Jan 02

Mets’ Top Questions Heading Into Spring Training

With the forecast for up to ten inches tonight and temperatures possibly getting down to five degrees, what better time to think about the New York Mets, if for no other reason, to wonder about spring training?

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS

Let’s face it, neither one of New York’s basketball teams is worth thinking or talking about. Those seasons are all but over.

But, spring training? The thought of Florida, and the drive from the airport in West Palm to Port St. Lucie gets the juices flowing.

The Mets say they aren’t finished this winter, but it appears they’ve completed their heavy lifting. Here’s what I consider the top half-dozen issues facing the Mets:

1) Who will be the fifth starter?

A: As of now Jenrry Mejia seems to have the inside track after undergoing elbow surgery. Mejia pitched well at times last season, but the organization suggested his ultimate role is to be determined. Despite the presence of Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard in the minor leagues, neither promotion is imminent and the Mets will need a fifth to round out the rotation. If he’s physically ready, Mejia needs the ball. Who knows, he could even prove be a valuable trade chip.

2) Who plays first base?

A: At this rate, Ike Davis will be on the spring training roster. Milwaukee is supposedly their best trading partner, but the Brewers don’t appear in any rush to deal. Perhaps, they are waiting for the Mets’ asking price to fall. Perhaps, they are waiting for the Mets to release him outright. That might not happen as the Mets could be thinking of the July 31 trade deadline. The Mets appear to favor Lucas Duda at first base, and keeping Davis around could prove a distraction. If Davis isn’t going to play, do everybody a favor and let him go.

3) Will Bobby Parnell be the closer?

A: The Mets say they don’t know if Parnell, who is recovering neck surgery, will be ready. If not, Vic Black will get the ball in the ninth inning. Slowly, the Mets have added pieces to their bullpen. There’s always an arm or two that will emerge in spring training. The Mets recently added Ryan Reid, 28, from Pittsburgh. Reid throws in the low 90s and last year was 7-2 with a 2.73 ERA and 1.197 WHIP with Triple A Indianapolis. There could be room for him.

4) What is to become of Travis d’Arnaud?

A: He goes in as the starter, but he didn’t hit enough in his opportunity to warrant the job. Manager Terry Collins said he has faith in Anthony Recker as a reserve, but held back on expressing confidence as a starter. The Mets are more likely to grab a veteran catcher off the waiver wire in spring training rather than make a deal.

5) Who is the leadoff hitter?

A: That remains open, but Eric Young could retain his role if he starts in left field. It is apparent the Mets won’t trade Daniel Murphy and move Young to second base. This could change if Juan Lagares has a strong spring training at leadoff. The Mets have made no promises regarding Lagares, but this much should be obvious: Lagares is better off getting at-bats and playing time in the minor leagues rather than sitting the bench in the majors. To say Lagares has proven all he can in the minors is erroneous thinking. Lagares is far from a being a proven major league hitter, especially considering his propensity for striking out.

6) How much patience will the Mets give Ruben Tejada?

A: There’s nothing imminent in the trade market for shortstop and signing Stephen Drew wouldn’t be a good move. Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t close enough to contender status to warrant signing the veteran the Red Sox didn’t bring back.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 17

Meet Zack Wheeler And Daniel Murphy At Mets’ Annual Coat Drive

Zack Wheeler and Daniel Murphy will be at Citi Field Wednesday, 11-11:30 a.m., for the New York Mets’ seventh annual Holiday Coat Drive.

The players will greet fans at the Mets Team Store who are dropping off winter coats.

Fans who donate one or more coats will receive a pair of tickets to a select game in April, plus a coupon for 15 percent off regularly priced merchandise only tomorrow.

The Mets Team Store is located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Fans are instructed to park in Lot G.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 15

Mets Want To Deal Ike Davis Before Christmas

I can’t recall another time when a team was so open about trading a player as the New York Mets currently are with sending Ike Davis out of town. Anywhere. To anybody.

The Mets hope the market for Davis warmed with Tampa Bay retaining first baseman James Loney. The Rays, Milwaukee, Baltimore, Houston and Pittsburgh were in need of a first baseman when the Hot Stove season began, but Loney and Corey Hart are now off the market.

