Posts Tagged ‘spring training’

By Steven InmanSpring 2013 014

In one of the more shocking developments of the 2014-15 Met off season, Dillon Gee is still a Met. Gee, 28, is scheduled to make $5.3 million in 2015 but doesn’t seem to have a rotation spot with the Mets. Gee will be a free agent after the 2016 season. With Matt Harvey coming back after Tommy John surgery in 2013, Gee appears to be the odd man out.

It appears the Mets overvalued Gee’s market during the Winter Meetings and now they are stuck with an expensive long man. The Mets have no desire to pay that kind of money for any of their relievers let alone a swingman who would much rather be starting somewhere.

It is a very similar situation to what happened with Ike Davis and the Mets last winter.

The Mets got some decent offers for Davis but elected to hold out for a better offer that never came. Instead Sandy Alderson kept Davis into the 2014 season and then moved him in a salary dump in late April. The Gee situation looks eerily similar.

The Mets don’t want payroll to exceed $100 million so keeping Gee now could prevent the Mets from making a key move at the deadline that could push them into contender status. Gee has been a solid pitcher for the Mets but based on their rotation and current payroll he has more value in a trade than on the Mets. Their best chance to move him now is having a pitcher on another team get injured in spring training and then calling the Mets on their available right-hander.

By Steven Inmanphoto

Daisuke Matsuzaka had a very strong start Monday vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Matsuzaka threw six-plus innings and gave up just one run. It appears that the right-hander will begin the season in the Mets rotation and will start the first Friday of the season vs. the Cincinnati Reds. Dice-K has an opt-out in his contract Tuesday but is now highly unlikely to use it.

Make no mistake about it; Dice-K is a stopgap pitcher until a guy like Noah Syndergaard is ready for the major leagues. Matsuzaka is just simply too slow to the plate and his games are often agonizing to watch but he pitched well enough this spring to make the team.

Terry Collins was worried about putting Jenrry Mejia in that spot in the rotation because he threw such a small number of innings last year coming off surgery. If Mejia started the year in the rotation he would have to be shut down very early in the season due to his innings limit.

By Steven Inmanphoto

As Met fans know the team didn’t really address their bullpen this winter. The team planned on going with internal young relievers such as Vic Black. Black, 25, was acquired last August from Pittsburgh in the deal for Marlon Byrd. He looked good in his brief big league time last year. He was declared early on in camp as the 8th inning guy, the bridge to Bobby Parnell. (Who the Mets HOPE is healthy) Black has badly struggled this spring.

Black has given up a whopping 18 base runners in just six spring training innings. He is having trouble throwing strikes and you wonder if he goes into the season struggling, what other options the Mets have available. At this point you would think they stick with the guys in their own system for better or worse. If the Mets don’t believe they can upgrade shortstop, a more pressing need, then you can forget about them looking to address their bullpen externally.

Luckily Black still has 15 more days until Opening Day to get right and his spot in the bullpen doesn’t look to be in any danger but this could be a major concern without an answer. Black has a great arm and can throw very hard but he doesn’t have a track record at the major league level yet.

The Mets need Vic Black to be what the Braves have in Luis Avilan, which is a dominant young set-up man. That may be too much to ask for a kid with 17 big league innings under his belt…

By Steven Inman

David Wright continues to be the one consistent on the Mets roster every year

David Wright continues to be the one consistent on the Mets roster every year

With games officially underway in Port St. Lucie it is now time to project the Mets 2014 25-man roster. We did this last year and had some success at it so I figure we should try it again. Even though it looks like the Mets didn’t make a lot of changes this offseason, the 25-man roster will look completely different with the exception of the infield.

Infielders: This is the only spot that the Mets didn’t change at all this winter with an external player. However the infield could be changed at some point. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will continue to compete for the first base job. The loser will likely be on the bench, barring a trade. The Mets could still make a move at shortstop but for now, Ruben Tejada will be the starter. Travis d’Arnaud is the only change in the infield. A lot is expected from the young catcher.

  1. David Wright 3B
  2. Daniel Murphy 2B
  3. Ruben Tejada SS
  4. Ike Davis/ Lucas Duda 1B
  5. Travis d’Arnaud C

Outfielders: The Mets are unlikely to carry an outfielder on Opening Day that spent Opening Day 2013 with the team. It is a completely revamped outfield. The Mets spent most of their offseason budget on addressing their outfield. All four outfielders should play a lot.

