With a little less than three weeks before Opening Day, some issues the Mets opened camp with are starting to take focus. Others remain blurred.
Johan Santana, it seems, is on track. My philosophy on injuries is to assume the worst until the player proves otherwise. After a strong 56-pitch outing in a minor league game yesterday, the reports on Santana and his slider are good.
The fifth starter was another issue, and candidates Freddy Garcia (14.40 ERA this spring) and Livan Hernandez (3.72) will work today against the Braves. Garcia, obviously needs a complete turnaround to stay in contention, but coming off injuries, he’s likely to open the season with an extended spring training.
Hernandez has been mostly good, but still hasn’t blown Jerry Manuel away as to where the job is his. And, until he does, there will always be those Pedro Martinez whispers that won’t go away.
Jon NIese takes his 9.00 ERA to the mound today against the Braves. Niese is still in the hunt for the fifth spot in the rotation, but hasn’t overly impressed in his opportunity.
I’m still putting what’s left of my money on Livan Hernandez to win the role. That is, of course, if the Mets don’t pick somebody else up, such as re-signing Pedro Martinez.
Nobody has blown away the field. Tim Redding is hurting and could open the season on the DL. Freddy Garcia? That ended quickly.
I like what I saw of Niese last season, but he also had those moments that said he wasn’t ready. I’d hate for him to come up and get rocked the way Mike Pelfrey did. If there is a viable major league option to Niese, the Mets will take it.
Tom Glavine has a job this summer. He’ll make $1 million this year from the Braves. It’s what you get at the end of your career when you’ve already locked up the Hall of Fame and just want to play.
Pedro Martinez is auditioning with Team Dominican Republic. There are no guarantees for him.
Martinez took a shot at Glavine the other day when talking about his contract: “If I wanted to pitch that bad, I probably would. But I don’t think I’m in that stage. I believe I’m very comfortable. I’m not going to let anybody disrespect my abilities or the way I am. I wouldn’t say I would want to pitch that bad.”
Wow. That’s high heat. Glavine and Martinez were never best buds when the two were on the Mets.
I had the sense Glavine resented some of the things Martinez got away with, such as dictating his own training. I also had the sense Martinez didn’t want to share billing with Glavine.
It’s looking as it that might be the case. Griffey, who lives in Orlando – where the Braves train in spring training – has wanted to play for Atlanta. He might soon get the case. The Braves confirmed interest today according to ESPN.com.
I broached Griffey to the Mets a couple of weeks ago, a thought that was rather coldly received. Apparently, the Braves still think he has something left.
He does vs. the Phillies, hitting .357 against them last season. Of course, Griffey isn’t the same player, but for a team wanting to win this year he’s a good piece to have. He’s exactly the kind of bat you trade for in July. Why not have him all season?
The Phillies, by the way, have already named Cole Hamels their Opening Day starter.
SHEA: Honor its legacy.
There is one remaining wall of what was Shea Stadium that’s still standing. I know it won’t happen, because such decisions are never made on the fly, but I’d like to see it remain standing. It would make a great gesture to the past.
However, the Mets could still honor their Shea history by outlining a replica of the playing field in the parking lot and denote where some of the most memorable plays occurred with statues. Such of Seaver on the mound when he struck out 19 Padres, or Buckner, or the Swododa and Agee catches, of Cleon catching the final out of the 69 Series.
In Atlanta, the Braves have a replica of an outfield wall and mark where Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record, so it’s not like this hasn’t been done before.