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.

Dec 31

Dec. 31.09: Forecasting the Mets roster.

As I sit here and watch the snow fall, I can’t help but think about how nice spring training sounds. The Mets need some work to do before finalizing their roster. Here’s what I have for the Mets right now regarding their 25-man roster.

CATCHER
1. Omir Santos
2. Henry Blanco
Comment: If they land Bengie Molina, they’d send out Santos.

INFIELD
3. 1B: Daniel Murphy
4. 2B: Luis Castillo
5. SS: Jose Reyes
6. 3B: David Wright
7. INF: Alex Cora
8. INF: TBA (first base platoon)
9. INF: TBA
Comment: They need a RH bat to platoon with Murphy at first base. Ryan Garko would be perfect. They also need another utility infielder. A guy who could play both infield and outfield would be ideal.

OUTFIELD
10. LF: Jason Bay
11. CF: Carlos Beltran
12. RF: Jeff Francoeur
13. OF: Angel Pagan
Comment: They’d like somebody who could come off the bench with some power.

STARTERS
14. SP1: Johan Santana
15. SP2: Mike Pelfrey
16. SP3: John Maine
17. SP4: Oliver Perez
18. SP5: TBA
Comment: Yes, they might go short with the off-days in April, but they’ll need five eventually. In the interim, look at what they have now. I’m not thrilled.

BULLPEN
19. Francisco Rodriguez
20. Kelvim Escobar
21. Bobby Parnell
22. Pedro Feliciano
23. Sean Green
24. Brian Stokes
25. Ryota Igarashi
Comment: If they could find a utility player to play both infield and outfield, they could add another reliever.

Dec 28

Dec. 28.09: What to do with Parnell?

Since the Mets have Kelvim Escobar plugged into the set-up role it leaves them with a decision to make on Bobby Parnell.

PARNELL: What to do with him?

PARNELL: What to do with him?


Do they leave him in the bullpen in a less pressurized role, or if their long-term projection is for him as a starter, do they send him to the minors in that capacity?

The Mets bounced Parnell around last year from a seventh-inning reliever, to set-up reliever when JJ Putz was injured to the rotation when the roof caved in.

Parnell has a starter’s arm, but is lacking in the development of his secondary pitches. That was apparent in his stint last September as a starter. Parnell did not pitch well, but with the season lost, I thought the Mets should have stayed with him longer in the rotation. It could have only helped in his development.

I don’t know where the Mets’ thinking currently is on Parnell. If they like him in the pen, then keep him in the pen on the major league level where he had some success. But, if they believe he’s a starter, then they should have him start the season in the minors in that capacity.

However, and this is where the Mets’ lack of depth hurts them again, their bullpen is so weak they might not have any other option but to use him in relief, further delaying his development as a starter.

Dec 26

Dec. 26.09: Movin’ On ….

I hope everybody had a happy and safe holiday. I enjoyed spending time with my family. I don’t get out here that often, so the time is special.

I wrote several days ago it was time for the Mets to take a “take it or leave it” approach with Jason Bay. With his agent, Joe Urban, talking to the Red Sox and stonewalling the Mets, it’s obvious where Bay’s heart lies.

BAY: End the fantasy.

BAY: End the fantasy.


The Mets are ignoring one of the cardinal rules in dating when it comes to Bay, which is some girls play hard to get until they become hard to take.

It has come to that with Bay. It’s time to cut the fantasy with him.

He doesn’t want to play for the Mets, but would be willing to for five years and not four. I’m not deluded into thinking Bay is any different from any other free agent. He’s following the money.

The Red Sox don’t want to go over the $170 million luxury tax marker, so Urbon will have to be creative in backloading the deal. I would have to think the Red Sox would rather have Bay in their batting order over Mike Cameron (making him a fourth outfielder).

But, what about your heroes? Who’s going to play left field for them? They should be thinking hard about this because it should have been obvious to them Bay was a longshot.
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