With just under four weeks till pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, the 4th and 5th spots of the rotation are up in the air but the bullpen is starting to take shape. Here are the highlights (or lowlights) of this week:
With the 1 – 3 spots expected to be filled by Mike Pelfrey, R. A. Dickey & Jon Niese, Chris Capuano, Dillon Gee and Jenrry Mejia will all be vying for those back-end spots.
Free agent Jeff Francis signs with the Royals for a one year, $2 million contract and could earn another $2 million in incentives, too steep a price for the budget-conscious Sandy Alderson. Francis was one of two starters that the Mets targeted for the rotation and would have slotted in as the number 4 starter. So the Mets focus their energy on their 2nd choice…
Chris Young, the other free agent on the Mets radar is still close to making a decision on where to play. He is the top remaining starter available now that Jeff Francis has signed with the Royals. The Mets have been rumored to be close to signing Young for two months now. The Nationals were also rumored to have an interest in Young.
Johan Santana has been cleared by Mets doctors to begin a throwing program leading into spring training. That does not mean he will start throwing just that he has been cleared to throw. He’s expected to be out for the year but being the bulldog that he is we may be lucky enough to see him pitch this year. Continue reading
With just 6 weeks until Spring Training the Mets biggest worry will, by far, be their pitching staff. With the hope that the Mets can bring on one of the two free agents they are targeting, the pitching staff lines up as follows:
Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey and Jon Niese, followed by either Chris Young** or Jeff Francis**, then Dillon Gee or Chris Capuano. (**this is assuming the Mets can obtain Young or Francis who are free agents).
In 2010, the Mets had question marks in their entire pitching rotation. The only person that could be counted on was Johan Santana. This year you can add Santana to the list of question marks for this pitching staff making the “ENTIRE” pitching staff a question mark.
Pelfrey, Dickey and Niese combined for 30 wins last year. Somehow this pitching staff will have to find another 45 wins to have a respectable season. Continue reading
Rookie Nick Evans was the story of the day playing in his first game as a Met. He went 3 for 4 with three doubles and two RBI’s. Now that’s the way to start your career! He played a solid left field, getting six putouts as well.
Claudio Vargas was excellent for seven innings today pitching on short rest. He only allowed 2 runs on four hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. Two of his first three starts have been really good. He could give Mike Pelfrey a run for the fifth starter spot when Pedro Martinez comes back next week.
Carlos Beltran had the big hit in the first inning; a three run double that set the tone for the Mets. Carlos Delgado also chipped in with his third home run in as many games. His average is still at .222 but at least he’s showing some power. His homer came in the ninth inning off Josh Newman in garbage time after looking silly against lefty starter Jeff Francis.
David Wright also had a solo homer in the second, went 1 for 3 and had a stolen base. Nice comeback game for him after looking pretty bad last night.
Ramon Castro went 3 for 4 with one RBI as well.
The Mets losing streak comes to an end after five games. Uhhh.
New York Met (22-24) at Colorado Rockies (19-29) 3:55pm
Claudio Vargas (0-2) vs. Jeff Francis (1-4)
TV: Fox Radio: WFAN
What to watch: The Mets have turned into a train wreck on this road trip, finding every possible way to lose. Vargas pitches on short rest this afternoon. His last start in Atlanta was pretty bad going five innings and giving up four runs. Jeff Francis has been pretty bad this season as well. He’s been the Rockies ace but hasn’t had a good season. After losing the first game of the series last night, the Mets need to take the next two games if there’s any chance of staving off the vultures over Willie Randolph’s career with the Mets.