Feb 24

Feb. 24.10: Wrapping up the day.

The following is an accumulation of news and notes from spring training today:

* Rod Barajas reported to camp and will wear Carlos Delgado’s No. 21.

* Japanese pitchers Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi threw live batting practice.

* Sean Green is working on a submarine delivery. In theory it should produce a sharper sinker conducive for getting the double-play grounder.

* Pedro Feliciano is working on a cutter. The more pitches the better.

* Jerry Manuel said Fernando Nieve is versatile enough to work as a long-man, eighth-inning set-up man or starter. That’s another way of saying he has no idea on how to use him. If Jon Niese steps up, Nieve would likely be the long man.

* Good reports so far on Angel Pagan’s confidence. Pagan has no doubt he can hold center field until Carlos Beltran’s return in mid-May.

Feb 23

Feb. 23.10: Escobar taking it slowly.

The Mets’ first immediate injury concern is reliever Kelvim Escobar, who is projected as a possible eighth-inning set-up reliever to Francisco Rodriguez. If Escobar gets the eighth inning it stands to reason Bobby Parnell would get the seventh, where theoretically, there is less pressure.

Escobar is bothered with weakness – not pain – in his shoulder. There won’t be timetable for his return until he starts long tossing.

Feb 21

Feb. 21.10: Catching up on the weekend.

WILPON: Distancing himself from Omar?

WILPON: Distancing himself from Omar?

Fred Wilpon held court today, and his words gave the impression of separating himself from his baseball people – Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel.

It’s his money, but they make the decisions, Wilpon said.

“I understand from the fan’s point of view, because I am one myself, and I’m very, very sensitive to what their feelings are, and I understand some of it,’’ Wilpon said of the fans’ angst, but added, “I think that we have to be guided by our baseball people, and our baseball people evaluated, for example, some of our pitchers as good or better than what was on the market.

“Our baseball people evaluated other positions and we went by what they did. Jeff (Wilpon) followed them. Jeff and I don’t pick the baseball players. So that’s what they wanted to do.’’

In addition:

* If Jose Reyes does bat third, Manuel said it is possible Gary Matthews Jr., could lead off if he wins the center field job until Carlos Beltran returns. Again, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, and Reyes is one of the game’s best leadoff hitters.

* Manuel also said prospect Jennry Mejia could compete for the eighth-inning set-up role, which indicates two things, 1) a concern about Kelvim Escobar, and 2) and doubts about Bobby Parnell.

* Jon Niese appears the leading candidate for the fifth starter spot. Kind of expected that all along. That Manuel would suggest that suggests good news on his hamstring.

* Rod Barajas was finally signed, which gives Josh Thole a chance to develop his game at Triple-A. Not good news for Omir Santos.

Oct 01

Will you follow the playoffs?

Apparently, I’m not off to a good start following the playoffs. It is the eighth inning of the Phillies’ game. I can assume most of you aren’t pulling for the Phillies, but with the Mets not in it, will you watch with a rooting interest if you watch at all.

I’m an underdog rooter, so I want Tampa Bay to run the table. That would drive George crazy, by the way.

Sep 30

Do you want Delgado back?

Delgado: Wants to return. Few other options.

Delgado: Wants to return. Few other options.

In early June there was no way Carlos Delgado would return to the Mets. The team would undoubtedly give him a $4 million buyout as opposed to picking up his $12 million option.

Then he had a week in one afternoon at Yankee Stadium and never looked back. While the Mets floundered in September, Delgado sizzled, hitting .340 with eight homers and 22 RBI. He finished the season batting .271 with 38 homers and 115 RBI.

Those numbers warrant a return for 2009.

“I’d like to be back. I like this group of guys,” Delgado said. “I think they’re a great team. There’s a lot of talent here. In my stage, you don’t want to be bouncing around any more than you absolutely have to. The decision is in their hands.”

Since the Mets would pay Delgado $4 million regardless because of the buyout, it’s really only an $8 million investment they would be making. That’s not much in the grand scheme of things. The Mets have five days after the World Series to make a decision.

Delgado said he’d like to play several more years, but considering his off-year in 2007 and how long it took for him to get started this season, the Mets would be wise to make him earn the extension and not do anything until the end of 2009.

Should the Mets go the buyout route, there aren’t many appealing options in the free-agent market. Here’s what’s available:

Rich Aurilia (37)
Hank Blalock (28) – $6.2MM club option for ’09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Sean Casey (34)
Tony Clark (37)
Carlos Delgado (37) – $12MM club option for ’09 with a $4MM buyout
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Jason Giambi (38) – $22MM club option for ’09 with a $5MM buyout
Wes Helms (33) – $3.75MM club option for ’09 with a $0.75MM buyout
Eric Hinske (31)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Kevin Millar (37)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Teixeira (29)
Daryle Ward (34)

Should the Mets bring him back or not?