Jan 18

Jan. 18.10: Spring training questions.

Questions, questions ....

Questions, questions ....

With a month before the start of spring training, let’s take a look at the ten top issues surrounding the Mets when the arrive at Port St. Lucie:

1) Who are the fifth starter candidates?
A: Jon Niese is from the organization. It could also be Oliver Perez or John Maine if the Mets should add another arm. Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland are still out there, but they are also linked to other teams. There’s no guarantee the Mets will bring in somebody else.

2) Where is Johan Santana?
A: Santana is coming off surgery. The Mets are saying he’ll be ready, but they said the same thing about John Maine last spring.

3) What is Jose Reyes status?
A: Reyes says he feels good, but he hasn’t tested that hamstring in game-type conditions. And, how much speed has he lost?

4) Did David Wright find his home run stroke over the winter?
A: Maybe it was Citi Field, maybe not. But, Wright did not hit with power last season. That has to change if the Mets are to do anything.

5) Carlos Beltran is how many weeks away?
A: Originally, they said 12 weeks. He won’t be ready by spring training to do baseball activities, but maybe they’ll have a better timetable by then.

6) What’s the catching situation look like?
A: The Mets have plenty of reserve catchers, but not a No. 1. They hope it will be Bengie Molina. They really don’t want to rush Josh Thole to the majors.

7) Who is the real Mike Pelfrey?
A: Pelfrey appeared on the verge of breaking out in 2008, but regressed last season. It’s about time he gets to the next level.

8) Where does the coin land?
A: Will Coinflip Perez show consistency beyond being inconsistent? He’s also coming off surgery. The reports are he’s working hard, but he’s worked hard before with no results.

9) What are the bullpen roles?
A: They could change if they sign John Smoltz. I’d rather have him in a set-up role than Kelvim Escobar. That way I could also drop Bobby Parnell down to a lower pressure slot.

10) What kind of camp will Jerry Manuel run?
A: Lax or clamp down? There were injuries last season, but the team also played fundamentally poor baseball and that’s his responsibility.

Jan 17

Jan. 17.10: Loose threads.

Loose Threads: What's on your mind?

Loose Threads: What's on your mind?

I think we might see the Mets do some things this week. Nothing major, of course, but some fill in stuff, like adding a journeyman outfielder to replace Carlos Beltran. Hopefully, perhaps one good enough to keep Fernando Martinez in the minors to tune his game.

John Smoltz is out there and he’s been linked to the Mets.

Also, there could be the long-awaited arrival of Bengie Molina. Please try to contain yourself when that does happen.

These, and any other Mets or baseball topics are on the table for Loose Threads. So are the NFL Playoffs or anything on your minds. I’ll be checking in especially during the Jets game, so if you have any comments during the game, please post away.

Me?

I’m going to hang around the house to watch the playoff games, and later on the season premiere of “24.”

Jan 13

Jan. 13.10: What’s left isn’t good, but ….

Who’s remaining in the free-agent pitching market isn’t good, and it seems as if the Mets are thinking who they currently have is better.

The Cubs want Ben Sheets and appear willing to spend the $12 million or so it would take to get him. He’s good when he’s healthy, worth the coin, but there’s no guarantees he’ll hold up. Ditto with Mark Mulder, who’s talking with Milwaukee.

The Mets waited for the market to come back to them on Joel Pineiro and the pricing might well have. So has the competition to get him: Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington are linked to him as well as the Mets. Washington also has interest in Doug Davis. Can’t imagine the Nationals getting both, but what if?

That leaves us Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, John Smoltz, Mike Hampton (been there done that), and Chien-Ming Wang.

There are flaws with all of them, just there are flaws with the Mets rotation, which now has four arms, three of them coming off surgery (Santana, Perez, Maine). They’ll liable to get Garland as their No. 5 and call it an offseason.

Jan 11

Jan. 11.10: A call to arms.

I had a Poll request over the weekend as to whom should the Mets target to improve their pitching. There are some decent arms, and some risks out there. There’s nobody, however, that cries out, “Sign me, sign me.”

Here’s the main names on the list: Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang and Erik Bedard.

The Mets are talking with Smoltz and still are considering Pineiro.

So, who do you want?

Post your comments here and vote in the poll.

Jan 09

Jan. 9.10: Mets looking at pitching.

The Mets are interested in bolstering their rotation. Better late than never. Among the names left in the market are Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Ben Sheets, Chien-Ming Wang and Erik Bedard.

The Mets are talking with Smoltz which does nothing in terms of making them younger, but if he’s on – at this stage he’s a four or five – he could be valuable. He did pitch well down the stretch last year. Yeah, I’d like a young stud, but there aren’t any out there.

Sheets, Wang and Bedard, coming off injuries, represent the biggest risk.