Spring Training Developments
With another 3 weeks before Opening Day, maybe it's time for some assessments of exactly where we are at with our beloved New York Mets.
I'll start with the situation in right field, and Carlos Beltran being out for a few days with a sore knee. It's certainly not good, and while it opens the door for someone such as Lucas Duda(.296, HR, 2 RBI this spring) to show what he can do, I'm sure that's not what the Mets brass was anticipating, heading into spring training. If Beltran is not 100% by Opening Day, do you risk putting him out there, and exposing him to further injury? Remember the multiple Jose Reyes injury debacles over the years, and those were at the beginning of his career. Duda, along with Willie Harris(we all know about his glove vs. the Mets) would be the prime candidates for a fourth outfielder. Any way you slice it, those are not great options, at least to the untrained eye.
I'll move along to the continuing saga of Oliver Perez(1-1, 9.00, 5 BB, 4 K). He has now been reassigned to the Mets bullpen. I'm not sure if it will make a big difference, or even if Perez will make the team, period. You would have to think on some level that this demoralizing for Perez, as he was reduced to once a month mop-up duty last year, under Jerry Manuel, and now this. Given the state of the Mets bullpen before you give the ball to Francisco Rodriguez(which is another story), I don't think you can entirely rule him out.
Speaking of the bullpen, that brings me to Jason Isringhausen(0-0, 2.25). He has appeared to open some eyes in camp, so far. As I mentioned, given the state of the bullpen, particularly the instability of Bobby Parnell, and the departure of Pedro Feliciano, Izzy could fit in anywhere from the 6th to the 8th innings. I know it's a scary thought for some Met fans, but I could think of worse.
Speaking of which, I think Luis Castillo(3 for 14) is putting up at least somewhat of a fight for the second base job. He's drawn a couple of walks, and has a couple of hard hit balls this spring, but I still don't think it will be enough for him to overtake sentimental favorite Daniel Murphy(.292, 6 RBI). Even if Murphy didn't get the second base job outright, he will still be considered valuable as a guy who can play third base, first, and a little outfield, although I wouldn't test that theory, if I were Terry Collins. Brad Emaus(.167 average) could probably use more seasoning in the minors, while Justin Turner(.167, 1 RBI) hasn't fared too much better. It looks like in the end, it will come to Murphy and Castillo.
Also, it looks more and more like Josh Thole is coming into his own, while Ronnie Paulino is just trying to get back into the United States. Maybe I was wrong about there being competition for the catcher's spot. Wouldn't be the first or the last, unfortunately.
Talk to you next time...