Juan Lagares is the only Met outfielder from 2013 expected to make the team

Juan Lagares is the only Met outfielder from 2013 expected to make the team

  1. Curtis Granderson OF
  2. Chris Young OF
  3. Eric Young Jr. OF
  4. Juan Lagares OF

Starting Pitchers: Without Matt Harvey, this starting rotation is still pretty crowded. The Mets 5th starter spot will likely come down to John Lannan and Dice-K. Jenrry Mejia has been getting consideration for a long relief role. The Mets don’t seem to know what to do with Mejia. As of right now I would bet Dice-K is the Mets fifth starter. This is the order the Mets are expected to go the first time through the order.

  1. Jon Niese LHP
  2. Bartolo Colon RHP
  3. Dillon Gee RHP
  4. Zack Wheeler RHP
  5. Dice-K RHP

Bullpen: This bullpen has the potential to be really good with a lot of young guys but also has the potential to be as bad as it was last year. With very little experience we really don’t know what to expect. The bullpen could change a lot between now and Opening Day. Also keep in mind that Carlos Torres is out of options which makes him near a lock to make the team.

  1. Bobby Parnell RHP

    Vic Black will have a crucial role in the Mets pen

    Vic Black will have a crucial role in the Mets pen

  2. Vic Black RHP
  3. Jose Valverde RHP
  4. Scott Rice LHP
  5. Jeurys Familia RHP
  6. Carlos Torres RHP
  7. Jenrry Mejia RHP

Bench: Other than Anthony Recker the Mets bench will look completely different on Opening Day than it did a year ago. I don’t believe the Mets are done making moves and are still in the hunt for a middle infielder, whether as a starter over Tejada or as a backup.

  1. Josh Satin 1B/3B
  2. Anthony Recker C
  3. Lucas Duda 1B/DH
  4. Middle Infielder (Not on Mets yet)

By Steven Inmanima

With the Mets first Spring Training game officially underway it is now time to see the Mets top 5 questions for Spring Training. While the Mets look improved, they still have plenty of issues for Terry Collins and company to work out.

1.  Who plays first base?

Obviously the Mets expected this issue to be solved before Spring Training started. They were deep in talks to deal Ike Davis elsewhere to the point where even he was surprised that he was in Port St. Lucie. He probably has the advantage over Lucas Duda to this point but the first base job is still pretty much wide open. Josh Satin should play every day against lefties anyway at first base. Barring a trade, both players should still be on the Opening Day roster.

  1. What does the outfield look like?

It appears that all four of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Chris Young and Eric Young Jr. will play a lot this season. The Mets don’t really have another outfielder that is currently pictured to make the Opening Day roster. I believe Juan Lagares deserves to play every day which would free Young Jr. to be a pinch running weapon off the bench, kind of like what the Reds did with Billy Hamilton last September. This outfield has the potential to be very special. “Runners are going to be very hesitant to take the extra base on us.” Eric Young Jr. told Kevin Burkhardt during the SNY Mets telecast Friday. While Granderson and Chris Young are expected to play every day, Young Jr. and Lagares will compete for a starting job in Spring Training. If Eric Young Jr. wins a starting job, then he would play left and Chris Young would move to center.

  1. Who is the Mets 5th starter?

If Jenrry Mejia is healthy he should be the Mets 5th starter. He has #2 starter upside but with his violent delivery and injury history, there is no reason to think that he can make it through a full season healthy. Dice-K and John Lannan will also compete for the job and the best performance in camp should win the 5th starters job. It is possible that one of these veteran guys end up as a long man in the Mets pen.

  1. How does the bullpen shape up?

Pretty much everyone in this bullpen is coming to camp with major questions. Bobby Parnell is coming off a major injury, Vic Black, who is expected to be the Mets set-up man, has less than 20 big league innings under his belt. The Mets didn’t bring in anyone on a major league deal to add to the bullpen and winded up losing LaTroy Hawkins. The Mets hope is that Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth can regain some lost velocity and they can be the bridge to Parnell. Young guys like Jeurys Familia, Josh Edgin and Gonzalez Germen will be crucial for this questionable Mets bullpen.

