Feb 10

Five Most Intriguing Mets This Year

As there is every spring, the Mets have a myriad of questions to be addressed. To me, I’ve come up with a list of the five most intriguing questions facing the team this year These are all individuals, which means it doesn’t pertain to a specific area, such as the bullpen or bench.

The following individuals will most capture my attention:

CESPEDES: Big contract; big expextations. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Big contract; big expextations. (Getty)

Yoenis Cespedes: Let’s face it, he signed a $75 million contract, so that will put a bullseye on anybody’s back. I’ll be curious to see if he really wanted to be here or will bide his time and opt out after a year. Even if he doesn’t stay the three years, he’ll get $27.5 million for 2016. That’s a lot of money for a streaky player whose concentration isn’t always there.

David Wright: All of these lists have to include Wright for the simple reason of his back health. Gone are the days when you could have written him in for .300, 25 and 100. He’s no longer that player because of injuries. There’s also the matter of a contract that has him signed through 2020. Wright ended the season healthy, but he only played for a couple of months. Now he faces spring training, a full six-month season and hopefully the playoffs. Does he still have it at the plate? Can he physically play the position? How much rest will he need?

Matt Harvey: What? You think I’d forget about him? He’s two years removed from Tommy John and there apparently aren’t any innings limitations, although the Mets say they’ll watch him closely? They said the same thing last year. By all accounts, Harvey is physically ready. He also has a chip on his shoulder for how the season ended, with him throwing a dugout fit so he could pitch the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series. Need I continue? Harvey should be beyond motivated this year, hopefully to where he’ll win more than 14 games. I wrote earlier that I pegged him for 20. I’m not backing off that.

Travis d’Arnaud: He’s another one with health concerns. If he can stay healthy then perhaps he can live up to expectations of his bat. If healthy, I don’t see why he can’t have a breakout year. If so, the Mets might have a decision to make regarding Kevin Plawecki.

Jeurys Familia: We’ve seen numerous hot-and-cold closers over the years. Forty saves one year; 17 the next. Familia was terrific during the regular season after replacing Jenrry Mejia. He coughed up a World Series game, so how will he respond from that? He’s got wicked stuff, but he’s only done it for one year. Great closers do it year after year after year. Sure, I’m curious about Familia. You should be, too.

 

Feb 09

Mets Should Move Conforto Around

I read something the other day about the Mets giving Michael Conforto some time in right field and immediately thought, well, why not? I would also consider giving him some reps in center field. And, while they’re at it, why not try him at the top of the order?

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

CONFORTO: Could see some time in right. (AP)

I don’t like typecasting a young player to one position and one slot in the batting order. My thinking is the more versatile a player is the more his value is enhanced.

Conforto in right makes a lot of sense because Curtis Granderson will be gone after the 2017 season. Who knows, maybe Yoenis Cespedes might be gone, too. Assuming Granderson is gone – and days Terry Collins might want to rest him this year – then Conforto could play right, Cespedes could move to left and that way they can give Juan Lagares some time in center.

As for hitting him at the top of the order, although Granderson did well last year, there are times when his power potential could be better suited in the middle of the order. And, Conforto showed signs of being a good hitter. I envision him as a line drive spray hitter with the potential of having a high on-base percentage.

And, assuming Granderson is gone in two years, they’ll need a leadoff hitter again. So, what’s the harm in giving him a look-see there now?

 

 

 

Feb 06

De Aza On Block … Or Is He?

Well, that was quick. With Yoenis Cespedes now in the fold, Alejandro De Aza is suddenly now available. Or, at least that is what is being reported because of the crowded situation in the Mets’ outfield with Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and De Aza.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said a trade is possible, but not imminent.

Since De Aza, who’ll make $5.75 million this season, isn’t expected to get much playing time, why not deal him? Because trading De Aza is the logical assumption, other teams would think the same thing so his value would appear to be limited.

So, unless De Aza is part of a larger package, I wouldn’t think teams are lining up for him. So, the thought here is De Aza isn’t going anywhere soon.

Feb 03

Alderson Done Shopping

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this afternoon the team is done shopping for the winter, but that doesn’t mean something won’t get done during spring training. Let’s hope so, because I’m not convinced the bullpen still doesn’t need some work.

Toward that end, Alderson’s decree means Tyler Clippard won’t be signed to a major league contract. Clippard wants a two-year deal.

For the Mets, a major league deal means someone must come off the 40-man roster. The acquisitions of left reliever Antonio Bastardo and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes cost the Mets reliever Carlos Torres (cleared waivers and became a free agent) and Darrell Ceciliani (designated for assignment and traded to Toronto for cash).

“We just lost Ceciliani because we had to make a roster spot,” Alderson told ESPN.  “We’re at the point now where we have to balance what we might lose player-wise on the 40-man with what we might gain. … Giving a major league contract, you lose some flexibility – the ability to move people in and out. You almost make a commitment that I’m not sure we’re prepared to make right now with what’s on the market.”

For now, it is just as well the Mets are done. Like I said, it doesn’t mean things might not happen in spring training. As Opening Day gets closer and teams trim their rosters, there’s a new wave of free agents to hit the market. Who knows? If Clippard isn’t signed he might be available and willing to take one year.

Or, maybe there will be somebody better than Clippard.

 

 

Feb 01

Mets’ Bullpen Still Needs Work

With pitchers-and-catchers two weeks away, the Mets still have work to do with their bullpen. Signing left-hander Antonio Bastardo to a two-year deal. As it is now, the Mets’ bullpen is constructed with closer Jeurys Familia, set-up man Addison Reed, lefties Bastardo, Jerry Blevins and Sean Gilmartin, and right-handers Erik Goeddel, Logan Verrett and Hansel Robles.

CLIPPARD: Still a possibility. (AP)

CLIPPARD: Still a possibility. (AP)

Perhaps the Mets’ biggest pen question outside of depth is Familia. He came out of nowhere when Jenrry Mejia was suspended and developed into a dominant closer. However, he didn’t have a great postseason which begs the question: Did the workload catch up with him?

The Mets haven’t given up on re-signing Tyler Clippard, who appeared in 32 games for them and was 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA. He struck out 26 and walked 10 in 32 innings before running out of gas and losing the set-up role to Reed. Somebody will have to go if Clippard is signed, and the guess here is could be Goeddel.

I’m all for brining back Clippard, but not for two years. I would give him one year plus an option which would kick in based on the number of appearances. If he hadn’t lost steam at the end I would consider it, but not given with what we saw last year.

Bartolo Colon will likely re-join the bullpen when Zack Wheeler comes off the disabled list. Mejia will start the season on the suspended list. It is also possible Rafael Montero could open the season in the bullpen. Should Montero open the year in the minor leagues, the hope here is it won’t be in the rotation but in the

For all the potential of the Mets’ starting rotation, a thin bullpen makes it vulnerable.