Sunday, March 6, 2011

Very Few Openings for Opening Day

    This week, I wanted to talk a little bit about the position players with our beloved New York Mets. Now, a lot of the slots are settled already, especially with the announcement of Carlos Beltran voluntarily moving to right field to accommodate Angel Pagan.

    I think that Carlos did that as much to avoid the every day questions, just as much as the fact that he is not physically ready to take the center field position. Now, some of that is his own doing, being that he waited too long to have his knee surgery done, and hence, this has become the end result.

    Having said that, with Jason Bay back in the fold, there really are only 2 positions out of the starting eight that you would consider up for grabs. I'll start with the less obvious one, which is the catching position. While the young phenom Josh Thole has certainly impressed, and he is perceived to be the starting catcher on Opening Day, I don't believe he is guaranteed the job, just yet. Veteran catcher Ronnie Paulino will be given a look by new Mets manager Terry Collins – as soon as his visa problems clear up, that is. After all, he did have 316 at-bats with the Marlins last year. However, until he can get out of the Dominican Republic, and finish out the the 8 games remaining on his 50-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy, it's all pointless.

    As for the second base job, it looks as though the top 3 candidates there are upstart Justin Turner, the re-surging Daniel Murphy, and the virtually hated Luis Castillo. We'll start with Murphy. We know that the guy can hit. Only question was could he catch a cold at second base? If so, Met fans would love to hand the keys to him, and revoke Castillo of his. So far in the spring, his .250 batting average is good enough to lead the 3 candidates.

    With Justin Turner, he is an unknown, to say the least. He will definitely need an extended look in the spring to find out if he is a serious contender to head to New York.

    That bring us to Mr. Castillo. While he is not winning this 3-man race at the moment, nothing would shock me, when it comes to him. After all, there are only a handful of Mets fans and media – if that – who thought he would make it this far.

    We can always worry about the bench, towards the end of spring training.

    Also, I'll get more into what I think this lineup needs to produce, when the bell rings for the regular season on April 1 in Florida.

    One other side note: Carlos Beltran will be doing some DHing, at least for the next few games, it seems. From first glance, he is running well, which is always a good sign. We'll see if that lasts over 150 games in the regular season.

    In the meantime, let's roll forward, and talk to you soon. My audio thoughts can be heard this season on the New York Mets Audio Minute at

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