Feb 15

Feb. 15.10: Who’s primed for a breakout year?

When you look at all the Mets’ issues, it must be remembered the flip side is also true and that the positive could happen. No, today I’m not looking at who I consider the most important Met to be – for me it is Jose Reyes in the field and Mike Pelfrey on the mound – but the guy poised for a breakout season. By that, I mean his best year and finally showing signs of potential.

MAINE: Could this be a breakout year?

MAINE: Could this be a breakout year?


What’s your gut telling you?

Will one of the catchers step up and shed the platoon label?
Will Daniel Murphy show some power?
Will Pelfrey, John Maine or Oliver Perez shake the inconsistency label and win north of 15 games?
Will Jeff Francoeur become the power the Braves once projected of him?

Scanning the Mets’ roster, two names immediately grab my attention as possibilities for breakout seasons: Murphy and Maine.

I like Murphy to have a big year because of last year was a learn-on-the-job experience which he picked up fairly well. I also believe with a full year of learning the pitchers and getting stronger, that his power numbers should increase. He won’t hit 40, but 20 would be a significant improvement.

I’m also liking Maine because all indications are he’s healthy. Sometimes, it is the second year after the surgery when a pitcher feels comfortable again. I believe Pelfrey will improve; have no clue about Perez, but I’m trying to think positive; but I think Maine is poised to have a year better than 2007 when he won 15 games.

Jan 28

Jan. 28.10: Around the horn.

PEREZ: Yawn ... says he feels good.

PEREZ: Yawn ... says he feels good.

Oliver Perez closed mini-camp with a strong side session and said he’s comfortable with his mechanics. Pitching coach Dan Warthen is trying to get him to make a longer stride with his lead leg which will help him drive toward the plate. Theoretically, that’s supposed to help with his control. But, I’ve lost track of all of Perez’s mechanical adjustments designed to help his command. We shall see.

* All indications are the Mets are about to bring back Fernando Tatis. For a role player, Tatis has done pretty good for himself as he’s about to get his third year in the majors after leaving the game. Tatis’ primary asset is his versatility that enables him to play the infield and outfield corners and second base in a pinch. Tatis will be used primarily to platoon with Daniel Murphy at first base.

* John Smoltz said he’s interested in signing with the Mets. He’s being recruited by former Braves teammate Jeff Francoeur.

* Manager Jerry Manuel said Bobby Parnell won’t compete for the fifth starter job in spring training but to compete for the set-up role. Kelvim Escobar is also a candidate for that job. Of course, if Smoltz were signed for the bullpen it would bump everybody down a notch.

Dec 22

Dec. 22.09: Does Vazquez deal hurt Mets chances at Bay?

The Javier Vazquez deal both helps and hurts the Mets.

It helps in that the Braves are worse today than they last night. Vazquez is worth more to them than Melky Cabrera. This was a cost cutting move on their part. However, before judging this completely, realize the possibility the Braves might do something else with their savings. For one thing, Adam La Roche is still out there.

It hurts, because the Yankees now have a hole in left field that can be filled by Jason Bay or Johnny Damon. It would not surprise me in the least if the Yankees made a run at Bay, even if it means having their payroll swell over $200 million.

Dec 22

Dec. 22.09: The calm before the storm?

If there are other teams involved with Jason Bay, that could explain the silence from his camp. The mystery team, might have to make another deal to free up salary to make the trade.

The Yankees are reportedly talking trade about bringing in a pitcher, with Javier Vazquez’s name popping up. Would the Braves be interested if that were the case? Reports still are naming the Mariners, Giants and Angels. One report had the Mariners considering moving Cliff Lee. That would only mean the Yankees.

If this is true, then the Mets have fallen in Bay’s pecking order. Not that he appeared high to begin with.

Dec 07

Braves, Phillies have improved ….

While the Mets are deciding which middle-tier pitcher they should pursue, the Braves and Phillies have already improved from last season.

WAGNER: Now a happy Brave.

WAGNER: Now a happy Brave.


The Braves needed to address their bullpen, and have done that with the signings of Billy Wagner (I knew he wasn’t going to retire) and Takashi Saito. They’ve also offered arbitration to Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. The Braves need an outfield bat and are interested in Marlon Byrd.

The Philles have Cliff Lee coming back and are in on the Roy Halladay Sweepstakes. Yes, they have enough chips to get that done. The Phillies just upgraded to Placido Polanco at third base.

The Phillies’ bullpen was a huge reason they didn’t repeat. Fernando Rodney is a closer option. They are also considering John Smoltz and J.J. Putz in set-up roles.