10 Questions for Mets’ Spring Training
Hope springs eternal during the first week of spring training — every team has high hopes, big dreams, and is gunning for the World Series. Previously injured players are miraculously healthy — in the best shape of their lives — and those who had off years spent all winter working on a way to bounce back. It’s a great time in the baseball season, perhaps the best. But for the glass-half-empty crowd, there is one doubt for every dose of optimism.
Johan Santana made it to Port St. Lucie, as did all the other pitchers and the catchers and David Wright. To a cynic, that is about the extent of the certainty after one day of spring training. For many Mets fans — especially in the wake of the “collapse” — spring training is a six-week process that hopefully answers burning questions.
Following are ten questions that need to be answered by April.
1. Is Duaner Sanchez healthy and can he pitch at the same level prior to the infamous midnight ride for Dominican cuisine?
2. Is Carlos Delgado’s hand (broken during game 162) 100%, and can he regain the bat speed that made him one of the most feared hitters in MLB before 2007?
3. Can Moises Alou get through six weeks in Florida without injuring himself, and therefore open the season in the starting lineup?
4. Can El Duque join Alou on the Opening Day roster?
5. Does Mike Pelfrey have a second pitch to go with his fastball, and is it good enough to retire Major League hitters?
6. How will Pedro Martinez handle NOT being “THE MAN” for the first time in over ten years?
7. What kind of pitcher is Pedro now? Is he the cunning, five-inning soft-tosser that went 3-1 last September or has he recovered enough to resemble the flamethrower that dominated MLB from 1993-2004?
8. Are any of the young guns (Brant Rustich, Eddie Kunz, etc.) talented enough to make an impact this season?
9. After minor knee surgery, is Carlos Beltran finally healthy enough to be the superstar the Mets have been paying him to be?
10. Speaking of knee surgery, what about Luis Castillo? Is he physically back to being the guy who sparked the top of the Marlins lineup for so many years or are those days long gone?
11. (bonus) Will Ruben Gotay get a chance to win the job of 25th man, or will he be played just enough to lose out to someone like Olmedo Saenz?
This list could have gone on to 20 or 30, but I’d like to keep the glass half-full. What question or questions do YOU think need to be answered in the next six weeks?