Tag: jose valentin

Filling the Holes

Carlos Delgado is out for at least two months, Jose Reyes is “day to day”, Alex Cora is out indefinitely, J.J. Putz may or may not have a chronic elbow issue, and Brian Schneider (yes, he’s still officially a Met) is hanging out with Oliver Perez in Port St. Lucie — and neither have a timetable for return.

Did I miss anyone?

Naturally, the question is, are the Mets serious about inserting Ramon Martinez in the sixth spot in the order on a daily basis, or will there be changes made to the current roster?
Over at NY Sports Dog, Dave Singer suggested that the Mets flip Martinez for Argenis Reyes and work a deal for both Mark DeRosa and Kelly Shoppach. Several blogs are wondering about a promotion for Fernando Martinez, who is suddenly lighting up the International League. Some rumors have the Mets talking to the Nationals about Nick Johnson. Afternoon talk radio is suggesting tons of other possibilities. (Hat tip to MetsToday reader Micalpalyn for pointing out many of these links.)

What will the Mets ultimately do? Most likely, nothing.

Unless Reyes is out for an extended period — meaning, several weeks — I doubt we’ll see any big-name players come to the Mets. And we hopefully quelled the fear that Reyes is THAT hurt. Someone like Mark DeRosa would be great, but I don’t see the Mets handing over the package necessary to obtain him. The pie-in-the-sky suggestion by Singer that the Indians might consider Jon Niese, Omir Santos, and Eddie Kunz for DeRosa AND Shoppach is a pipe dream (sorry, Dave) — those players might not be enough for DeRosa by himself. Similarly, I doubt the Mets are going to go nutty and obtain someone over the top like Matt Holliday, as many fans have hoped. The organization simply can’t afford to trade away any more of their major prospects, and I don’t know that they’re ready to ship off Ryan Church, Bobby Parnell, or J.J. Putz, the only men on the 25-man who immediately come to mind as legitimate trade bait.

The Mets might be able to pick up Nick Johnson, but not until the Nats’ asking price (Manny Delcarmen from the Bosox?) drops considerably. And before they get that desperate, let’s see what “first baseman of the future” Danny Murphy can do, huh?

As for Ramon Martinez, I’m not too confident in his ability to replace Reyes over a two-week period, if that becomes necessary. But I’m not sure I like the other in-house options any better (Argenis Reyes, Jose Coronado, Jonathan Malo).

Reese Havens is hitting only .240 for Port St. Lucie  but has 16 extra-base hits in 146 ABs

Reese Havens is hitting only .240 for Port St. Lucie but has 16 extra-base hits in 146 ABs

If they’re not going to keep Martinez around, and not going to sign free-agent utilityman Alex Cintron, I say go for broke and give Reese Havens a one-week audition — especially if you think you’d be happy with Mark DeRosa filling in at short. Havens right now is considered a decent hitter with power but the jury is out on his defense. In other words, a young version of DeRosa. Crazy? Maybe. But a small-market team would consider such a move. The big-market Mets, though, likely won’t.

As for Fernando Martinez, I’m not sure it makes sense to promote him now — where would he play? I suppose he could play some left field while Gary Sheffield is at DH during interleague play, but isn’t that a slap in the face to Jeremy Reed, who is hitting very well and playing excellent outfield defense? F-Mart is getting close to forcing the issue, but he’s not there yet. And the Mets aren’t desperate to add yet another outfielder to the mix — Jerry Manuel already has too many options to juggle. If F-Mart hit from the right side, and/or played 1B, I might think differently. Let him continue to build his confidence. When he’s dominating AAA, then promote him. There’s a difference between a hot streak and domination.

Another name that comes to mind as a good fit is Damion Easley, as suggested at MetsFever. But he’s one of “Willie’s guys”, so don’t expect that phone call to be made — no matter how much sense it makes.

And speaking of ex-Mets, where the heck is Jose Valentin? Wouldn’t right now be a perfect time for him to show up?

Post your ideas below …


Wild Mets Predictions

The National League predictions have been posted, so now it’s time for New York Mets – specific prophecies. You may like some of them, you’ll likely hate a few of them, and nearly all of them are unlikely to occur. But what the heck, let’s go …

The key to the Mets’ success this year will be tied to health and the production of Carlos Delgado.

Jose Reyes will hit 25 triples, 17 of which will come at home in Citi Field.

Johan Santana will win 21 games, and take the Cy Young.

