As my excitement for the new season grows stronger with each passing day, there are still several questions and question marks that occupy my mind. That is to be expected with the season we had to suffer through last year. But 2010 brings new possibilities, though injuries have already begun scaring the fan base. Beltran is out for at least the first month of the season, and nobody really knows when Jose Reyes will be given the green light. Hopefully sooner rather than later, although with this medical staff I would rather wait than rush somebody back too soon.
Before straying too far off of the subject, and not making you suffer through another post about injuries, let us change direction to a more intriguing discussion. With the start of the regular season about two weeks away, is it in the players and teams best interest to bring some younger, promising players up north? Or do we settle for some veteran journeymen who can close the gap until some of our core returns?
Jenrry Mejia and Ruben Tejada are two young players that have performed very well during Spring Training. One is a possibility due to sheer impressive ability, while the other is riding out the injury of another. Both player’s are under 22 years of age and have limited experience in the minors. While many Mets fans are salivating over the possibility of Mejia setting up the 8th for K-Rod, we have to be asking ourselves…is it really worth the risk? Do we really want to expose a possible staff ace to the grueling life of a bullpen pitcher in New York? While I have no doubts that Mejia has incredible stuff, I do feel his value is much more needed in the rotation. While the big league experience is not a bad thing, it could go the wrong way… Just ask Generation K, I wish I could remember their names…
A true phenom like Mejia is better served gaining not only game experience in AAA, but also the ability to work with some veterans in a less demanding environment. Sink or swim is a tough way to break in, especially to someone who is going to be given a lot of responsibility. While there are people who survive the task and turn into stellar performers, I just don’t feel its worth the risk. Not when we have several pitchers who have been around a bit longer and are having great springs. I know, I know, Figgy is not anywhere near as exciting, but he is pitching great and really deserves a chance. Takahashi is already a fan favorite, despite not throwing a single pitch in a regular game. Nieve is a good talent who just needs to settle in and allow his arm to do the talking. I’m not a big fan of Sean Green, but he is a serviceable arm. Nothing more though. Bobby Parnell started off great last year, but should have never been given the chance to start games at seasons end. His lack of secondary weapons exposed his fastball and his confidence was shot. Let one or two of these guys take the spot a little while longer, and let Mejia gain some solid experience starting games in Buffalo.
Tejada is in a bit of a different boat, as he is reaping the rewards of a thin farm system and a serious injury bug. His bat performed relatively well last year, posting a .289 batting average. His defense is good, although is age and inexperience allows a good margin for error. While I do think he will one day be a good player for a major league team, I don’t think he is ready for the bright lights at this stage of his career. Let Cora or even Alex Cintron, whom may be overlooked, man the spot until Reyes is ready to take back the throne. Cintron is already impressing after one game in Buffalo. Alright, its just one game but hey, I’ll take what I can get at this point. And Cora is not going to kill you out there.
Russ Adams is still in camp, and has the skill level to post at least a .250 average with a couple dingers and decent defense. If none of these are going to work, go out there and try to trade for a Ramon Vazquez type player. Let Tejada join Mejia in Buffalo, get some innings in, and wait for that September call up. In the long run, its just not worth it to overexpose some of our young talent just to get by for a couple of weeks in the beginning of the season.
Till next time…