Mar 17

Niese goes today ….

Jon NIese takes his 9.00 ERA to the mound today against the Braves. Niese is still in the hunt for the fifth spot in the rotation, but hasn’t overly impressed in his opportunity.

I’m still putting what’s left of my money on Livan Hernandez to win the role. That is, of course, if the Mets don’t pick somebody else up, such as re-signing Pedro Martinez.

Nobody has blown away the field. Tim Redding is hurting and could open the season on the DL. Freddy Garcia? That ended quickly.

I like what I saw of Niese last season, but he also had those moments that said he wasn’t ready. I’d hate for him to come up and get rocked the way Mike Pelfrey did. If there is a viable major league option to Niese, the Mets will take it.

Feb 27

Fifth starter update: Livan sharp; Garcia not so

GARCIA: Rough day.

GARCIA: Rough day.

Watching Feddy Garcia labor big time against the Cardinals. It’s early, but it has to be frustrating for Garcia, who has given up four runs on a pile of pitches. Garcia is trying to make the team as the fifth starter.

He’s competing with Livan Hernandez, who threw two perfect innings today, Tim Redding and Jon Niese.

If I were betting, I would say Hernandez wins the job, Redding will get slotted as the long man, Niese and Garcia would open in the minors.

Nov 19

Should they say goodbye to Ollie?

PEREZ: Should the Mets let him walk away?

PEREZ: Should the Mets let him walk away?

There are some of you who think I don’t care for Oliver Perez. Not true. I like the guy. I just don’t like watching him pitch on the days when Coin Flip lands on tails.

That said, he’s 27, lefthanded, and can throw the hell out of the ball. He made some progress this year with a modified delivery. Those days when he’s on, well, he’s pretty special to watch and worth keeping.

On those other days, well ….

The Mets say they’d like him back, but with a commitment toward going after Lowe and possibly setting up  Niese in the fifth spot, where does that leave Perez? Obviously, they aren’t optimistic.

I know he wants five years, and from $12 million to $15 million has been speculated. That’s a lot for somebody with great stuff but mediocre numbers.

So, should they cut their ties with OP or try to keep him.

Nov 18

On the Table: One more year for Pedro?

MARTINEZ: Wants one more year with Mets.

MARTINEZ: Wants one more year with Mets.

Bringing back Pedro Martinez for a year was a topic last night in Mets Chat Room, and his agent, Fern Cuza, said the future Hall of Famer wants another season with the Mets.

No surprise there.

“I can still pitch,’’ Martinez told me the morning of the season finale. “This hasn’t been a normal year for me.’’

With injuries and time off because of the death of his father, Martinez started and stopped several times last season. He was never in cync.

Assuming his health, where would Martinez fit?

Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine are ahead of him. Jon Niese will compete for the fifth spot, and the fourth spot in the rotation is uncertain. The Mets are looking at Derek Lowe and bringing back Oliver Perez for the fourth spot.

Martinez is no more than a fifth starter these days. He went at least six innings in half his 20 starts, and only twice pitched seven innings.

If healthy, perhaps he would have won 10 games instead of five. Who can say? Should the Mets give Martinez one more year or roll the dice with Niese?

Nov 07

On The Table: Ollie vs. Fuentes?

Let’s just say for the sake of the argument the Mets sign Derek Lowe. We know they aren’t going to break the bank in Yankee proportions, and it comes down to bringing back Oliver Perez at the reported number of $75 million or Brian Fuentes at $44 million and a handful of relievers.

What’s your choice?

I would take Fuentes and the relievers because it would solve the team’s greatest problem, and for the final starter I’d give Jon Niese a chance, or at worst, bring back Pedro Martinez as the fifth starter.

You know what you’re going to get from Perez, and the Mets could probably get the same from Niese and Martinez and whatever emergency starter they throw out there. That includes the angst of uncertainty.