Mar 23

Plan for Beltran; Emaus inside track at second.

Although not definitive, the Mets’ roster is taking shape as spring training approaches.

The Mets remain insistent Carlos Beltran will be ready for Opening Day and are pushing him, although they aren’t likely to play him in a major league game in case things unravel and he’ll be forced to open on the disabled list.

EMAUS: Second base frontrunner.

Beltran was hitless in five at-bats today as a DH in a minor league game. He will play as a DH tomorrow and Friday, but possibly this weekend he could play in the field and run the bases.

Possibly.

“I do think it is fair to say at this point there’s not a lot of wiggle room in that schedule between now and Opening Day if he’s going to be on the active roster,’’ GM Sandy Alderson said. “As of this point he’s still on track for Opening Day.’’

DL assignments are backdated 10 days into spring training, so if things stand as they are and Beltran were to only play in minor league games he would only miss the first three games of the season (the Mets have two off days among the first five games).

Assuming this plan works out, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, the outfield depth, will right field. Should Beltran land on the DL, Lucas Duda will be the 25th man on the roster.

Today, Alderson told reporters to take a look at today’s lineup card and use their imagination. Standing out was Brad Emaus at second base and Daniel Murphy at third.

Emaus, a Rule 5 pick-up from Toronto, has a greater upside than Luis Hernandez, who is out of options and is being shopped because he probably won’t clear waivers. The Mets have a good idea of what to expect from Hernandez, but Emaus has potential working for him.

“I like my chances, but we’re not all the way there,’’ Emaus told reporters this afternoon about his chances.

Murphy started at third today and has been getting time and first and second. He’s the projected left-handed bat off the bench.

Justin Turner, as expected because of his options, was sent down.

Meanwhile, Oliver Perez signed a minor league deal today with the Nationals.

Mar 15

Mets’ second base job still in the air

With two weeks remaining before Opening Day, Luis Hernandez is gaining ground on the second base job.

However, it is premature to say he’s the guy. Rarely are up-in-the-air roster decisions made with this much time remaining in camp. There’s still Brad Emaus and Daniel Murphy, Luis Castillo and Justin Turner.

Turner, because of remaining options will be sent down. That’s logical. Castillo has turned off Terry Collins, but the manager might not have the final decision, especially with a $6 million commitment. Castillo has been playing well offensively, so there’s the outside chance they’ll hold onto him and hope to make an in-season deal. The Mets don’t want to swallow $6 million.

Murphy is having trouble turning the double-play and Emaus is having a slow spring. Still, as a Rule 5 player the Mets do see some potential. What they must decide on is if he fits beyond this season should he stick.

I still think the Murphy-Emaus platoon has a chance, but I’m beginning to wane a little on that stance. What I do know, is Hernandez, despite a solid spring, isn’t running away from things and there’s still time.

Outside of it not being Ruben Tejada, nothing is concrete at second base.

 

Mar 04

Something to like about Collins

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.

Feb 25

Mets intrasquad game focus at second

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.

Feb 23

Mets to consider Murphy/Emaus platoon at second

Just because he hustles doesn’t mean Daniel Murphy will win the second base job. There are concerns about his defensive abilities, and while he has shown glimpses of offensive production, it is still a small window.

MURPHY: Competing for second base job.

The Mets like Rule 5 selection Brad Emaus’ potential, and he’ll get a nod over Justin Turner because the latter has remaining options.

The book on Emaus is he has adequate range and power potential as he hit ten homers in 309 at-bats for Toronto’s Triple A affiliate last summer.

Could he and Murphy share the job in a platoon basis? Absolutely.

Also working in Emaus’ favor is his ability to back up David Wright at third. Murphy, of course, can back up Ike Davis at first, so that platoon offers versatility.

Where does that leave Luis Castillo?

The Mets would love to deal him, but aren’t close to drawing any interest. Reports are Castillo could have reported in better shape, and although he didn’t come to camp early because of a family situation, he didn’t tell the Mets what was going on.

Manager Terry Collins said he would have preferred Castillo report early, but said that while not being aware of Castillo’s situation. A little communication would have spared Castillo a dig from his new manager.

Not a good start by Castillo, who has to be flawless to make the team.

I believe the deciding factor at second base is defense. If Murphy/Emaus show they can handle the position, it would go a long way to keeping that platoon over Castillo, whose defense skills are on a decline.