Dec 17

Can Cory Mazzoni Earn A Spot In Mets’ Bullpen?

One area the New York Mets are still working on is their bullpen, but manager Terry Collins said at the Winter Meetings one option could come from within in Cory Mazzoni.

Collins said Mazzoni, who was limited to 64 innings in 12 starts because of hamstring and elbow injuries at Class AA Binghamton, could be converted to the bullpen in spring training.

Several things could determine if a switch is made will be dependent on: 1) whether the Mets are able to sign a reliever, 2) whether they obtain a reliever in a trade involving Ike Davis, 3) Bobby Parnell’s status, and 4) how seriously they believe they could contend this season.

If one of the first two variables is reached, converting Mazzoni won’t be necessary, at least not immediately. If they don’t obtain anybody and Parnell isn’t ready, then they’ll need to add somebody.

Finally, if the Mets believe they can make a run in 2014, they might not want to entrust a bullpen slot in a rookie.

Whatever they decide, they should develop Mazzoni as a reliever in spring training because they’ll eventually need another arm out of the pen this summer.

Whether this is a permanent conversion depends on how he responds if his role is changed. Working in Mazzoni’s favor is he’s a power pitcher, with 74 strikeouts in those 64 innings. He also has good command with only 19 walks.

Assuming Parnell’s readiness following neck surgery, the Mets have six pieces in their bullpen, including Vic Black (the closer if Parnell can’t go), Scott Rice, Gonzalez Germen, Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia.

Another possibility could be Jenrry Mejia should the Mets another starter.

I would avoid that option if possible as Mejia has pitched better as a starter and is more comfortable in that role. Plus, Mejia’s development has been hindered by injuries and by bouncing around from starting and relieving roles. I’d like to see him in the area he’s best at – which is starting – and see if he can develop there.

Yes, the Mets have young pitchers in their system, but Mejia is one of them. And, the more they can develop, the better trade options they’ll have in the future.

ON DECK: You can meet Zack Wheeler and Daniel Murphy tomorrow.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 12

Wrapping Up Mets At Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The New York Mets left the Winter Meetings a better team than when they arrived. They haven’t been the busiest team this offseason, and didn’t make the biggest splash, but they have been far from dormant and above all, kept their word on being proactive.

COLON: Surprise addition.

COLON: Surprise addition.

Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson took considerable heat for being dormant and talking a good game, but the additions of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon were not talk. They aren’t the highest profile free agents, but will make an impact on the 2014 Mets assuming their health.

GRANDERSON

* Fills outfield spot they’ve had open since the beginning of last season.

* Adds left-handed power bat to give protection to David Wright.

* Provides veteran presence in the clubhouse along with a player who understands what it takes to play in New York.

COLON

* Fills one of the two slots for a starting pitcher for 2014, and assuming Matt Harvey’s return the following season, completes the 2015 rotation.

* Adds a pitcher who threw 190 innings in 2013 for Oakland, so we’re talking about durability.

* Adds mound presence young arms can learn from.

In addition to Granderson and Colon, this also came from Mets’ manager Terry Collins:

* Bobby Parnell might not be ready for spring training.

* As of now, Ruben Tejada is their shortstop.

* He’s prepared to go into spring training with both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on the roster.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

* Wilmer Flores is in better shape, which could enable him to play the middle infield.

* The Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter if Eric Young doesn’t play.

* Said Chris Young is poised for a surprise season.

The Mets still have a way to go and must address the following:

* Find a resolution to the Davis situation. Sandy Alderson spoke with the Brewers on his way out of town, but Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said nothing is happening there.

* They need another starter, at least for the first two months of the season until they are ready to bring up Rafael Montero.

* The acquisition of a veteran back-up shortstop behind Tejada.

* Bullpen depth in anticipation of Parnell not being ready.

* Determine who will be their leadoff hitter when Eric Young doesn’t play.

Although the Mets were more active than many anticipated, I felt they let several opportunities slip through their grasp, among them:

* Did not pursue Phil Hughes. Who would you rather have, a 27-year-old Hughes for $24 million over three years or a 40-year-old Colon for $20 million over two years?

* Despite needing bullpen help, didn’t make a run at Joba Chamberlain, who signed with Tigers.

* Could have had Nate McLouth over Chris Young. McLouth signed today with Washington.

There’s still a lot of time and a lot of work to do before spring training.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 11

Mets Not Sure Bobby Parnell Will Be Ready For Spring Training

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The New York Mets don’t know whether closer Bobby Parnell will be ready for spring training as he continues his rehab following neck surgery on a bulging disc.

Parnell is to be re-examined next week.

PARNELL: Will he be ready?

PARNELL: Will he be ready?

“Hopefully he will be able to start resuming some baseball activities,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “But I don’t know where he is at the moment.  He’s feeling better.’’

Parnell lost 30 pounds since surgery, which sapped his strength. He has to regain the weight and stamina. Collins said he hasn’t spoken with Parnell, which, honestly, comes as a surprise. You’d think he’d check in.

“We’ve got to wait to see how he shows up, where he’s at in a month,’’ Collins said.  “He hasn’t done much yet, so he’s got to get himself in shape.  I think get his legs underneath him and start throwing.  We’ll just have to wait to see.  Bobby has always been a guy that’s down there in January anyways.’’

Maybe so, but Parnell hasn’t reported before following neck surgery.

