Photo: SportsMascots Wikia
As the month of March winds down, the talk in Pt. St. Lucie for the snowbirds turns to plans of packing up and picking a day to head north.
Permanent residents have mixed feelings as they will miss their friends but are happy that the slower pace of life returns.
For you diehard Met fans the big question is who makes the 25 man opening day roster? Most people do not know this but each player on the roster receives a separate check in addition to their MLB salary. My good friend Glen, a former big leaguer, tells me the check used to be called “Baseball Card Money”. Now he believes it is called the “Merchandising Check”. And he assures me it is much more than what he was paid for a full year’s work back in the 70’s when he played. His check barely covered a season’s rent and living expenses.
All in all the Mets had a good preseason. A number of questions were answered, no major injuries, no drama in the clubhouse, no trips to the police station and I hope they figured out that Tim Tebow has very little chance, if any, to play in a big league game!
The health questions surrounding the starting pitching staff were pretty much answered until Steven Matz went down with elbow discomfort. I think he and Zack Wheeler will be just fine over time and you will see both of them back on the mound in Queens sometime in May once the weather warms up. Harvey’s last start was very optimistic.
The injury bug hit the outfield also with Juan Lagares going down with a rib injury and Brandon Nimmo out with the lingering effects of a pulled hamstring. Both will bounce back by Mid-April. I have a good feeling and will be rooting for Michael Conforto to step up and show that he belongs in right field, not Jay Bruce who will be traded in July to fill a void in the bullpen or behind the plate.
I am still questioning the catching trio. Playing time will be determined more by who is pitching than who, if any, can swing a hot bat. And please, the starting pitchers have to look over to first base once in a while with a runner on to help these guys slow down the oppositions’ running game.
The right side of the infield with Lucas Duda, Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores will do just fine. They just need to be careful to avoid injuries and I would suggest using Wilmer as much as possible to take the load off the other two.
With Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes, the left side of the infield is a strength defensively but they need to make sure they get on base consistently for the big bats of Yoenis Cespedes and Bruce.
Jeurys Familia’s suspension will put pressure on the bullpen but guys like Josh Edgin will step up big and fill the void. My concern is how much time will it take after Familia comes back before he is effective.
This past month was everything I could have asked for on and off the field. Plenty of sun, more good rounds of golf than bad ones, plenty of rounds of my favorite beverages with my old and new friends and, man, did we eat well. Plenty of raw bar, fresh fish and key lime pie.
To top it off the boys at Moresportsnow.com gave me this opportunity and I hope you enjoyed the posts and podcasts as much as I did doing them.
To all, Cheers to next Spring!