Well, it looks like the battle to replace Darren Oliver as the long reliever just got a little narrower. Dave Williams, who was viewed as a potential long reliever and emergency starter, had an operation to repair a herniated disk in his neck and could be out until June. Williams started feeling pain when he began his offseason throwing program in January. This leaves the Mets with offseason acquisitions Aaron Sele and Jorge Sosa as leading candidates for the job.
The Mets announced that they have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Ruben Sierra and invited him to spring training. He has absolutely no shot of making the team unless the Mets become overwhelmed with injuries.
Only 12 more days until Mets pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Port St. Lucie on Feb. 15. This is the first time the Mets will head to Tradition Field as defending NL East champs.
By the way, David Wright is convinced Pedro Martinez will come back from rotator cuff surgery stronger than ever after visiting with him in the Dominican Republic earlier this month. "It’s very impressive at his age, putting in the effort to get himself back to where he was," Wright said last night at a promotional appearance.
Carlos Delgado, who was one of the honorees at the Thurman Munson dinner in NYC, visited a doctor on Monday and has been cleared to start hitting. He expects to be ready for the start of spring training. Delgado has been seen everywhere this offseason making personal appearances for many charitable causes. Whenever he talks about the Mets chances in 2007, he is bursting with confidence and enthusiasm, and is expecting bigger things for the team this season.
Mets general manager Omar Minaya doesn’t seem to share the same concerns about the pitching staff as his fans do. While most Mets fans worry about the state of the starting rotation and the losses of Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver from the bullpen, Omar Minaya is offering a high-powered sales pitch. "We’re going to be fine," he says. "Our rotation is going to be fine. Our bullpen is going to be very good. We’ll be OK."
Minaya is very ecstatic about the signing of lefty Scott Schoeneweis, whom he called the best reliever on the market "and one of the best in the game against left-handers." He also likes the acquisition of talented but often erratic right-hander Ambiorix Burgos in a trade with the Royals. With dependable Aaron Heilman and Sanchez and Mota also in the fold along with dependable lefty Pedro Feliciano, Minaya believes the Mets’ bridge from starter to closer, Billy Wagner, will be formidable. Personally, I’m not worried about the bullpen and neither should Mets fans. My biggest concern lies only with the rotation, but if Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine pitch up to their potential… watch out NL East!
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