The Orioles, Pirates and Astros have not been active talking with the Mets, but GM Sandy Alderson has been in frequent contact with Brewers GM Doug Melvin.

The Mets targeted Brewers fifth starter Tyler Thornburg for Davis, who’ll likely make $3.5 million this year through arbitration.  After hitting 32 homers in 2012, hit .205 with nine homers and 30 RBI this year.

Thornburg would complete the Mets’ rotation, which added Bartolo Colon Wednesday at the Winter Meetings. With Davis gone, first base would go to Lucas Duda, or possibly Daniel Murphy if he’s not traded.

The Mets aren’t hot to deal Murphy, but are listening to offers, notably Baltimore.

At the close of the Winter Meetings, Alderson said there was a possibility of trading for an impact shortstop. What he didn’t say, was outside of Davis and Murphy, who he had to trade, at least on the major league level.

Alderson remains adamant against trading Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard.

The Mets aren’t done and this is the week they could fill their remaining holes, as the following week is Christmas followed by New Year’s, when most MLB offices are closed.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 11

Mets Won’t Trade Murphy Unless Overwhelmed

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

In a quick update to this post from yesterday, a team that likes Daniel Murphy and checked in on him told ESPN New York that the Mets’ asking price was “substantial.” That led the source to speculate that the Mets ultimately may hold onto the second baseman.

“The team that approached the Mets, by the way, had no interest in using Murphy as a second baseman. They would have restored him to a corner infield spot.”

I feel the same way and “I believe the Mets have no real interest in moving Murphy unless they are overwhelmed.”

That’s what I tweeted yesterday and I’ve had that hunch for about a week now…

Keeping Murphy for me is good news… I’ve always been with 28…

Dec 11

Mets Matters: Updates On Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy And More

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Time to touch base on a few note-worthy matters involving the New York Mets. Let’s begin with another tidbit involving Curtis Granderson. Yesterday, Granderson said he wanted four years because he wanted to be part of the building process.

mets-matters logoAfter five straight losing seasons and the prospect of a sixth with Matt Harvey gone for the year, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said it was essential for the Mets to make such a commitment.

“It was what we had to do,’’ said Wilpon. “It was something we wanted to do. It fit well with the plan. And it’s a commitment on our part to have him around. He wanted to be around to see the team turn the corner and be a part of it moving forward.’’

Also:

* There’s nothing imminent on the Ike Davis front. I’ve written several times teams are exploring other options before considering Davis and his .200 average and propensity for striking out. This won’t get done soon. Milwaukee prefers to re-sign Corey Hart, but could be a trade partner for Davis if they don’t. Pittsburgh and Baltimore could also factor in for Davis.

* Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports teams have inquired about Daniel Murphy with the intent of moving him to a corner position, where he’s played well. Rubin says the Mets’ asking price is high. It might as well be. That’s the situation when the Mets make the call. I’ve always liked Murphy. Some radio talk-show hosts belittle callers when they say Murphy hustles. But, don’t you want that on a team?

* There’s a rotating photo board near the pressroom. There are plenty of pictures, but only one shot featuring a Met. That would be Jordany Valdespin being taken out on a double play.

* Jeremy Hefner was re-signed, which is a reward for his hard work. Hefner won’t pitch this season because he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery. Who knows what the Mets’ pitching will look like in a year, but it was good to see Hefner taken care of. The Mets didn’t have to do it.

* The Mets met with the agent for free-agent pitcher Freddy Garcia. The more arms the merrier.

* A Twins source said Mike Pelfrey wants to stay in Minnesota. Despite losing 13 games last year the talk is a two-year deal for $10 million. Life is good. By the way, if that happens, I don’t ever want to hear again about the “small-market Twins.’’

* Speaking of the Twins, they are my choice to sign Johan Santana when the time comes. Reportedly, he’s throwing 150 feet on flat ground. He’s a long way from being ready.

* Many thanks to Joe DeCaro from Metsmerized.com for his help on my blog, including the design of the Mets Matters logo.

LATER THIS MORNING: Update on Bobby Parnell. 

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos