Mets Memo: 2/14
The Mets start play at their spring training home, Tradition Field, on February 25th!
It is only fitting that when Fordham received her first true snow day in more than a year that Pitchers and Catchers reported to spring training a few days later. Citi Field may still be covered in snow, but baseball's on its way. I can finally come out of my cave (people seem a little...angrier since I went away in November). Consider this the first edition of Mets Memo, where I'll try to give you my opinions on everything Mets-related. But, I guess that'll be more of a guideline than an actual rule.
So, in honor of baseball starting up again in Port St. Lucie, here's this week's memo:
- The Rotation is the Key: Don't get me wrong, the Mets have some great guys at other positions, but their four arms (including whoever ends up being the fourth one) will make or break the Mets' season. Just how NBA teams talk about building around a "core" group of players, this is the Mets' core. Expect Terry Collins & Co. to go easy on the guys coming off of surgeries (Harvey, deGrom, Matz, Wheeler), especially given that spring training is starting a little earlier this year. I would caution against this though. I know that ever since Johan Santana, Collins has been hesistant in pushing guys' limits. At the risk of sounding too grumpy, whatever happened to when guys learned to live with the pain? Maybe the reason players' bones are as brittle as Walter Donovan's is because everytime they wince they're surrounded by a half-dozen doctors and concerned front office hacks. Just saying.
- The Outifield is As Confusing as the End of Primer (seriously go watch it, you won't understand it): We've got one piece in place for sure, Cespedes will be in left field. After re-signing with the Mets there's no way they'll make him play centerfield, a position he felt uncomfortable in and wasn't right for in the first place. One down. Then it's a game of mix-em-and-match-em. You've got, in my opinion, three qualified outfielders for two spots (Bruce, Granderson, and Lagares). I would put Bruce in leftfield. I know this may be unpopular - Bruce wasn't succesfull at all after being traded to the Mets at the deadline last year. But maybe the relief from the expectations will do him some good mentally. He'll stop swinging for the fences every time, stop trying to be the hero, and focus on the little things. Then, in center, I'd play Granderson. Granderson's numbers fell in 2016, but he's still good. I wouldn't start him in the leadoff spot, as Collins opted to do often last year, but I'd have him on the regular lineup for his veteran presence and durability.
- The Gang's All Here (No, Literally, the Gang's all Here): The roster is the same as it was last year. The Mets signed a couple of guys to minor league contracts, but otherwise it's guys who have been here before. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means more team cohesion and a better veteran presence in a clubhouse that needed that sorely after David Wright exited early last season. But on the other hand, it could mean the same problems as last year. Embracing player development and trying to solve problems internally is good and fine, but sometimes testing the free-agent waters for fresh faces is a positive. The Mets barely made a peep at the Winter Meetings. When does Sandy Alderson's cool-calm-and-collected approach to business turn into lethargy? I guess we'll find out come this year's trade deadline.
- Mets fans CAN and SHOULD Feel Excited: People are bewildered when I don't sound like I'm as excited as Lebron at the World Series, but years of dissapointments has made me naturally conservative when it comes to the Amazins. This is the first time in my lifetime (albeit, a relatively short one) that New York is a Mets town --yes, it is a Mets town. It's weird, and it always feels too good to be true. I see noticably more Mets' caps on the subway. Attendance is up at games. Even my friends who don't care about baseball know about the Mets. All Mets fans, myself included, should be embracing this. I can finally look that Family Guy joke in head-on and say, "That was then, this is now!"
That's all I've got for this week! Back to the cave!
AND, as an added bonus: this week's Mets social media post you need to see.