One thing that has impressed me so far about manager Terry Collins has been his decisiveness.
I liked how he put a timetable on the Carlos Beltran-Angel Pagan situation, although Beltran diffused it by making the switch on his own before it became a distraction. He’s also done the same thing with second base, saying he’d like to make a decision by the middle of the month. Look for Justin Turner to be one of the first roster cuts because he has remaining options. That will give more at-bats to Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Luis Castillo.
Word is Oliver Perez was on his way out, but likely delayed the inevitable with his strong outing the other day. Those scoreless innings bought Perez another appearance or two, although his chances of making the roster are out of the bullpen and not the rotation.
The Mets are a team in transition and didn’t bring a lot of bodies to camp. That Collins wants to define his roster quickly is a good decision. I like his no-nonsense, business-first approach. It is something this team has lacked.
F. WILPON: There's a Ponzi connection to the field.
Some have suggested the product on the field has not yet been impacted by the Ponzi scheme, but that is hardly close to the truth. In fact, much of what the Mets are doing with their team is directly resulted in the fallout from the Madoff situation.
There were rumblings of the Wilpons being in financial straits for over a year now, with a clear sign last July at the trade deadline when the Mets, within striking distance of the wild card, stood pat and did nothing to improve their club. It takes money to win and the Mets added no significant payroll at a time when they could have improved their team and made a change in the attitude at Citi Field.
A second clear sign – although we didn’t learn of this until recently – was receiving a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball at the end of last season. This is a team, despite a new stadium, that was beginning to swim in debt. If we had known it then, we could have been spared the off-season angst of them not doing anything in the winter.
Sign three, and very significant, was the hiring of general manager Sandy Alderson at MLB’s urging. Commissioner Bud Selig took a proactive approach in getting Alderson hired by the Wilpon’s, perhaps in large part, to be a caretaker for the franchise as it explores minority ownership investors and later a possible sale.
PEREZ: Still holding on.
OK, Oliver Perez was dreadful in his first spring training appearance, but don’t expect the Mets to cut him loose already, despite what most fans might want.
Nobody gets demoted or cut after one appearance, especially somebody who is scheduled to make $12 million this season. Nor should he be.
As much as Perez wants to make the team as a starter, his best chance – slim as it is – will be coming out of the bullpen. The Mets will run Perez out there several more times and won’t make a decision until they are absolutely sure he w0n’t make the team.
That means they could keep him late until March. The Mets’ hope is, as far-fetched as it is, will be for Perez to turn it around to the point where he could attract interest. That’s not likely to happen because a team won’t give up something if it believes Perez will eventually be waived.
As tight as the Mets’ money situation is, they are obligated to pay Perez $12 million this season and are hoping the long shot comes through and he’ll be able to contribute something. I know you’ve heard that before, but nothing has changed, even with that putrid first outing.
BELTRAN: Makes move to right
In the end, Carlos Beltran acted with his head over his heart.
While still believing he could play center field, the 33-year-old Beltran doesn’t think he could play to the level he had grown accustomed to immediately and told manager Terry Collins this morning that it was in the best interest of everybody that he move to right field now and let Angel Pagan play center.
Beltran said he wanted to make the switch now because of his knees, although Collins was prepared to give the veteran until the middle of the month to see if he can still play center.
“I have to think about my health and how to be in the field for the team,’’ Beltran told reporters this morning in Port St. Lucie. “ I believe the best decision is for me to play right field. It’s going to be less active, and I am looking forward to saving my knees for the long run.
“I know if I am healthy and I can play more time in the field, I can help this team offensively, even in the outfield. I know it will be a different transition for me to make but I feel I will be able to go to that.’’
Don’t read too much from the early glowing reports about Ruben Tejada swinging the bat well in Port St. Lucie. Don’t forget, until now it has simply been batting practice. Today, it will be an intrasquad game and then the early days in the exhibition schedule.
Of course, it is better than him not hitting.
The Mets have four second base candidates, with the speculated platoon of Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus each starting today. Then there is Luis Castillo and Justin Turner, the latter with two options remaining which makes him the odd-man out.
Regarding Tejada, the plans are for him to play shortstop at Triple-A Buffalo. With the Mets having other second base options, that’s important because of the uncertainty regarding Jose Reyes’ future.
If the Mets sign Reyes to an extension, then Tejada could move to second if the others flame out or he could be used in a trade. If Reyes leaves, then it is important to have a ready alternative.
TODAY’S PITCHERS: Josh Stinson and D.J. Carrasco will be the respective starters, followed by: Taylor Tankersley, Mike O’Connor, Manny Alvarez, Tim Byrdak, Ryota Igarashi and Blaine Boyer.