Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Amazing Race

It's time for yet another edition of my weekly update on the Races in Met's camp. Some of the races are still wide open and some of them are getting ever closer to to being squared away. This morning Dillon Gee, Boof Bonser, Ryota Iggarashi, Taylor Tankersley, Dusty Ryan, Raul Chavez, Russ Adams and Jason Pridie were assigned to minor-league camp. This doesn't really close the book on most of the races but it does on one.

The Rotation:
Locked and Loaded:

Mike Pelfrey - Mike Pelfrey is the opening day starter regardless of how bad he's looked this spring. Thus far he seems far too hittable and some fans are pointing to the death of his therapist as the root of the issue. Whether it is or not is open for debate but his spot in the rotation is not even open to discussion.

Jonathan Niese - If you read the blog, you know that I love Jonathan Niese above all other healthy Met pitchers... currently on the major-league roster. He looks like he's a front-end starter who is going to go places and that has me excited. I think 2011 could be a break-out year for Niese and his enormous nose.

R.A. Dickey - You can't not like Dickey. TRY. See? He's the man. What with his fast knuckler, slow knuckler and pirate beard. Dickey will be the work-horse of the Mets rotation for the next two years. Knuckle-ballers can through about 9000 pitches before getting tired so I think that's fine.

Chris Young - Chris locked up a rotation spot about a week ago. It was hardly ever in doubt. He's not only looked healthy, but he's looked like he's going to be a PLUS pitcher... not just an inning eater.

Chris Capuano - With Gee gone, Capuano has locked up that 5th starter job. I would prefer the freedom of using Capuano as an LRP/LOOGY but until Santana can join the rotation, the Mets can't afford to do that.

Outside, Looking In:

Dillon Gee - Gee was demoted this morning and I think that it makes sense. Gee will be up this season but given the choice of letting Gee build confidence in AAA and having him flop in the majors... I think the Mets made the right call.

Pat Misch - Poor Misch... I think there is ZERO chance he makes the team. When exposed to waivers he'll likely get snagged by someone who needs a pitcher in AAA in case of emergency. He's done nothing wrong... he's just out of options and the Mets don't need him.

The Bullpen:

Locked and Loaded:

Closer: Francisco Rodriguez - Frankie has looked VERY good this spring. I think he might look good enough that he could be trade-able this season. That's a dream within a dream as the Mets don't want him to have the option lock and could actually get something in return.

Setup: Bobby Parnell - Parnell has made me nervous at times but he's still got a powerful arm and an assured role. He might slide down to Middle Relief if Buchholz or Isringhausen get off to good starts.

LOOGY: Tim Byrdak - Byrdak has won the LOOGY job, despite Perez just entering it. If Ollie gets a role on the team, it won't be at the expense of Byrdak who has looked AWESOME.

In The Mix:

Middle Relief/Long Relief: D.J. Carrasco - I've listed the Mix in order of how likely I think it is they make the team... so this top 4 is a pretty likely bunch. I don't love Carrasco but his two year deal pretty much secure his job.

Middle Relief: Pedro Beato - Mets don't want to lose Beato, who was a rule 5 pick, so expect him to make the team. I think at the same time, he's probably less of lights out reliever than Buchholz or Isringhausen. He's also a very different breed of pitcher.

Middle Relief/Setup: Taylor Buchholz -
Buchholz has been near perfect this spring and could compete to be Frankie's setup guy in April. I still think he gets into trouble with walks.

Middle Relief/Setup: Jason Isringhausen -
Everyone is rooting for Izzy... accept maybe Accosta, Misch and Perez. He's been effective and I thin would be a great asset to the team with his diverse repertoire.

Middle Relief/Long Relief: Manny Accosta -
I only see Manny making the team if Alderson is willing to eat crow on D.J. Carrasco. I like Accosta better. I think he's more talented and has had the better spring but the two year commitment on D.J. looms large.

Long Relief: Pat Misch - Misch is not a lefty specialist. He could be a righty specialist... but that would be a waste. What he is... is an effective innings eater. What he'll be is waived. Yankees might be a team looking to claim.

LOOGY/Long Relief: Oliver Perez - Perez has not yet failed as a lefty specialist but the fact he entered THIS competition late leaves him miles behind Tim Byrdak. His $12 Mil contract and ability to pitch multiple innings puts him a peg over O'Connor.

LOOGY: Mike O'Connor - I'm not a giant fan of Mike but he's had a good spring. Even so... Byrdak has been better and he's easier to part with than Perez.

Outside, Looking In:

Ryota Iggarashi - Iggy has been great at times this spring but I don't think he's destined to make it as a Mets reliever.

Dillon Gee -
Gee is going to go to AAA before he'll go into the pen. The Mets don't want Mejia to be the only reserve starter at AAA.

The Bench:

Locked and Loaded:

Ronny Paulino - My money is on Nickeas to serve as the backup until Ronny is allowed to return to the lineup. However ones elligable... Paulino will be the powerful right-handed side of the catching platoon.

Scott Hairston - Hairston will be on the bench... unless Beltran is on the DL to start the season. If THAT is the case, he'll platoon with Harris or Duda in RF and another bench spot will open up.

