According to the Star-Ledger, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent some time on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio channel yesterday discussing the Mets. Christie has been a long-time Mets fan, and will be in the stands on April 1 when the Mets take on the San Diego Padres on opening day.
Christie went through a list of players he likes, which he considers the nucleus, and includes David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy. He’s also excited about seeing top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud in blue and orange very soon. Christie believes with that young core of players, in addition to the Mets’ young pitchers Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Zack Wheeler, the Mets are headed in the right direction. Like most Mets fans, Christie raises questions about the outfield situation, but is looking forward to 2014 where he hopes that the Mets can add a few pieces to the puzzle.
Christie sounds like most Mets fans these days—he likes the young core, loves the young pitching, and has no idea what the outfield situation is going to look like. The outfield situation quickly becomes the center of attention for anyone discussing the Mets. The fans are tired of it and want to move on, but unfortunatley it’s one of those problems that seem to continue rearing it’s ugly head.
When looking at how some of the outfielders performed this spring, it could prompt a Mets fan to say to themselves “maybe this outfield won’t be as bad as everyone thinks.” I actually buy into that thought, but only out of sheer optimism. Overall, the performance of the outfield this spring has been utterly disappointing for me.
I expected Lucas Duda to take a step forward. I expected Kirk Nieuwenhuis to soildify himself as an everyday player, and even before the knee injury, did little to convince us he was ready. These are two guys the Mets really were hoping would take the bull by the horns, and it’s looking like they still need more fine tuning.
One guy that has really turned some heads this spring has been Matt den Dekker, in centerfield. Everyone should know how I feel about den Dekker by now (You down with MDD? Yeah you know me). Den Dekker is a human highlight reel with solid power, and will be a 20/20 type of a guy once he makes it to the show. I would love to see him in centerfield for the Mets this year, but the reality is starting to set in that he will be starting the season with Las Vegas. Hopefully he tears it up in Triple-A and joins the Mets sometime in the middle of the year.
It looks more and more like Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd will be with the team when camp breaks. Not only will they be with the team, but they seem to be playing themselves into starting roles. Most fans have been blown away by the play of these two guys, as the bar was set very, very low coming into the spring. It will be interesting to see how these guys perform once the regular season starts and opposing pitchers are trying to get them out, rather than getting their work in. There will most likely be a drop off in performance from these two guys once the regular season starts.
Jordany Valdespin is another guy that seems to be playing himself into a starting role this spring. With his skill set, it wil be very difficult to not have him in the lineup everyday. It seems like Valdespin is starting to realize that he has a major opportunity to leap frog some guys that got off to slow starts this spring, and he’s going after it.
So here we are, three weeks into spring training, and the outfield situation is just as muddled as it was when camp opened. It’s starting to look like the competition is separating, but it’s yet to be seen what kind of impact the spring performance will have on who is in that starting lineup when the season opens up. This saga will continue into the regular season.