoulders woes all they want, Santana not being ready to pitch due to fatigue in his shoulder is a red flag. Sure it’s good that there isn’t any structural issue with his left shoulder but the fact that he needs to build up strength in the shoulder is problematic.  I hope the club and Santana use good judgment and work at a pace where Santana is fit to pitch and if it means a stay in extended spring training then so be it. Truth be told, I’d rather see Matt Harvey pitch on opening day any way.

With Daniel Murphy out nursing his sore intercostal muscle the last guy I want see playing 2nd base in his stead is Justin Turner. In a perfect world Reese Havens would get the nod to show what he’s got and remain healthy to take the job form Murph. I like Murph but let’s be honest, if Havens or Jordany Valdespin or Wilmer Flores got the chance to play 2nd base on a daily basis in spring and show themselves capable on offense and more importantly a better choice on defense, then Murphy could be unseated as the everyday 2nd baseman. As much as I like Murphy he shouldn’t be guaranteed an everyday job. So it would be quite interesting to watch someone make it uncomfortable for management to make a decision at 2nd base.

I think I’m going to enjoy baseball more watching Collin Cowgill enjoy himself playing baseball.

Got to feel bad for Pedro Feliciano as he deals with his heart problems. Taking two weeks off and carrying around a heart monitor puts Perpetual Pedro behind the eight ball as he tries to regain his LOOGY role with the Mets since the team is ripe with left handed relievers.

There’s comedy and then there is high comedy. High comedy is reading my Twitter timeline as Lucas Duda was striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out and striking out

Last week I went to buy a new dishwasher for my home. I got the dishwasher and another rather unexpected purchase, a new television.  My son persuaded my wife and I into this purchase to replace a projection TV we had for close to sixteen years. So now we have a brand new 60 inch LCD television that has a built in browser and wifi and everything else you can think of, so Saturday being that is was rainy, grey and cold outside what better way to spend the afternoon than to watch Mets spring training baseball.  I made a sandwich, got a cup of coffee and sat down with my feet up in my recliner and sat back to enjoy Mets spring baseball. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! What a wonderful experience, and that’s the problem.

I have loved going to live sporting events since I was six years old. I still get all pumped up going to a ballpark or arena for a sporting event. I love that feeling because it validates that I still have a deep rooting passion for my sports teams. But I have to tell you, with this new TV, I started to wonder, do I need to go to games in person anymore?

Last week I went to Madison Square Garden for the first time this season to watch the Rangers take on the Montreal Canadians.  The Garden has gone through its second phase on renovation and it looks a lot different inside. Thankfully the iconic ceiling is still the same but that’s about it. The Green Seats and Blue Seat section have been combined into one big sloping seating area. The only nostalgic feature left in the arena is the narrow seats and sparse leg space and the long bathroom and concession lines. It was while I waited on the men’s room line that I kept thinking if I were home I’d be able to watch something else other than this dog of a game plus I could grab a snack without waiting and use a clean bathroom.

This is a new phenomenon to me because there has never been any doubt about watching a sporting event in person or staying home to watch on TV as I always felt being at the event always enhanced the experience of watching a game. Damn you 60 inches of LCD gorgeousness, why must you put these bad thoughts in my head.

If you ever doubted that Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Kevin Burkhardt are the best sports broadcasting team in all of sports broadcasting, just take a look at Saturday’s Mets-Nat SNY broadcast of last Saturday.  The Four-some picked up right where they left off at the end of last season. There is chemistry with this group that no other announcing team has and they make watching Mets baseball that much more enjoyable.

I also love having Bob Ojeda sitting behind the plate give pitching play by play. Can we see that during the regular season as well? Please SNY?

 

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SAVE THE CHILDREN

I don’t know who I’m sick of hearing about more LeBron James or Cliff Lee? In Lee’s defense, it’s not his fault as he is no where near a self promoting Ring Leader of a media circus, that LBJ is. As much as Cliff Lee would be an injection of adrenaline to both the Mets pitching staff and it’s fan base, I feel the price for Lee will be too expensive for the Mets. Not monetarily but player wise.

I am enjoying watching the Mets this season unlike any Mets team that’s been assembled since 2006. I love watching a home grown infield and the fact that Angel Pagan a one time farm hand that returned home, and is playing All-Star caliber baseball. On the pitching side, how nice is it to see Mike Pelfrey grow up before our eyes, his lasted slump not withstanding? Jon Niese also pitching better than his scouting reports said he would.  Even Bobby Parnell coming back from a trip to Buffalo looks more grown up on the mound as well. It makes rooting for this team much more fun than when the roster is constructed of mainly mercenaries. That’s why I hope Cliff Lee goes to the Twins or Rays.

