Mar 11

From day-to-day to week-to-week

First it was a day or two. Then  it was day-to-day. Then, the beginning of this week. Now, it is the end of this week for David Wright and his sore ribs. I’m glad the Mets are cautious with him, but it makes me wonder if they missed something in the beginning.

We’re just into the games and already the Mets are a hurting group. Wright, Lucas Duda, Andres Torres. Gives one pause on what is in store for this summer.

 

Mar 05

Spring training opener: Mets vs. Nationals.

Dillon Gee will start tonight against Washington, followed by Matt Harvey, Miguel Batista, Daniel Herrera, Tim Byrdak and Frank Francisco.

Gee and Harvey should get two innings apiece. I think it was a good call to ease Harvey into things rather than give him a start right away. He’ll have enough adrenalin as it is, so there’s no need to push the envelope with him, especially since he doesn’t fit into this year’s rotation plans.

There will be opportunities later this spring where Harvey will get to start and be in the spotlight.

GEE: Gets the ball tonight.

Gee took advantage of his opportunity last summer caused by injuries to force his way into the rotation and at one time was the Mets’ most effective pitcher. If Johan Santana doesn’t pan out physically, and we’ll know more about him tomorrow, Gee could be in line for the Opening Day start.

Manager Terry Collins pitch projected closer Francisco earlier in the game where he’ll face tougher hitters to sharpen him for the season. Early on, the last few innings are played out by minor leaguers and prospects who won’t be on the major league rosters.

Normally, starters will throw roughly 30 innings during the spring while relievers will get from 10 to 15 innings. It is easier for relievers to get their innings through simulation and split squad games.

Here’s tonight’s Mets’ lineup:

Andres Torres, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

Justin Turner, 3b

Ike Davis, 1b

Jason Bay, lf

Lucas Duda, rf

Valentino Pascucci, DH

Josh Thole, c

Ruben Tejada, ss

LINEUP COMMENTS: Was curious to see who would bat second. Murphy has good bat control and patience at the plate that makes him the prime candidate. You can’t help but read in the following days about the leadoff spot. Let’s face it, regardless of who the Mets put out there he can’t live up to Jose Reyes.

ON DECK: Mets playing it cautious with David Wright.


Mar 05

Judge rules against Mets …. will be appealed

As the Mets get ready to open their spring training schedule tonight – David Wright is not expected to play because of a strained rib cage muscle – the issue that will be the backdrop to their season moved centerstage this morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled Mets owner Fred Wilpon must pay as much as $83 million because of the Ponzi scheme. The ruling also set a March 19 trial date for another $303 million.

This decision will be appealed, so the Wilpon’s aren’t hitting in the bottom of the ninth. At least not yet.

I don’t know how this will finish, but today only deepened the hole and put the Mets under more financial pressure. I’d bet the Mets would jump at the chance to settle for just $83 million, but this will drag on, their legal fees will mount and we can disregard any idea of being able to acquire talent at midseason if it is competitive.

Regardless of how today’s decision would have been, it would have been appealed. But, the negative ruling only reinforced the sentiment this will be a dark season.

On the positive side, Ike Davis is cleared. However, the prospect of him having a lengthy illness and Wright hurting already reinforced the Mets’ lack of depth. On that note, I am pleased Justin Turner will get the opportunity to back up Davis at first rather than disrupt Lucas Duda’s development in right field.

 

 

Feb 08

The two Mets I am most curious about this season.

No doubt there are a myriad of questions and curiosities about the 2012 Mets, but two I am wondering about most are Lucas Duda and Mike Pelfrey.

DUDA: Can he be the real deal?

I’m skipping the obvious choices, David Wright, Johan Santana and Jason Bay. With Wright, either they’ll trade him or they won’t. With Santana, he’s either healthy or he’s not. And Bay? Based on his first two years with the Mets, I have no expectations.

Duda and Pelfrey are different to me because their performances can dictate a lot about the future.

Duda combines loads of power potential with limited defensive capabilities. He’ll be in right field, a position where power is a necessity. We can’t project Duda for 30 homers because he’s never done it. For that matter, he hasn’t hit more than 10, and that was last season in a short window.

That short window production is what has us salivating. There’s no doubting his strength, and the shorter fences should help, but there are other factors. How will he adjust to National League pitchers and how will they adjust to him? Will he produce over the long haul and with the pressures of starting?

Duda is still a babe in the woods, but that potential has me thinking that if he can handle right field, this could be a player with a bright future.

We’ve been saying “bright future” about Pelfrey for years. He seemingly had a breakthrough 2010, but regressed greatly last season. Well, which is it? Pelfrey is still young enough where he can have a good career. He’s also not commanding the big dollars.

However, he’s an enigma and what he does this season could determine whether the Mets cut ties with him or make a commitment. Pelfrey’s performance could also dictate the future of pitching coach Dan Warthen.

If Pelfrey pitches as he did in 2010 and several of the other Mets’ questions are answered in the positive, the Mets could be competitive and entertaining this summer. If not, the projected long summer will be upon us.

Feb 01

What would success be to the 2012 Mets?

On this, the 50th anniversary of the Mets, I am sure they’ll have a better record than their founding fathers, but not have much better odds of success.

The ultimate success is defined by winning the World Series, followed by reaching the playoffs, winning your division, then finishing over .500. Realistically, a lot of things have to break right for the Mets to have a winning season.

But, with all that seemingly out of their reach, what would define a successful season?

I’m narrowing it down to a handful of things:

1) Some resolution, either way, to the Mets’ financial struggles. There’s such a negative feeling permeating this franchise because of the unknown ramifications of the Ponzi scandal. Even a court decision will go through the appeals process, so it won’t happen this summer. But, a little movement one way or another could tell us what direction the franchise is heading. Even if the news is bad, that’s better than not knowing and speculating.

2) A healthy and productive David Wright is important because he’s the face of the franchise and has been a shell of his All-Star self. If the Mets are to rebuild, they’ll need plenty of young pieces and Wright is the only player capable of bringing in that kind of talent.

3) A strain on the Mets are the contracts of Johan Santana and Jason Bay. If they can be healthy and perform even remotely to their potential, perhaps Sandy Alderson can find a taker. He did so with Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez and their impossible contracts. Maybe he can do it again. Yes, I know we’re talking a long shot here.

4) The Mets have some young talent that offers hope of better days. Jon Niese, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy aren’t without ability. You can throw Bobby Parnell in with that group, too. Maybe these guys can show us a glimpse of something promising in the future.

5) The Mets desperately need a fast start against the brutal schedule in April and early May to avoid a double-digit deficit before the weather gets warm. If the Mets can play alert, aggressive baseball out of the gate they might draw some people to Citi Field and perhaps curb some of the flood of red ink.

If all of these things happen it won’t guarantee a winning season, much less the playoffs. But, should they happen it might ease the negativity swarming around this franchise and that would be a start.