Mar 31

Counting the days ….

This has arguably been the longest spring of my life. I can’t wait much longer for the season to begin. With a handful of days remaining before Opening Day in Cincinnati, the Mets remain a team with a handful of issues.

The first being pitching.

Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez haven’t had the kind of seamless spring that inspires unbridled confidence. You can find something physical or mental about each that makes you wonder. Can you say there aren’t any concerns about any of them?

I like the make up of the bullpen, although a second lefty would be nice. I think they’ll keep O’Day.

I’m not worried about the catching. Brian Schneider is what he is. He’s never going to put up great numbers, but as long as he handles the staff that’s the main thing.

My belief is the most important position player as far as the offensive make-up is concerned is Carlos Delgado. He’s had a good spring so far, but we still don’t know who’ll we’ll get: Last year’s first-half or the second-half. If it’s the second half, there aren’t many worries about the offense.

Second base? Luis Castillo played well this spring. Answered a lot of questions. Here’s one more: How long can he keep it up, and where will he hit in the line-up. I’m still of the belief Castillo is at his best hitting second.

Left fielder Daniel Murphy remains impressive, but let’s remember his total body of work is small. Will he consistently hit left-handers. By the way, that’s the same question in right field with Ryan Church.

This is a good team, but these are all important and legit questions. Delgado and the pitching being the most pressing.

Mar 11

Mets Notes

* Mike Pelfrey’s strained left leg has improved enough to where he’ll start Saturday against Washington. Pelfrey threw in the BP today and told reporters: “I felt it a little bit, but it’s a lot better. If it was the regular season and I had to pitch today, I would’ve.”

* Carlos Delgado got six hits in his first seven at-bats playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC.

* Jon Niese gave up a hit and a walk in four scoreless innings in a minor league game today. Niese is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.

* Outfielder Angel Pagan underwent arthroscopic surgery in New York to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and could be out as long as nine weeks. Pagan didn’t play last year after May 12 after injuring his shoulder when he fell into the stands in Los Angeles.

Feb 20

Which Delgado will we get?

DELGADO: Who will we get?

DELGADO: Who will we get?

Does anybody know for sure which Carlos Delgado we will see this year? The second half terror that made an MVP run, of the first half horror that had him heading out of town?

Nobody knows. Delgado insists it wasn’t a health issue but a mechanical issue.

Outside of Luis Castillo, Delgado has as more pressure on him than any Met to prove himself this year, and that begins with spring training.

Feb 12

Dunn, Abreu off the market …. Mets missed chance.

I’ve been barking about the Mets signing Adam Dunn since the moment Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza walked out of Shea together after the final game ceremonies.

He’s now with Washington for two years at the cost of $20 million, where he’ll get a chance to maul Mets pitching for 19 games this season. Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels for $5 million for one season.

I wanted Dunn for his power and because I’m not convinced the left field platoon of Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy will be the answer. I know Dunn will strike out a lot (not as much as Ryan Howard), but he’ll also hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs. He’ll also take his walks and be on base enough to where he should scored close to 100 runs. Plus, he’d be around to take over when Carlos Delgado leaves.

Abreu is also a consistent run producer. Either would have upgraded the Mets’ offense, which needs a little more pop.

The Mets upgraded their biggest need, which was the bullpen, but 29 blown saves also tells you the games were tight in the late innings. More firepower is needed because the Mets did not sufficiently upgrade their rotation.

Feb 04

Positive or negative?

On one hand, perhaps baseball’s worst bullpen has been improved. The Mets blew 29 save opportunities last season, but the additions of Francisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz has to close the one-game gap on the Phillies assuming all else is equal.

That’s the strongest positive.

Another positive is the time Daniel Murphy  spent last season in the majors and the addition of Tim Redding improves the fifth spot in the rotation. The overall depth of the bullpen is better.

The rest isn’t so much glaring negatives as they are questions. Yes, if there’s no improvement from Luis Castillo, that becomes a glaring negative.

The following Q and A gives a thumbnail perspective of the other hand.

Q: How’s Johan Santana’s knee?
A: Nothing negative to report, but we’ll know when he he gets on the mound.

Q: How’s John Maine’s shoulder?
A: Reports are surgery went well and he should be ready for spring training. But, we really won’t know until he starts throwing.

Q: Is Mike Pelfrey ready to continue his progress?
A: Sometimes, after a large jump in innings, a pitcher hits a growth wall. We’ll have to see. You can’t just pencil him in for 200 innings and 18 wins. It’s not that simple.

Q: Who is the real Carlos Delgado?
A: Can anyone say for certain it will be the second half Delgado or the first half Delgado?

Q: How healthy is Ryan Church?
A: The Mets say he’s fine, but will be pick up where he left off before the concussion?

Q: How productive will the Murphy-Tatis platoon in left be?
A: The Mets will take what they got last year, but nobody is making any promises.

Add it up, if the Mets produce the same as they did last year, the bullpen improvement should pick up a game on the Phillies. Then again, we don’t know if the Phillies won’t be any better. However, there’s no guarantee the Mets will get the same production, or if it will be better or worse.

Given all this, with the start of spring training less than two weeks out, what’s your confidence level?