The Mets continued their franchise tradition of winning on Opening Day… here’s hoping they can do it again on Wednesday when I go to my first game of the 2017 season.
For one night at least, everything went right in Mets-land.
- Michael Conforto went 4-for-4 with a walk in his second major league game.
- Kelly Johnson made a good first impression in his Mets debut by going 2-for-6 with a home run.
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis also went 4-for-4, driving in four of the Mets’ 15 runs.
- Lucas Duda hit a pair of home runs, offering hope that he’s returning to his April & May All-Star candidate form.
- Daniel Murphy went 2-for-4, including a home run
- Matt Harvey went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs… oh, and he pitched a pretty good game too.
It’s fun to watch your team score 15 runs on 21 hits in a single night instead of taking a whole week to reach those totals. Imagine if Terry Collins issued that “hit or sit” ultimatum a little bit sooner.
The Mets have a tougher challenge awaiting them today. Zack Greinke hasn’t given up a run since June 13th… but maybe, just maybe, the Mets can be the team to put an end to his scoreless innings streak.
And maybe, just maybe, they can find enough offense on a consistent basis to get their amazing starting rotation to the postseason where anything can happen.
It might take something on the order of a minor miracle, but after games like last night’s it’s easier to believe.
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.
Opening Day is about three weeks away, and the New York Mets have not really found clarity on many of the major issues they faced going into spring training.
Terry Collins wanted to get Ike Davis 90 to 100 at-bats this spring, but that’s not going to happen. On Monday, Davis was limping around the clubhouse in a walking boot intended to protect his sore right calf. He played in two games before getting injured, hitting a home run and striking out three times in six at-bats.
Unbelievably, Davis had not gotten an MRI yet even though he’s been out of action for nearly a week already. According to Newsday’s Anthony Rieber, Davis hopes to play again by the beginning of next week. Collins hopes to get Davis into minor league games as the DH this weekend, according to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.
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.
After lefties Josh Edgin, Steven Matz, Adam Kolarek and Jack Leathersich were among the first round of cuts Monday, Collins talked about getting Lannan some work out of the bullpen soon. (Someone should let the Mets’ skipper know that Lannan is not a prototypical lefty specialist – for his career, both lefty and righty batters have an identical .755 OPS against him.)
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.
You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.
On Wednesday, the New York Yankees signed Rakuten Golden Eagles star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million contract.
Tanaka’s signing marks the end of the Yankees’ shopping spree, which included a seven-year, $153 million contract for center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a five-year, $85 million deal for catcher Brian McCann, a three-year, and a $45 million contract for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The moves were necessary because the Yankees are coming off of their worst season since 1992, and their farm system has no players who are ready to provide significant help at the major league level.
The Yankees’ projected 2014 payroll currently stands at $210.8 million, with eight players signed to contracts with an average annual value of more than $10 million. While they should be competitive, they are by no means the favorites in the American League East. And they can’t really spend half a billion dollars every off-season, can they?