With spring training nearing an end, the New York Mets and other teams are making their final preparations for the regular season.
Dillon Gee will make his last Grapefruit League start tonight against the Houston Astros to get ready for his first career Opening Day assignment.
Ike Davis and Lucas Duda will both make the Opening Day roster, though it’s still up in the air which one will get to face Stephen Strasburg on March 31st. (I don’t think it matters that much. As long as Terry Collins sticks with a platoon of Davis or Duda and Josh Satin at first base – something he’s probably not going to do – the Mets should manage to get some production out of the spot. If he decides one is an everyday player, I expect to see a repeat of last year’s performance.)
Sandy Alderson suggested that Juan Lagares would get the nod over Eric Young Jr. for the third spot in the outfield. If that decision lasts longer than Collin Cowgill’s status as the everyday centerfielder did last year, the Mets are making the right call – defense is worth more than stolen bases.
And while the Mets have been reluctant to spend money since Bernie Madoff, they did decide that it was worth $100,000 to keep an extra bench player for the first week of the season. They paid Daisuke Matsuzaka the retention bonus at yesterday’s deadline to keep him on a minor league contract rather than add him to the Opening Day roster now, which preserves flexibility in case Jon Niese isn’t ready to go on April 6th when the Mets need a fifth starter. If the Mets option Jenrry Mejia to the minors now, they’d have to wait 15 days to recall him. However, they could bring up Matsuzaka to fill in for Niese or replace Mejia at any time.
Finally, Matt Harvey and Alderson got together and hashed out the details of a rehab program that will allow the Mets’ ace to split time between New York and Port St. Lucie, Fla. Everyone is happy. (I still have no idea why this wasn’t done months ago, but at least we can move on.)
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Please keep Mets’ minor league coach Frank Viola in your prayers – it was reported that he will undergo heart surgery next week.
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There has been a flurry of player moves involving ex-Mets this week:
- The Miami Marlins released infielder Ty Wigginton.
- The San Diego Padres signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor league contract, just days after he was released by the Cleveland Indians.
- The Seattle Mariners re-signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor league contract almost immediately after releasing him to avoid paying a $100,000 roster retention bonus.
- The Washington Nationals released pitcher Chris Young.
- The Baltimore Orioles released pitcher Aaron Laffey.
- The Philadelphia Phillies released infielder Ronny Cedeno.
- The Atlanta Braves signed pitcher Aaron Harang, who was recently released by the Indians.
- The Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers signed outfielder Fred Lewis, who most recently played for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan.
Let me leave you with this fun video involving ex-Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey: