Now that the Mets’ arbitration slate has been wiped clean and all seven players have agreed to deals that they will undoubtedly repay tenfold in Wins Above Replacement (one can always hope), the only thing left to do is wait for those pitchers and catchers to report already. Hurry up, guys…
I know the offseason is still not over, but it certainly feels that way doesn’t it?
I think we’re close enough to the end of this hot stove season that we can at least examine what will most likely be some of the more interesting Spring Training battles in camp. I want to go around the diamond and review the catchers and infielders first, tomorrow I will consider the outfield, and then pitchers on Saturday.
For most of this offseason, it appeared that the Mets were going with a tandem that included D’Arnaud as the starting backstop and Recker as his caddy. Juan Centeno was in the family photo too, but the buzz was that he’d likely serve as the first line of defense in Las Vegas should something go wrong in Flushing. But then the Mets decided to sign Teagarden to a minor league deal and bring him into the fold. You can never have enough catchers, especially if you can never have enough pitchers, right? (ducks) It looks to me like Recker now has some stiff competition for backup duties. May the best man win and all that jazz, but I’m pulling for Recker here, although neither one of them is going to bring home a Silver Slugger anytime soon.
So what went wrong? Back in September we learned that Duda wasn’t a core player, that the Mets were unhappy with Davis and some in the organization wanted him gone, and that Satin is well, uh, he’s just Satin. The only sure thing here is that Satin will likely get the lion’s share of playing time against lefthanded pitching – and that’s a good thing. As for the other two, it looks like they’ll be putting on their gloves (not those gloves) and duking it out in the ring, that small circle of dirt around the first base bag. Who would’ve believed that these two would both be in camp together come February? Ron Davis (Ike’s dad) certainly didn’t see it coming and he’s kind of ticked off about it. But he assures us that Ike’s attitude is just fine. Here’s the thing in my opinion… Who ever wins this battle of offensive futility doesn’t really matter because either way the Mets lose. We needed a legitimate masher at first base and the Mets had four months to try and find one.
This isn’t really a battle at all, but there have been some cries to bring Eric Young into the picture at second base, with a possible move to first by Murphy. That may have been something to think about had the Mets traded Davis, but as it stands now, Murphy will stay put at second. Young will likely serve in a super utility role covering all three outfield positions and spelling Murphy at second occasionally.
As of right now, Tejada has the hold on the job. The real battle here will be between Quintanilla and Tovar for the backup infielder role. Given his experience and Terry Collins‘ propensity of going with the veterans regardless of performance, Quintanilla is the solid play here. Tovar is the best defender of the three, but that alone won’t get him on the Opening Day roster. In the meantime, between now and Opening Day, many fans hold out hope that it’s Tejada who will be the backup and that someone better than him will start at short.
Third Base – The Captain
David Wright is like the Alpha Male on the plains of the Serengeti, and as long as he’s in his prime he will remain unchallenged. He is the Mets’ Lion King. Hail Satin will likely get some starts at third to keep Wright fresh, but this is the only position where the Mets are undoubtedly set and good to go.
On Deck: The Outfield