News and notes prior to tonight’s game against Colorado:
* Back-up catcher Ronnie Paulino has completed the last eight games of his 50-game suspension for using PEDs and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from anemia. Frankly, I think the Mets caught a break on this one. I don’t understand getting credit for games on the suspension he wouldn’t have been able to play in regardless.
* Jose Reyes is off to a good start and is riding a streak of starting the last seven games with either a hit or walk. Reyes has five multi-hit games in the Mets’ first nine games.
* The Mets are hoping outfielder Jason Bay will be activated from the disabled list by the end of the week when the team is in Atlanta.
* The Mets are carrying 13 pitchers and will probably do so until Bay is ready to be activated.
Tonight’s lineup for Mets on Opening Day at Florida against the Marlins.
Jose Reyes, SS
Willie Harris, LF
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Angel Pagan, CF
Ike Davis, 1B
Brad Emaus, 2B
Josh Thole, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP
LINEUP COMMENTS: To get some pop in the middle of the order with Jason Bay on the disabled list, manager Terry Collins dropped projected No. 2 hitter Angel Pagan to fifth behind Carlos Beltran. There are no other surprises is the order.
It wouldn’t surprise me, depending on how long Bay is out, that Collins will juggle his order. One thing Collins might consider would be to elevate Josh Thole to second. Thole can work the count and make contact, essential for a No. 2 hitter.
UP NEXT 2011 Over/Unders
I just finished up a conference call with GM Sandy Alderson. Among the highlights:
* If the Mets were in contention at the trade deadline he would have the financial flexibility to add a player or pitcher.
* Alderson would like to see an improvement in Jose Reyes’ on-base percentage. He said Reyes’ performance, along with where the team is will be the key factors in a contract extension. If Reyes is performing well and the team is not, the Mets could still sign him to an extension. Alderson said the Mets would have the financial resources to extend Reyes.
* He said he is not concerned with Jason Bay’s lack of power during spring training and believes he will adjust to Citi Field this summer.
* Said Nick Evans is still in the mix to make the team, especially if Carlos Beltran starts the season on the disabled list.
* Is not surprised the second base decision is lasting this long.
Technically, position players don’t have to be in camp until Saturday, but one would think – and hope – several of the question marks would have bothered to show up early. If David Wright, Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan can do it, so can every body else that doesn’t have a personal issue or visa problem.
In particular, Castillo was annoyed this morning when it came to Luis Castillo, the often-maligned second baseman who ranks highly on Mets’ fans enemies list. Castillo, who is to be paid $6 million for his mediocre production, is still in the Dominican Republic. Manager Terry Collins said it would have sent a symbolic message to the organization had Castillo been in camp earlier.
The same applies to Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay, both who missed a considerable amount of last season to injuries.
Beltran is coming off a knee injury and could be moved to right field. This is his walk year and the Mets will try to move him by the All-Star break. Both, for his contract and for what he might bring in a trade, it is imperative he gets off to a strong. One or two days shouldn’t make a difference, but with the Mets this year it is all about appearances.
As for Bay, he was having a lousy year before he was sidelined with a concussion. So far, he’s done nothing to justify his $66 million contract. Would it have killed him to show up early?
Wright and Reyes are the leaders of this team and they’ve been here. The others are question marks and will wait until they absolutely have to.
So much for initiative.
BELTRAN: Easier to move as center fielder
Angel Pagan said manager Terry Collins has not talked with him or Carlos Beltran about who will play center, but this is an important issue for the Mets to decide as soon as possible in spring training, and it must be the veteran.
With Beltran making $18.5 million this year, the Mets know they will not re-sign him to an extension. They also know with their roster they will not overtake Philadelphia and the wild-card is also a long shot. And, that’s with Beltran and Jason Bay healthy and producing.
Pagan was the better center fielder last year and might be better this season, but the best interest of the Mets in the short term is for Beltran to prove he can play the position.
The Mets have had surface discussions with teams about Beltran, but there aren’t any serious talks because nobody wants to take the gamble on his salary, age and injury history the past two seasons. And, there won’t be any legitimate conversations until Beltran proves he can play, and that means center field.
If Beltran is back in center and hitting, he’ll be easier to trade and a contender might bite. Because Beltran won’t be returning and the Mets aren’t winning this year, his value to the franchise is not as a player but what he can bring back in prospects and the salary they might save.
And, he’ll be easier to move as a center fielder.