I picked up a few more packs of 2015 Topps baseball cards today – I didn’t want to let the coupon from my Target “value box” go to waste. Since I think everybody’s either well on their way to collecting whatever part of the set appeals to them (or doesn’t care about it at all), I’ll stick to the highlights.
I found two more Mets for my team set (only eight more to go, and I think a few of those are in the mail to me.)
While Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington publicly maintains that the team sees Pedro Alvarez as a third baseman, many believe the Pirates will move him to first base because of a throwing problem he developed this season. And that makes Davis expendable.
After being acquired from the Mets in April, Davis, 27, hit .235 with a .343 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and 46 RBI.
Davis earned $3.5 million this season and should expect some kind of raise through arbitration, so it’s possible that Pittsburgh will simply non-tender him. He could still be attractive to a team looking for a platoon player, and Martino mentions the Miami Marlins as one possible destination.
I’m not sure how I feel about seeing Davis play in the National League East again… while he didn’t do much against his former team this season (2-for-18, one run scored, two RBI), I’m afraid it might not continue to work out that way if he plays on a team that faces the Mets 18 or 19 times a season.
Geof surprised me with a couple of envelopes filled with Mets baseball cards this week. Here are a few of my favorites and some that just caught my eye.
I had just gotten back into baseball card collecting in 2002, so I really don’t remember whether “Heroes of Baseball” was a full set released by Upper Deck that year or just the name of this insert series. This card, #HTS3, commemorates the April 22, 1970 game when he struck out the last 10 batters en route to a 19-strikeout performance.
Mets fans of a certain age undoubtedly remember that game. Younger fans might remember hearing about it during a Mets broadcast – particularly during the era that Seaver was a TV analyst for the Mets, it seemed to come up quite often.
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.
The primary challenger to Davis for the first base job is Lucas Duda, and he’s been out of action for most of the past week with a hamstring injury. He managed a double and a home run in seven at-bats before landing on the injury report.
Neither candidate has been able to stay on the field long enough to win the job.
At shortstop, Ruben Tejada looks like a man who’s confidence has been shaken by all his unnamed critics in the Mets’ organization. He certainly hasn’t impressed, and I will be shocked if he isn’t booed loudly during Opening Day introductions at Citi Field.
To data, stopgap veteran Omar Quintanilla has gotten the most playing time at shortstop this spring: 30 innings in five games. Tejada’s played there in 26 innings over four games, and career minor leaguer Anthony Seratelli has 21 innings in five games. Despite all of the early camp discussion of giving Wilmer Flores a chance to play there, he’s only gotten six innings over two games.
That’s not really showing much of a commitment to anyone.
The Seattle Mariners continue to send scouts to Mets games, so there has almost certainly been at least some discussion about a trade involving Mariners infielder Nick Franklin… but the cost in prospects is likely to be high. Will Sandy Alderson be willing to pay it? Should he? My Magic 8-Ball says “Ask again later.”
One area where clarity does seem to be developing is the starting rotation. Daisuke Matsuzaka seems to be the favorite for the fifth spot, though it’s still too early to say with any certainty and I disagree with the choice. His main competition, veteran John Lannan and youngster Jenrry Mejia, seem to be getting consideration for the Mets’ bullpen.
And though Mejia wants to start, it looks more like the Mets are considering him for the bullpen. Consider that Dillon Gee pitched four innings in a “B” game on Monday morning, while Mejia worked two innings in relief of him.
There’s still time for everything to shake out, and Opening Day lineups matter more to fans than they probably should anyway. Just ask Collin Cowgill.