The Mets are playing two games today, but all eyes are on Port St. Lucie where Johan Santana will make the start against St. Louis.
Here are the Mets’ lineups for today’s split-squad games:
vs. St. Louis at Port St. Lucie.
Andres Torres, cf
Jordany Valdespin, 2b
Jason Bay, dh
Ike Davis, 1b
Justin Turner, 3b
Josh Thole, c
Adam Loewen, lf
Mike Baxter, rf
Ronny Cedeno, ss
Johan Santana, lhp
vs. Houston Astros at Kissimmee
Ruben Tejada, ss
Wilmer Flores, dh
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Lucas Duda, rf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf
Josh Satin, 1b
Vinny Rottino, 3b
Rob Johnson, c
Juan Lagares, lf
Chris Schwinden, rhp
LINEUP COMMENTS: Terry Collins is keeping Jason Bay and Ike Davis together in the batting order, as they would normally be. … In the Houston game he’s also keeping together the double-play combination of Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.
ON DECK: Santana gets the ball.
Manager Terry Collins conducted his first press conference of the spring this morning. He was upbeat and positive as expected, but made no brash projections, which was appreciated.
COLLINS: What is he saying?
However, like with all managers, there was a message beyond Collins’ words. What he said and what he meant are two different things.
Most managers take the one-game-at-a-time approach, but Collins did make the point of saying the team needed to get off to a fast start. He could have added that includes spring training, also.
Why is this important?
Last night at the 32nd Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner in New York, Daniel Murphy told reporters that expectations for the Mets this season are to make the playoffs.
“Expectations for us this year are like any other. We expect to go to the playoffs.”
His thoughts on Terry Collins seeing him batting in the leadoff spot:
“I am gonna hit wherever he tells me, I am gonna hit wherever he sees best fit. If I am hitting No. 1 that means I am in the lineup. That’s a good sign for me.”
Murphy reserved his best comment on him raking in 2012 and busting out with Ike Davis:
“I sent Ike Davis a text. I told him I was putting in a request with TC to hit somewhere near him to get some good pitches. That guy is a killer and I want to be near him,” Murphy said. “He kind of laughed and texted back: ‘Let’s go dominate.’ I think we’re ready and excited for the season.”
This guy is sumthin’ else and I’m glad he’s on our side… I’m with 28 too…
I’m a big Daniel Murphy fan. I love his determination, I’m impressed by his plate approach, I believe in his value as an offensive player, and his enthusiasm is totally awesome. That said, I just don’t see him as part of the master plan. I’ve heard and read all the quotes about him being the everyday second baseman next season, but I’m not at all thrilled at the prospect of that.
There seemed to be some interest in Murphy during the Winter Meetings in Dallas, and to be honest I was excited at the prospect of shipping him to a team where he would be allowed to play at his natural third base position or even makes his bones as a designated hitter in the AL.
We’ve already tried unsuccessfully to make Murphy a left fielder and then a first baseman. His two attempts to play second base both resulted in season ending injuries that could have been avoided had Murphy understood how to set himself up at second base and field his position properly. Do we really want to risk a third season ending injury?
Murphy has very good value right now, especially for someone coming back from an injury. He was fifth in the NL with a .320 batting average before he got hurt last season, and that is nothing to scoff at.
His .809 OPS ranked high among first basemen and in parts of two season he has stroked 66 doubles and a combined 90 extra-base hits in about 900 at-bats.
Here’s the problem the way I see it, the Mets have been killing this kid and hurting his progress by trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. No matter how hard they keep trying they can’t seem to make Murphy fit in.
He is much too valuable as a hitter to just let him squander on the bench. So why not do what’s best for him and best for the team and trade him for something we need – like a catcher perhaps – or a centerfielder?
Murphy is not getting any younger and after four years of jerking him around he’ll be 27 on Opening Day. Isn’t it time to just bite the bullet and actively shop him to the highest bidder?
THE SKINNY: With second base a black hole last season when Brad Emaus didn’t make it and Daniel Murphy was hurt, Turner played more than anticipated. His playing time also increased when Jose Reyes twice went on the disabled list and Tejada played shortstop.
PRE-SEASON EXPECTATIONS: In the minor leagues, where he had been since 2006 with the Cincinnati and Baltimore organizations. The Mets would keep an eye on him because of his ability to play multiple positions (second, third and shortstop).
HOW THE SEASON PLAYED OUT: Turner quickly got his opportunity with the Mets and made the most of it with his hustle, timely hitting and defensive versatility. However, just because Turner can play multiple positions doesn’t mean he can play them all well as 12 errors indicates.
JOHN’S TAKE: Murphy is the better hitter and should get the first chance at second base, assuming Reyes leaves and Tejada takes over shortstop. The Mets will need bench players and it is better to stay with Turner than take somebody else’s reject off the waiver wire this winter.
JOE’S TAKE: Ultimately I don’t see Justin Turner as an everyday player. With sporadic playing time Turner was a hitting machine at the plate. He had a drive and intensity that almost made him an intimidating presence at the plate, and his focus and approach at the plate were spot on. But when he got regular playing time the results suffered which was a shame. I’ll tell you one thing though about this kid, there’s no Mets player including David Wright, that I’d want up at the plate with runners on base. Turner may be the best situational hitter on the team, and his presence on the bench is a big plus for the Mets.