Here are some questions I asked of Mets beat writer, Brian Costa of The Star Ledger, during his live chat yesterday.
Joe D: Will Bobby Parnell get lost in a numbers game and start the season in Buffalo? Will he ever revert back to starting as opposed to relief?
Brian Costa: I don’t think he’s in danger of not making the team, but in that bullpen right now, nothing is certain. He may one day become a starter, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen anytime soon.
Joe D: Has anybody taken a leadership role in the clubhouse in the absence of Beltran and the departure of Delgado? What can you tell us about Bay?
Brian Costa: I think Wright has steadily become more of a leader. He’s not a guy who’s going to stand up and shout or anything, but you can see him going over to the mound when a pitcher is struggling in a game and talking to guys on a one-on-one basis in the clubhouse. Bay is a great guy, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a loud voice in the clubhouse, partly because it’s not his nature, partly because he’s the new guy.
Joe D: What more does Nelson Figueroa have to do to earn a spot on this team, and would the Mets risk losing him and designating him before opening day?
Brian Costa: Figueroa has had a great spring, so if he keeps that up, that’s all he can do. But it’s not just about what he does. There are things out of his control that will determine whether there’s a spot for him. I don’t think the Mets want to risk losing him, but the priority is to take the best 25 for Opening Day.
Joe D: With Barajas and Blanco starting on the Mets, and Thole and Coste in Buffalo, where exactly does that leave Omir Santos? Is there any buzz regarding a possible trade or will he simply be released?
Brian Costa: No, there’s no reason for them to release him. They’re open to trading him. If they don’t, they’ll probably carry three catchers in Buffalo.
Joe D: Do you think the Mets will let Carlos Beltran walk when his contract is up? Just before his surprise surgery, there were rumblings about an extension and him ending his career as a Met.
Brian Costa: Way too early to say. We don’t know how Beltran will recover from his injury. We don’t know what F-Mart will look like in 2011. And from Beltran’s side, who knows how the whole surgery debacle will impact his thinking?
Joe D: Luis Castillo delivered a nice offensive season last year and we can probably count on similar production this year. Yesterday, he made a great play ranging to his right toward second base, and I’m wondering if there’s a chance we can see improved range from his this season?
Brian Costa: Sure, he can improve, but his range is still limited.
Joe D: What’s the story with Kiko Calero? Is he healthy and how does he look? Will he be an option in the 2010 bullpen?
Brian Costa: I didn’t see him pitch Sunday, but he appears to be healthy. He might need some time to get his arm in shape, but he’s definitely an option for the bullpen.
Joe D: I have already seen a significant improvement with Wright’s power and wonder if it’s a product of HoJo’s mantra of pulling the ball which goes against last year’s spring training edict by Manuel of going to the opposite field.
Brian Costa: I think that certainly helps. Honestly, I don’t see Wright’s power as a huge question mark this year. I think last year was an aberration and he’s too good to have another year like that.
You can follow Brian Costa via his Twitter where he posts frequent updates from Mets camp.