Willie Harris - Harris is going to be the defensive replacement for the OF. He'll come in late in games to give Beltran and Bay a break and to make some of those heart-wrenching defensive plays he used to make AGAINST the Mets.

Daniel Murphy - The Mets don't see Murphy starting at 2B. I still say he'll get plenty of starts there given his bat. However Murphy will serve as a super-sub and should get at least 1 AB a game.

Chin-Lung Hu - Hu has a job as the backup middle infielder. Why the Mets can't have Hu win the second base job is beyond my grasp. Apparently Luis Hernandez is a better hitter... because nobody is a better fielder.

In The Mix:

Lucas Duda - Like I said, Duda's shot at the bench/platoon role is dependent on Beltran's health. Mets will not risk losing Duda to waivers so they will need to plan his landing points carefully.

Nick Evans - Evans is probably going to miss out on winning a job with the Mets and I think they'll end up losing him to waivers. Perhaps if the Mets decide to send Duda down and part ways with Emaus, Evans will find a spot on the bench.

Brad Emaus - The Mets DO want to keep Emaus but he hasn't done much to win that starting 2B job. If he doesn't win the job and Beltran is healthy it's hard for me to see the Mets keeping him. There IS a chance Toronto will sell him back to us.

Luis and Justin will not be on the bench...


Second Base:

In The Mix:

Luis Hernandez - Collins made me very unhappy when someone let leak that Hernandez was winning the race and he didn't deny it. Luis Hernandez is the SECOND best fielder and probably the second worst hitter in the competition. Give me Castillo, Emaus, Murphy, Turner or Chin-Lung Hu over Hernandez.

Brad Emaus - He had a nice double on Wednesday, but he's not exactly blowing anyone away. The Mets would like him on the team but will have trouble doing that if he doesn't win the job out of spring training.

Outside, Looking In:

Justin Turner - Turner is going to wind up in AAA which isn't the end of the world, but the Mets will need to squeeze a lot of second basemen into AAA and AA. Turner, Satin, Valdespin, Havens... Plus Flores and Tovar should be moving up from A+ before long. Justin survived another round of cuts and had a BIG day at the plate yesterday. Think of his chances being similar to the Devil's chances of making the playoffs. He can not afford to lose ground from here on out.

Daniel Murphy - The Mets don't see Murphy as a starting 2B which is a shame because I think he give the Mets the best chance of winning. EVEN WITH THE INEVITABLE ERRORS. He'll be on the team and get ABs but I insist on complaining.

Lurking in the Shadows:

Reese Havens - If Havens is healthy to start the season and hits well in AA or AAA (wherever he lands) the Mets might have another Ike Davis situation. Met fans will be calling for Havens to be promoted a lot. Expect it.

Jordany Valdespin - Jordany needs to learn the HARDEST lesson a minor-leaguer can learn. He needs to learn to take a walk. If he does that quickly... he could come up and play 2B THIS year. If he does that by the end of the year, he'll be in the Reyes replacement running. Or... at least the 2012 2B race.

JUST CUT!!!

Luis Castillo - Andy Martino's lovely article today about how Mets fans are racist for wanting to be rid of Castillo aside. The Mets knew that their best chances of winning were not WITH Castillo in the lineup. Sandy Alderson will address the media later today and I'm sure it will sound something like, "The Mets and Luis came to the understanding that the best thing for both sides would be to drop Castillo now. We wish him well blah blah blah..." This means that the heat is on between Emaus, Turner and Hernandez with not much time left. Castillo, I'm sorry that you got demonized by the fans of New York for an error that was entirely Omar Minaya's.

P.S. Sandy... you couldn't make this announcement at the same time as you announced that Gee and others were being sent to the minors?

Phlavio's 25:

Lineup: 8
1. Jose Reyes, SS (S)
2. Angel Pagan, CF (S)
3. David Wright, 3B (R)
4. Ike Davis, 1B (L)
5. Jason Bay, LF (R)
6. Lucas Duda, RF (L)
7. Brad Emaus, 2B (R)
8. Josh Thole, C (L)

Bench: 5
1. Ronny Paulino, C (R) [Mike Nickeas, C (R)]
2. Scott Hairston, OF (R)
3. Willie Harris, OF/2B (L)
4. Daniel Murphy, Util (L)
5. Chin-Lung Hu, MI (R)

Rotation: 5
1. Mike Pelfrey, SP (R)
2. Jonathan Niese, SP (L)
3. R.A. Dickey, SP (R)
4. Chris Young, SP (R)
5. Chris Capuano, SP (L)

Bullpen: 7
CL. Francisco Rodriguez, RP (R)
SU. Bobby Parnell, RP (R)
SU. Taylor Buchholz, RP (R)
MR. Jason Isringhausen, RP (R)
MR. Pedro Beato, RP (R)
LOOGY. Tim Byrdak, RP (L)
LRP. Manny Accosta, RP (R)

Carlos Beltran on 15-Day DL

1 comment:

Phlavio said...

Next Time I wait until the game starts before posting an article on a cut day.

I would say it's a two horse race between Emaus and Hernandez but Turner DID have the big day yesterday.