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.

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 06

F-Mart has sore elbow

MLB.com reported Fernando Martinez left the Carribean World Series to have his sore right elbow examined in New York.

“I felt my elbow tighten up the day before yesterday,” Martinez said. “It was a little swollen. It’s better. I feel I can play again. I don’t think I need to fly to New York to get a check up, but the Mets want me to.”

I have a gut feeling the left field platoon of Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis might not pan out and F-Mart might get unexpected time in the majors.

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?