Well it took a while but this Spring Training is finally finally over. We can get down to playing games that count and I, for one, am thankful for that.
This spring training was about not only getting ready for the season but also to put to bed some questions that have been plaguing our beloved team, the NY Metropolitans. Apparently the better teams - you know, the ones that win 90 or more games - have none or at least very few question marks on the field. Let me review with you what we have going for(?) us.
1B- Now see, that's a question mark right there. The big master plan was to trade either Luke or Ike, preferably Ike I think, and clear up the position for the other guy. But Mr. Alderson did not find a trade to his liking even though a couple of teams seemed to be really hurting (like even worse than us) at that position.
So plan B was to bring both to camp and let them compete for the job. Surely one would do lots better than the other.
Uh uh. First to keep it an even competittion they both got hurt immediately. Fair's fair I suppose.
Then they both did somewhat OK hitting in the last two weeks of the spring games. So we moved to plan C which is that, and I can't believe I'm writing this, they're both still with us.
Duda, Ike, Duda, Ike. I kind of wish we could combine them into one guy. I'd call him "DIKE" and he'd be a powerhitting lefty batter who could throw with either hand, couldn't run a lick, and may not be hitting over .200 come June 1st. At least we'd be saving a roster spot.
2B- This is my position and I'd love to say it's no question mark at all. But it kind of is too. The team likes my hitting BUT they want more walks and more extrabase hits from me. And to top it off they still don't really believe I am good enough fieldingwise to be a "real" secondbaseman. Add to that the fact that I may be making too many dollars for what they think they're getting from me. So I'll call second a mini-question.
I'll bet some day I'll be with a team that will appreciate me for what I can do instead of pecking away at the things I can't.
SS- If second is a mini-question then short is a mega-question. The plan here was to get someone who could outhit and outfield our friend Ruben. That didn't work at all. They don't want to pay the big bucks that Mr. Boras wants for his client Stephen Drew, they are not sure whether Nickie Franklin from the Seattles can play shortstop (and if we want a SS who really can't play the position we already have Wilmer Flores simmering in the minors ready to come up and not play SS adequately). Then there's that Didi guy from the Arizona Snaky team. He's a real nifty fielder but may not do more with the bat than Ruben does and we got Ruben here already.
3B- OK, hooray. This is not a question mark. It's our star captain David Wright. Just stay healthy my friend and we won't have to worry about the "hot corner."
RF- This is probably not much of a question too. The ex-Tiger, ex-Yankee Curtis Granderson figures to be out there as long as he can stay healthy. I was with him the other day when he first took the field at Citi. His jaw dropped when he saw how far the fences were out there. I told him he shoulda seen it a few years ago when the fences were like out in the parking lot.
Last I saw he was out near the warning tracks laying down the CSI dead people marking tape so he can see how many times he hits balls that would be HRs in Yankee Stadium but just long flyouts at Citi. Good luck with that, Curt.
CF- We're back in the question mark zone. Do we use nifty fielding Juan Lagares or is Chris Young there so that the speedster Eric Young the Junior can play left? This is the thing that manager Terry has been puzzling over for weeks. I think the pitchers like the guy who can best track down balls in the gap. But Terry knows that we are not a great hitting team and might go for the guy who can steal 40 or more bases. I would just hope that he'd be able to get on base often enough to steal all those bases.
LF- See what I just wrote about center. If Lagares is the middleman then it's Chris. If Chris is in center then it's EY. One thing that brings shudders to the pitchers is the thought that Terry may put Duda out there occasionally. That's sort of a triple waiting to happen.
C- This was not supposed to be a question but it is. When we swapped R.A. to Toronto to get Travis D'Arnaud we were supposedly getting a guy who could really rake but might not be much of a defensive catcher. We may have gotten the opposite. He seems quite acceptable behind the dish but how much he'll hit is still something we need to learn. I hope he gets the job done because behind him we have close to nothing.
Starting Pitching - This is supposed to be our strength only that staying healthy has been a problem. With Harvey gone for the season (and Hefner too) we thought it would be Niese who would be our opening day starter. But he spent all of March in the MRI machine so he goes to the back of the line. Mejia has looked good on the mound except he has bunions and tends to get hit by balls hit by batters. Dice-K was dicing and K'ing but the club decided to send him down. This surprised me a bit but a lot of the stuff we do surprises me.
And except for hogging all the food at the clubhouse buffet we're all liking and expecting big things from a big thing named Bartolo Colon. I swear I always thought Wilmer Flores was the slowest runner I'd ever seen. But as they say, you could time Bartolo running with a sundial.
Relief Pitching- Our team has a tradition of always wanting to fix and improve the bullpen each offseason. But it never actually happens. Bobby Parnell is our closer theoretically but his neck problems have slowed his fastball. Maybe that Valverde guy will come in and set up for Bobby or even do some saving for him/us. We've got lefties like Scott Rice who is terrific unless he has to face a righty batter in which case he is awful. The other lefty is veteran named John Lannan who used to be a mediocre starter for the Washington Nats. What kind of reliever he'll be for us is something I guess we'll find out. We expected Vic Black to be a key member of the pen except that he forgot to pitch good down in Florida so instead he got a ticket to Las Vegas.
The other guys in the pen would seem to be Jeurys Familia, Gonzalez Germen, and Carlos Torres. I've seen all of them be good at times and then other times they suck. So we're probably not going to have a real kick-ass bullpen. We Mets and their fans are totally used to that.
So Dear Diary, as you can see we still have more than a few question marks. We'll give it our best shot and hope we have the talent to win a bunch of games. Wish us luck.
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@dr4sight
There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.