This off season has seemed like an eternity, and though it still rages on, something is different this morning.
After the hangover from last night’s Super Bowl subsides, talk show radio and water cooler chatter will switch gears and go into baseball overdrive. Here is a recap of Mets moves that will keep you in the know.
Mets Hot Stove Recap
Only 13 days until pitchers and catchers report.
The Mets went into the off season with a shopping list that included finding a closer, a setup man, two starting pitchers, and possibly upgrading the left field and second base positions.
Clearly, they hit one out of the park when they signed Frankie Rodriguez and traded for J.J. Putz, but what about those other items on the itinerary?
So far, the Mets have added Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia who they feel will battle it out for the number five spot in the rotation. Redding is no great shakes, but Garcia has had much success in the past and could be a big sleeper if he is fully recovered from surgery. That said, neither can be counted on as a sure thing right now.
The Mets tried and failed to land their main target for the rotation when they were outbid by their division rival, the Braves. Since then, they have focused on re-signing Oliver Perez, but continue to have problems getting him to sign on the dotted line despite tendering two offers to him. Randy Wolf is waiting to see what the Mets do before hugging it out with the Dodgers because he knows the Mets will pursue him if they fail to get something done with Ollie.
The left field situation continues to bother many Mets fans. Currently, the Mets have planned to platoon sophomore Dan Murphy and former utility player Fernando Tatis. Both players had their moments last season when injuries forced them into regular playing time, but there are concerns that neither are a sure bet to succeed at that same level in ’09.
The rumor mills have been churning with talk of Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu. And while each would be an upgrade over the current configuration, the Mets have not had any dialog with either of them. (Much to the dismay of many.)
The only left fielder that we know the Mets did want, was Raul Ibanez, who eventually was signed by the defending World Champion Phillies.
However, the Mets did bring on a flurry of utility type players as backup insurance for Murphy and Tatis. They are Cory Sullivan, Jeremy Reed and Rob Mackowiak. (Yikes!)
As far as second base goes, what you see is what you get. Castillo who many predicted wouldn’t be here to start the season, is still tabbed as the Opening Day second baseman. He has also received a strong vote of confidence from Omar Minaya and even Jerry Manuel who said he will bat second and play everyday.
The Mets did make one significant addition to the bench when they signed Alex Cora. He might be able to wrestle the second base job away from Castillo if he struggles to hit in April and May.
With less than two weeks left and over 100 free agents looking for jobs, I suspect that we’ll see some significant activity in the coming days, especially where the Mets are concerned. Stay tuned,