Monday, March 28, 2005

Batting Eighth For Your 2005 New York Mets... DAVID WRIGHT?!

Newsday's David Lennon writes that Willie Randolph has pretty much decided to bat Wright in the 8th slot to start the season. Wright batted 8th in yesterday's game, and Randolph pretty much said that the lineup he used for that game is his Opening Day lineup.
Randolph suggested that Wright could bat anywhere from second to eighth in the lineup, but the manager was noncommittal when asked about his lineup yesterday. "You've got to put somebody at eighth," Randolph said. "I'm going to put the best lineup out there for that day. Nothing is etched in stone." (Newsday)
This is a bad move. Wright has had a decent Spring and played extremely well last season (.293 with 14 home runs in 69 games). If you bat him 8th, Wright does not get the advantage of protection from a Cliff Floyd or Mike Cameron behind him, and he won't be able to fulfill his full potential. I disagree with this move vehemently. But, Randolph has proven himself more than competent thus far, so maybe there's something that we can't see.
Jose Santiago, a middle-relief candidate, combined with Manny Aybar and Bartolome Fortunato to one-hit the Nationals through six innings. Mike Matthews stumbled in allowing two hits and two runs in 1 1/3 innings and Heath Bell finished up with three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. The bullpen decisions won't be made until later this week, but one pitcher no longer in the running is Scott Strickland, who was reassigned yesterday along with Scott Stewart and Orber Moreno. Strickland hasn't recovered completely from Tommy John surgery in 2003. He might decide to stay in Triple-A for the Mets instead of opting for free agency.

"I did my part," he said. "I guess, in a sense, I'm not lighting up 93 or 94 on the radar gun, but it's hard for me to swallow." (Newsday)

That's what I'm yappin' about! Well, not totally. It's sad to see that Strick and Moreno couldn't make the cut, and it may seem as if Strickland's career is pretty much over, but more than likely the Mets just don't want him pitching in cold weather. I'd really love to see him make it back and be a stellar force like he was before.

But, what I was yappin' about was the performance of Santiago, Aybar, Fortunato and Bell. That's encouraging. As a friend said to me yesterday, "Maybe the bullpen isn't as bad as we thought."

The Mets also optioned Jae Seo and Jeff Keppinger to AAA. (And yes, all that information was from one single article.) I'm not really suprised about either of those two getting sent to Norfolk, so I guess I can't analyze it much.

Kaz Ishii pitched well yesterday in a minor league game (Glavine and Kaz were bumped to a minor league game to allow the Battle of the 'Bubble Boys' to take place).
A day after getting rained out, Ishii breezed through two innings against the organization's Triple-A players, limiting the Tides to one hit and walking none while striking out four in a two-inning outing. The southpaw threw 17 of 25 pitches for strikes.

"This trade and me being able to be coached by Rick is a very big turning point in my career," Ishii said through interpreter Nozomu Matsumoto. "My philosophy a little bit has changed. Right now I'm not really too concerned about velocity." (Daily News)
Ishii hit 87 once, but was pitching 83-85MPH most of the day.

If Peterson can get his control down, get his confidence up, and then tell him to start throwing all out again, we might have a decent 5th starter on our hands. Granted, not even close to the quality of pitching that Scott Kazmir would've brought us (I'm getting all angry at Duquette again as I type this... I better stop). I mean can you imagine - Pedro, Glavine, Benson, Kazmir, Ishii (well, Trachsel if he hadn't injured himself). If you replace Zambrano with Kazmir and Ishii with Trachsel, your New York Mets have one of the best rotations I've ever seen. Ok, I'm stopping. I'm seething now.

I want to know which minor leaguer tried killing their manager yesterday...
Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell was taken by ambulance to the hospital after being hit with a thrown baseball on the back of the neck on a back field. He was released an hour later, sore but all right. (Daily News - bottom of the article)
Actually, since he's ok, it's almost funny. Yeah, it got a smile out of me at least.

The Chicago Tribune reported today that the Oakland A's are VERY happy with their rookie closer (Huston Street), and may be making Dotel available for trade.

Dotel a Met again? I'd do it. I said from the day it went down that I disagreed with the trade, and I said it even more when 12 months later the Mets had nothing to show for it. Maybe, just maybe, Hampton did get us to the World Series. But we didn't win it. I still wouldn't do the trade.

The Star-Ledger says that Pedro is indeed going to pitch either tomorrow or Wednesday for a final time of the Spring, and then pitch again on Opening Day.

"I'll be there," he said of his next start, the date of which won't be determined until the Mets see how Martinez feels today. "There was some stiffness, but it was not as bad as the other day. I think I'll be fine (today) because I feel fine right now."

Mike Piazza looked like his old self yesterday - with a MONSTER home run blasted against the Nationals. He lost some weight, but yet, he looks stronger than he did last year - more fit than he has in a couple of years. I think he's going to have a good year. Not the .320/35/100 numbers he put up in his prime, but .290/20/85 is very possible. Piazza, however, does not even want to guess his production.
"I just want to stay healthy the whole season," Piazza said. "I feel if we're playing well as a lineup and scoring runs, I can slide in and do my part." (NY Times)
I still think he'll hit .290 with 20 homers and 85 RBIs. He'll also catch 120 games. I think he has confidence in himself, but he doesn't want to set his expectations too high, and that's understandable. But he doesn't have to carry the team this year, and he can just go out and do his thing. He'll do well.

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