  1. What do the Mets do at shortstop?

This is the one question that Terry Collins likely doesn’t have control of. Reports of Ruben Tejada still being overweight have continued to pop up throughout camp. Wilmer Flores has lost so much weight that he is now being considered for shortstop reps in spring training.  Stephen Drew is still on the market somehow which should continue with no true suitor emerging. His agent Scott Boras speculates that Drew could wait until after the Drew draft so he wouldn’t be tied down to draft pick compensation. Nick Franklin has also come up in Mets trade rumors but the team is unlikely at this point to trade one of their top pitching prospects when they are unsure if he could handle shortstop on an everyday basis defensively.

Which Mets question are you most concerned about?

By Steven Inman

If Terry Collins has his way, Juan Lagares could start the season on the bench or even in Triple A

If Terry Collins has his way, Juan Lagares could start the season on the bench or even in Triple A

Terry Collins has yet to decide on his starting outfield but we already know that Curtis Granderson and Chris Young will play every day. Eric Young Jr. is the favorite to be an everyday outfielder according to Terry Collins. Collins says unless he changes his approach, Juan Lagares will be a bench player. “As we sit here today, Eric Young is the guy you want to see at the top of the lineup,” Collins said last week.

 In that scenario Chris Young would play centerfield, Granderson would play right and Eric Young Jr. would play left field. This would be a mistake.

Juan Lagares, is the Mets best centerfielder by far and he should play every day in center even if he hits .240 again. He needs to work on his approach but he should be a better hitter coming into his second season. Lagares can bat 8th as long as he is playing centerfield every day. His defense will make up for his bat over the course of a full season.

Eric Young Jr. is best used as a fourth outfielder who can come into the game late and pinch run. The Mets haven’t had any speed on their bench in some time but that could change with EY Jr.

Chris Young has the better arm compared to Grandy so he should play right field. He also probably has slightly better range than Granderson so he should play the bigger right field at CitiField for the Mets. That would put Granderson in left, a position he has played before.

If Lagares has a strong spring all of this comes to fruition but he had shown enough last year that he shouldn’t have to win the job this spring.

By Steven Inmanima

The Mets have collected a few intriguing arms to compete for the fifth starter spot as we hit spring training. The job a few weeks ago looked like a sure thing for young Jenrry Mejia. Well now the right-hander has a little competition. Sandy Alderson has brought in John Lannan and resigned Daisuke Matsuzaka to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training. The two will compete with Mejia along with Jacob DeGrom for the last spot in the Mets rotation. So who deserves the job?

Matsuzaka, 33, was decent with the Mets last year in 38 innings. He went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 7 starts with the Mets. He looked better as he went along but he just takes so darn long to pitch, sometimes it’s tough to watch. Matsuzaka will make $1.5 million if he makes the team and can earn a little more money in incentives.

Lannan, 29, badly struggled last year with the Phillies before going down with a knee injury. The left-hander went 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA last season in 74 innings. The issue with Lannan is he really doesn’t strike anyone out and he has been homer prone in the past. However he has had a lot of success in the N.L. East as a member of the Washington Nationals so he can’t be counted out in this race. He is young enough to bounce back. Plus getting out of Citizens Bank Park to spacious Citi Field would benefit the pitcher a lot. Lannan will also make $1.5 million if he makes the team plus incentives. It would be nice to add a second lefty to the Mets rotation.

Jenrry Mejia has spent a lot of time on the sidelines over the past few years

Jenrry Mejia has spent a lot of time on the sidelines over the past few years

Mejia, 24, has the most upside by far of anyone in the Mets 5th starter race. The problem with Mejia is he just can’t stay healthy. He pitched just 27 innings with the Mets in 2013 before going down for the year with elbow problems. Mejia’s delivery is just so violent that it would be a surprise if he didn’t continue to have arm problems. I believe his best chance of success as a pitcher is to become a full time reliever. That doesn’t appear to be the plan however and as long as Mejia is healthy I believe he is the best man for the job. If he could just stay healthy he could easily be a #2 starter for the Mets going forward according to many scout and analysts.

If Mejia does not have a good spring training the Mets can send him down he has an option remaining.

The last candidate is probably the least likely to start the year in the rotation and that is Jacob DeGrom. DeGrom, 25, has moved through the minors very quickly and looks like he will make his major league debut in 2014 with the Mets. However he still has some work to do at the Triple A level so it looks like barring injury he will start the year in the minors.

Those are the four candidates for the job. It really will come down to performance and health in spring training and will be one of the top story lines to watch this March besides who wins the first base job.