I’m sure some of you think that’s very short sighted of me to feel like that way and you may be right, maybe Josh Thole, Wilmer Flores and Jenry Mejia (the three players it would take to land Lee) never flourish in the big leagues and I know some say don’t fall in love with prospects but I guess I’m smitten by the Mets farmhands. I see Ike Davis and Jon Niese making a strong case for Rookie of Year and Ruben Tejada and his supersonic range at 2nd base (not even his natural position) and then Josh Thole comes up and shows a productive bat (his at bats against the Second Coming of Christ a/k/a Stephen Strasburg have raised Thole stock even higher) and his handling of R.A. Dickey and his magical knuckle ball has him pushing Rod Barajas for playing time.  Then there is the financial situation of the team.

This is the great mystery that surrounds this franchise. Are the Mets broke, solvent or just keeping their heads above water? No one knows. I don’t think the Skill Sets are a bunch of brokesters but they’re not exactly livin’ large either. So even if you trade your fine farm fresh products for Cliff Lee, what’s the odds you’re going to sign him long term? Not very good if you ask me.

That’s why Ted Lilly makes the most sense to try to acquire. I’m sure the Cubs would take F-Mart and a minor league pitcher of lesser renown for Lilly.

Lilly is a perfect Citi Field pitcher as he is an extreme fly ball pitcher. His velocity has been down early in the season but like Johan Santana he is coming off injury and little by little getting some speed back on his fastball that in the second half of the season should benefit him by making his change up more effective. A rotation of Santana, Big Pelf, Lilly, Neise and Dickey looks very solid to me.

Sure Cliff Lee would be a huge score but I don’t want to pay the high price in kids. Get Lilly and a reliever either Chad Qualls or Matt Lindstrom and take your shot.

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“HELLO, YOU HAVE REACHED THE SUICIDE HOT LINE. IF YOU ARE A METS FAN, WE’RE SORRY, REST IN PEACE”

I’m still numb from reading this last night via Jon Heyman:

 

Toronto’s request of the Mets for star pitcher Roy Halladay was for top outfield prospect Fernando Martinez, young pitchers Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese and shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada, sources tell SI.com.

 

The Mets responded with a resounding no.

 

 I don’t know what is more stunning that J.P. Ricciardi would take a player plagued by so many injuries he has a handicap plate on his two wheeler, a dime a dozen reliever, a LHP who could be a back end starter maybe, and a teenager for one of the premier starting pitchers in all of baseball or that the Omar Minaya TURNED THIS DEAL DOWN!!!! Well Omar turning down the deal is not stunning in fact (that’s scary) but Ricciardi even offering that to the Mets? Does he hate being with the Blue Jays that much? Is there a secret pact with Minaya to hire Ricciardi as Tony B’s seat filler at $iti Field next year?

 

Ricciardi didn’t even ask for the best prospects the Mets own in Brad Holt, Wilmer Flores, or Jenrry Mejja. 

 

Then after the reports of Minaya turning down this offer Omar holds a news conference during last night’s game that he and J-Man are safe and sound in their jobs.

 

I will now douse myself in gasoline and light my sorry ass on fire.

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG, BABY!!

 

 

Just a couple of items before I head out for the day to enjoy the 65 degree day today in NYC, so with Roy Orbison’ Black and White Night coming through my headphones let’s look at some Mets scuttlebutt:

Looks all the angst over Johan Santana’ elbow was wasted energy by the media and fan base as Santana threw another BP session today and looked sharp and looks to be on track for opening day in Cincinnati:

“I feel pretty good,” Santana said. “I don’t see any reasons why I would not be ready for it. We have been working out, getting everything in the right way, right track, and I don’t think there will be any problems.”

David Lennon watch the session closely:

Of his 36 pitches, Santana threw 22 strikes. He got six swings and misses, with five of them coming on change-up. Even when his change-up was high in the strike zone — a dangerous spot — the group of Mackowiak, Nick Evans, Rene Rivera and Cory Sullivan couldn’t touch it.

Jose Reyes is riding the pine in today’s WB (S) C game between the D.R and the Flyin Dutchmen. Have I told you how much I hate the WBC?

Bye-bye Dirty Duaner? Could be since the Mets came save some coin by dropping him by April 1. Add in the fact he has not been the same Dirty Duaner since his infamous Rice and Beans run car crash in South Beach as he still can’t hit 90 on the JUGGS , it could be the end of the line for Sanchez as a Met

The more you look at the fight for the 5th spot in the Mets rotation the more I won’t be surprised if Petey signs with the Mets after the WBC

Wilmer Flores parents have submitted a permission slip to Jerry Manuel so Flores will play shortstop today against the Nationals (1PM Ch. 11) Flores was spotted in the clubhouse this morning with his Menudo lunch box and baseball shoes that light up when he runs (ahhhhhhhhh how cute)

not a good song a GREAT song by Roy Orbison watch the video here.

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