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 25

Good morning folks ….

Back from Ohio. My father is still ill, but somewhat better than last week. He’s 84 and has Parkinson’s.

I want to thank you for your well wishes, both here on the blog and personally. It means a lot to me.

While I was gone, Jerry Manuel decided he’d like Daniel Murphy to hit second, which is fair enough. I was thinking Castillo, but Castillo’s attitude is such now that a move in the batting order shouldn’t bother him. Given that, here’s how I see the batting order:

SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
3B David Wright
RF Ryan Church
C Brien Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
Pitcher’s slot.

Now, I wouldn’t be adverse to hitting Castillo ninth and the pitcher eighth to bunch the speed of Castillo and Reyes together. That could make Murphy a 90 RBI guy. It’s true, how many times does Reyes actually lead off an inning? Bunching the speed together could work.

That’s my two cents. What’s yours. You like this batting order as is, or would you tweak it? And, how so?

Mar 19

Where to slot in Castillo?

Manager Jerry Manuel is thinking about going back to Jose Reyes in the leadoff slot to get him going. That spot worked for Luis Castillo, who owned up to the challenge and is hitting .321 with a .500 on-base percentage.

Castillo has been far from the nightmare at the plate he was last year.

I’ve always liked him second, but I can see the logic of Daniel Murphy in that slot. That also allows for a 3-4-5 of Beltran, Wright and Delgado.

Batting him eighth is a waste, but what about ninth and swap with the pitcher? The idea would be to bunch the speed of Castillo and Reyes together.

Initially, I thought Tony La Russa was reinventing the wheel when he did it, but there’s sense to it. If the pitcher is an automatic out (that’s the assumption), what difference does it make if it is eighth or ninth?

Feb 23

Murphy’s job to lose ….

So much for the platoon in left. Manager Jerry Manuel said it is Daniel Murphy’s job to lose, and he’ll see a lot of time against left-handed pitching. That doesn’t mean Fernando Tatis is useless. He’ll get at-bats in right against left-handed pitching, which means less playing time for Ryan Church.

I like the confidence Manuel is showing in Murphy, and I hope it continues even when there’s an inevitable slump. The onus now is on Church to produce vs. lefties so he stays in the line-up.

Manuel’s thinking is Murphy has less holes in his swing and approach than does Church.

Feb 18

Questions in outfield corners

CHURCH: Can he stay healthy?

CHURCH: Can he stay healthy?

All winter I trumpeted the need for pitching over adding a bat in the outfield as a priority. I still think pitching is more important. HOWEVER, since the Mets have basically the same rotation as last year, it has given me pause.

I’m not convinced the Mets will have a flawless season with their outfield corners.

I like Ryan Church, but we have to accept that he had two good months before the second concussion did in his season. We don’t know, had he stayed healthy, what kind of year he would have had. So, it stands to reason he’s a question.

Then there is the left field platoon of Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis. The Mets caught lightning in a bottle with them last year. Will they have duplicate seasons? I don’t know.