Apr 02

Parnell sharp; Santana gets Opening nod.

Bobby Parnell, who had been uninspiring during his tenure with the Mets, has been scintillating this spring, enough where they could consider opening the season with him in the closer role if Frank Francisco is placed on the disabled list with a sore left knee.

PARNELL: Has had excellent spring.

While Parnell was throwing three scoreless innings at Atlanta in a spot start – because the Mets didn’t want Jon Niese to face the same team he’ll pitch against Sunday – Francisco was getting an MRI.

“Early in camp I felt a little sore in there and it went away,’’ Francisco told reporters today. “In the last three days, I felt soreness in there again, but that’s it. We’re going to take care of that. I did my workout and everything, and it felt fine, but they’re going to take a look at it.’’

 A MRI, followed by manager Terry Collins saying he was concerned about Francisco’s knee can’t be a good omen for the injury ravaged Mets.

Francisco, a Toronto castoff, was signed to a two-year, $12-million contract in the offseason. The Mets also signed another Blue Jays’ reliever, Jon Rauch, but he’s been ineffective this spring with a 7.94 ERA. Parnell, who struggled in the closer role last September, hasn’t given up a run in 12 1/3 innings during spring training.

Despite his success, I’m not so sure moving Parnell to the closer role is the way to go if Francisco’s injury is deemed short term. The Mets have bounced Parnell around in the past and he has not responded to the changing roles. Because he’s been pitching well I’d be reluctant to tinker with him.

I would reconsider that position if Francisco’s injury is determined to be long term.

Meanwhile, the Mets finally announced Johan Santana will be the Opening Day starter Thursday against the Braves. Santana would be followed in the rotation by R.A. Dickey, and Jon Niese.


Mar 28

Murphy clanks at second; Mets lose again.

This will happen more than a few times this season, so let’s get used to it. Murphy is learning the position and the Mets don’t have a minor league option they can plug into second, let alone one who can hit as well as Murphy. Before it’s all over, providing Murphy doesn’t get hurt again, he’ll help the Mets more with his bat than he will hurt them with his glove.

MURPHY: Was his problems in the field.

The Mets are literally a patchwork team and second base is one of those patches. Had Jose Reyes stayed, Ruben Tejada would be more than satisfactory at second base.

In Murphy, the Mets have a potentially potent bat with an erratic glove at second base. Murphy had positive moments when they played him at first and I have a good feeling he’ll be more than adequate at second by the end of the season.
Wasted was a quality start by Jon Niese, who gave up two runs with six strikeouts in six innings. With Santana a question, Niese enters the season the Mets’ most reliable pitcher.
Mar 18

Some things to mull over

The Mets are off tomorrow, which is a good thing, and gives us some time to look at what is going on for the Mets so far this spring.

Most encouraging has been Johan Santana’s progress through three starts. He’s been healthy and his velocity is gradually increasing.

Jon Niese has been solid and showing all signs he’s on the mend. If Santana isn’t ready for spring training, then Niese is the No. 1 as Mike Pelfrey hasn’t shown he’s capable in that role.

Pelfrey is still an enigma and has shown nothing to prove he’ll go into the season on a role. There’s still something missing in the Mets’ biggest question.

Health questions Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy seem as if they sound, but the latter still has his shaky moments at second base.

Andres Torres had a fast start in center field, but there’s not a reliable backup.

David Wright remains a health question, as does lefty reliever Tim Byrdak. With a hole in the bullpen, the Mets have four candidates vying for the role, with Garrett Olson seemingly having the inside track.

Ruben Tejada has a hamstring problem which was a temporary setback, but those types of injuries have a long recovery period.


Dec 14

Niese Rumors Continue To Swirl

Site Note: I’m sorry to inform you that John Delcos’ father passed away a few days ago. He’ll be away for a couple of more days. My condolences to John and his family during this difficult time.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the trade buzz surrounding starting pitcher Jon Niese is getting louder and that at least 3 or 4 teams are currently interested in acquiring the young southpaw from the Mets.

“If the package is right, the Mets will deal him,” writes Heyman.

The Mets are believed to be looking for a young pitcher (like Niese?) and a catching prospect in return.

If the Mets have a price established for Niese, it means he’s on the block.

This goes beyond the old adage of “nobody should be untouchable”, although it seems David Wright certainly is for now.

Last week, Joel Sherman of the New York Post mentioned the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox as teams that would certainly be in the hunt for Jon Niese.

My question is this:

If you are serious in your assertion that you are working toward building a relevant team in 2014, why would you trade such a promising left-handed starter who will be just 27-years old and entering his prime years by that time?

Niese, 25, would seem to be a Met you’d tab as a keeper at this point, and when teams like the Yankees and Red Sox want in, it should give the front office some pause to ask themselves why?

Among all the starters in the current rotation (Johan, Dickey, Pelfrey, Niese, Gee), what pitchers stands out as a potential building block for 2014?

Are we seriously going along with this plan of putting all our eggs in one basket with Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jeurys Famila who each have yet to have any success beyond Double-A and in the case of Wheeler, Single-A? Is this really the master plan?

You would think a talented pitcher like Niese, who remains under team control for another four years, would be the last player that would be on the Mets’ trading block.

Right now, Niese is the only young pitcher in the organization who has proved himself to be a quality major league pitcher, while the other three are longshots at best and still have a ways to go before proclaiming either of them as such.

I don’t like the smell of this one bit. If anything, the Mets should be locking Niese up through his arbitration years like they did with David Wright and Jose Reyes what seems like eons ago.


Dec 07

Mets talking Niese.

It isn’t as if the Mets want to trade Jon Niese, but he’s one of the few valuable chips they have to deal. Left-handed starters are always a premium and the Mets are hoping to bring back a starter, catcher and infielder. Niese ended the season on the disabled list, so his health is a concern making it doubtful they’ll get that much.

And, if they don’t, what’s the point considering pitching is their biggest need.

Reportedly, the Yankees, Boston, Toronto, San Diego and Colorado inquired. If this is the fire sale it seems to be, I don’t see them dealing with the Yankees unless they overpay.