After several so-so seasons bouncing around the bullpen, Parnell seized the closer role last year when Frank Francisco went down with an elbow injury.

Parnell saved 22 games in 49 appearances, and produced a 2.16 ERA over 50 innings. Always a power pitcher with a high strikeout ratio, Parnell learned to pitch last season, and drastically improved his control evidenced by a 44-12 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.

Parnell gave up only one homer and had a 1.00 WHIP.

If Parnell isn’t ready for spring training, and at this time no assumptions should be made that he will be, Vic Black, whom the Mets acquired from Pittsburgh in the Marlon Byrd-John Buck trade, is presumably first in line to replace Parnell.

Black throws a wicked fastball, and like Parnell is a strikeout pitcher.

The Mets are looking for bullpen help and might consider released Indians closer Chris Perez, who will come with baggage.

Last year, Perez and his wife were busted for marijuana possession after he was mailed the dope to his house … addressed to the dog. Reminds me of the episode of “Married With Children” when Al Bundy applies for and gets a credit card in his dog Buck’s name.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 06

No Worries, Mets Land Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson got what he wanted, but the New York Mets got what they needed when the outfielder agreed to a four-year, $60-million contract.

Granderson, at 32, wanted an extra year, while the Mets, desperate to not only add a power bat to their outfield, but avoid the perception of inactivity, acquiesced on the extra year.

It is the largest deal the Mets have given an outfielder since they gave a four-year, $66-million contract to Jason Bay, who flamed out to such a degree general manager Sandy Alderson bought him out of the final year.

After repeated promises they would spend this winter to reach a competitive level, the Mets could not go back on their word, even with the loss of Matt Harvey for the 2014 season.

Even with Harvey this year the Mets wouldn’t be able to add all the pieces they needed to compete for a wild card. And, they certainly wouldn’t have been able to add them all next winter.

If nothing else, the Mets needed to show their frustrated fan base they were making an effort. The perception was the Wilpons were sitting on their wallets, but this dashes that notion to a large degree.

Yes, Granderson is a high strikeouts, low on-base percentage and low average player, but his game is driving the ball for extra bases and scoring and driving in runs. This is what the Mets have been lacking.

On the plus side, Granderson can run, and while he has hit leadoff during his career, he’ll likely bat behind David Wright to offer the protection he’s missed since Carlos Beltran was with the Mets.

Granderson also is a left-handed presence the team has needed because of the inability of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda to even come close to expectations.

The Mets have resolved their outfield holes, but with the Winter Meetings set for two days in Orlando, they have a considerable amount of work to do, beginning with their starting pitching.

With Harvey out, the Mets need two starters at the back end of the rotation. The Mets also don’t know if Bobby Parnell will be ready to move back into the closer role, and after him, still need to add to their bullpen.

The Mets are still in flux as to their first baseman, and want to trade either Davis or Duda. They also want to add a back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

The Granderson signing figures to push Eric Young out of the outfield and possibly to second base, which could make Daniel Murphy available in a trade. My first thought is they might offer him to the Yankees as a replacement to losing Robinson Cano.

Nov 24

Mets Have Same Issues As When Season Ended

With it being 27 degrees outside, what better time to think about spring training for the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie?

Spring training will be here before you know it, and the Mets aren’t close to being ready, having not filled any of their myriad of the holes they had at the conclusion of last year’s 74-win season.

Not one, and please, don’t even attempt to justify Chris Young as an answer.

The Mets have roughly three months to address the following concerns:

ROTATION: At least the Matt Harvey question was answered, as it is better to know in the negative rather than to wonder. Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and the sampling from Zack Wheeler comprises the starters. With the uncertainty of Jenrry Mejia recovering from elbow surgery and the preference to wait on Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets have two slots to fill, with none immediately from the inside.

BULLPEN: Bobby Parnell is recovering from surgery, so he’s a question. LaTroy Hawkins is now in Colorado. A late-season pick-up last year, Vic Black will either be the closer until Parnell returns or in a set-up role. Scott Rice, Carlos Torres and Scott Atchison are expected back, but two or three other roles could be determined during spring training.

CATCHER: Travis d’Arnaud goes in No. 1, but the Mets are still searching for a veteran mentor. Although they never were going to get him, the Mets have to be pleased to see Brian McCann going to the American League, even if it to the Yankees.

FIRST BASE: Reportedly, there was interest in Ike Davis, but where did it go? Supposedly there was interest from Milwaukee, but that appears to have cooled. Perhaps, something will warm up at the Winter Meetings.

SECOND BASE: Daniel Murphy might be a tradable asset, but will go as a package for anything substantial. He won’t bring back much in a one-for-one trade.

SHORTSTOP: This is a major concern, but it appears Jhonny Peralta is close to signing with St. Louis, which just traded former World Series hero David Freese. That franchise just keeps rolling on. Ruben Tejada is attending a fitness camp in Michigan, so maybe they are re-signed to going with him for another year.

OUTFIELD: No, .200-hitter Young is not the answer, but acquiring him does seem to answer the question of whether Jordany Valdespin is in their plans. Juan Lagares and Eric Young have tentative spots, in center and left, but right field is open. Matt den Dekker could fill a spot, but won’t provide the offense they want.

So, nearly two months after the end of another disappointing season, the Mets are in the same position from when we last saw them.