Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring is in the Air (or is that something else?)

Two posts in 1 week!!

Intra-Squad games are done. The real exhibition season begins. Then of course, the WBC starts and fraks everything up.

I’m of two minds on the WBC. I kinda like the idea of getting the All-Stars from different countries together. It will bring attention to the sport we all love, and expose some lesser known players to a larger audience.

What I don’t like is what I am sure most don’t, the fact that players don’t have the time to practice and play with their own team. This is especially a concern with those players who are joining new organizations. A big part of ST is team building, getting to know your new teammates, as is getting in synch with the expectations of your manager and coaches. While a new manager in baseball is not going to install a new system like in other sports, there still needs to be the beginnings of a relationship. So the Mets missing JJ Putz and K-Rod for a few weeks, well, it kinda sucks.

In any event, the positive part is that the back-ups will get more reps. Fernando Martinez (F! folks, not F-Mart) will see a lot of time in the outfield. Tatis will probably play some third with DW being on Team USA. Other pitchers will get reps in the pen with K-Rod and Putz being away. So those guys will get a chance to show what they can do. It doesn’t mean they will make the team out of ST, but it could help them get a call-up later in the year, or perhaps increase their trade value.

In any event, I am getting more and more excited about the coming season. I am encouraged by reports that Luis Castillo appears to be in better shape and is showing some life in his step and bat. I still abhor the idea of him leading off though. I am concerned about Redding, though he is supposed to throw off a mound today or tomorrow. I am not concerned about Freddy Garcia yet. It is early folks, let’s wait and see. I think he could be a key player this year. If he is able to come close to his pre-injury numbers, the rotation will be significantly improved. And if Livan Hernandez is healthy, he is added depth in AAA (I’m not holding my breath on that one btw). I just think Jonathan Niese needs some more seasoning. I really hope he is not the #5. If he is, then a lot has gone wrong regarding Garcia, Redding and Livan. That will not be good.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tanned, Rested, Ready

Time to wake from my long winter's nap.

A week in Florida (sadly, not near PSL, happily, some time alone with the wife in South Beach). The tan started. Even got in a round of golf (I still suck) and hit the gym pretty much every day. So, I am ready to start posting again. Of course, the frequency depends on work and the Mets. Of course, being away meant I missed the last part of Shea come tumbling down. I'll miss the old place. But look forward to the new.

I'm sure I was not alone in wondering just what the fuck Omar was thinking when he signed Livan Hernandez and invited him to camp. Then today we see that Tim Redding's shoulder is ailing him, because of slow recovery from toe surgery (why is it that we keep getting guys with bad toes? Pedro, El Duque and now Redding). Apparently, he rushed his throwing schedule due to a late start, and now the Mets will keep him off the mound for a few days. Not giving me the warm fuzzies.

I really didn't see a lot of news while I was sunning myself. Well, I did see that Pelfrey has all his money frozen (no, not the Madoffs, that other cheating bastard Stanford). Damon and Nady from the Yanks are caught up in that too. Common thread? Scott Boras. Scott's not having a great spring. One client can't find a job. One client got caught using roids. Now this. Pelf hasn't had a great spring, first flipping a golf cart, then admitting to seeing Marley & Me.

Otherwise, it's all the same shit. Players lost a lot of weight and are in great shape (see Castillo, Luis), are wishing that the season started yesterday (see Murphy,Daniel). And the media is dropping hints about how K-Rod will react the first time he blows a couple of saves and the media and fans start calling for Putz to close (leave it to Sherman to drop the hint now).

Some are upset about things that Jerry has said about situational hitting and being smarter and putting guys in place to help the team. I do agree that hitting Luis Castillo 1st is probably the dumbest fucking thing I've heard in quite a while. But I do agree that the team needs to change it's approach with RISP (anyone who disagrees, take a look at DW's stats from last year. And piss on the # of runs scored as a team, fat lot of good that did late in the year when they couldn't push a couple of runs across against the Cubs or Marlins. Timing means everything folks).

How will it all turn out? Will Luis really be better than last year? Will Beltran start off hot now that he won't have to learn how to slide again? Will Delgado start hitting in April and go all season strong? Will DW progress back to his normal RISP stats? I don't know. But I am ready for the ride to begin.