John Maine will struggle so mightily in the first half that he will be sent to the minors to work out issues with his mechanics and command.

Livan Hernandez will be the tortoise and Oliver Perez the hare, and Livan will quietly emerge as the Mets #3 starter by year’s end, posting 13 victories.

Maine and Perez will combine for less than 20 wins.

Darren O’Day and Sean Green will combine for 20 decisions in middle relief.

Mike Pelfrey will take a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but settle for a one-hit shutout.

Tim Redding will throw less than 50 innings all season.

Luis Castillo will receive consideration for the All-Star Game, and finish the year with a .295 AVG., .375 OBP, and 28 SB.

Danny Murphy will have trouble keeping his average above .250 in the first six weeks of the season, and Gary Sheffield will take over as the starting leftfielder.

Sheffield will be a key run producer for the Mets, and finish fourth on the team in RBI.

Very few “Putz” jerseys will be sold by the Mets, for obvious reasons.

Not one “Shawn Green” jersey will be sold to a patron thinking it’s a “Sean Green” jersey.

Jeremy Reed will substitute for a disabled starter at some point in the season and go on a tear, making fans almost forget Endy Chavez.

Reese Havens will rocket through the Mets’ minor league system, and be considered for a September call-up.

Ryan Church will be traded to the Rockies.

Aaron Heilman will struggle against the Mets, but will otherwise succeed in Chicago. He’ll get a few starts when Rich Harden goes down and prompt the Cubs to move Sean Marshall back to the bullpen.

The Mets’ lack of a second LOOGY will be a major point of concern, and trade rumors will swirl around the names Eddie Guardado, Matt Thornton, and Alan Embree. The Mets will wind up with Bobby Seay, against whom lefties hit .303 lifetime.

The Mets will have a strong record aoutside the division, but will be only a few games above .500 against NL East teams.

Jose Valentin will make it back to the 25-man roster before the end of the season.

Bobby Ojeda will start doing commercials for the Hair Club for Men.


Mets 25-Man Roster Set

With Opening Day only four days away, the Mets’ 25-man roster is set. Few, if any, surprises dot the list, though at least one individual may have been slighted.

Here are your 2009 New York Mets:

Pitching Staff

Johan Santana
Mike Pelfrey
Oliver Perez
John Maine
* Livan Hernandez


Francisco Rodriguez
Joseph Jason Putz
Sean Green
Pedro Feliciano
Bobby Parnell
Brian Stokes
Darren O’Day


Brian Schneider
Ramon Castro


1B Carlos Delgado
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
SS Jose Reyes
UTL Alex Cora


Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Danny Murphy
Jeremy Reed
Fernando Tatis (UTL)
Marlon Anderson (1B / 2B)
* Nick Evans (1B)

(* – Livan Hernandez will join the roster on April 11th, presumably to replace Nick Evans)


There wasn’t any competition for the starting lineup positions, and four of the five rotation spots were earmarked, so much of the above is unsurprising. Livan Hernandez took hold of the fifth starter’s spot in the first week of spring training and never let go.

So the real mystery — if there was any — came in regard to the bullpen and the bench. Darren O’Day was a Rule 5 pick, and pitched well enough to earn a spot. I think he’ll be a sleeper coming out of the ‘pen. Brian Stokes was fairly effective in the spring, and was helped by the fact that most of the ST invites brought in to compete for bullpen spots were underwhelming at best. Stokes also is out of options, and likely would have been plucked by another team if waived. Similarly, Sean Green pitched well in March and was more or less a lock, as was Pedro Feliciano and the two closers. The only surprise is Bobby Parnell, who impressed by touching 97 MPH on the radar gun and posting a 2.19 ERA. I’m a little skeptical on carrying Parnell, due to the 9 walks he gave up in only 12 innings, and the long fly balls that resulted when his fastball veered chest high over the middle of the plate. Personally, I would’ve preferred to see Nelson Figueroa on the staff as a long man, especially after his excellent performance in the WBC. Apparently, facing some of the best hitters in the world in a playoff-like competition does not weigh as heavily as pitching against AA hitters in a spring training atmosphere. Go figure.

As for the bench, we knew that Alex Cora’s $2M contract guaranteed a spot, and Ramon Castro was similarly set. Marlon Anderson was also retained for financial reasons, though also out of respect, I surmise, because he didn’t hit very well. I’m OK with that, as I’m a huge fan of Marlon and believe he is a good clubhouse presence. But if he needs to hit to stick around — this situation is eerily similar to that of Julio Franco in 2007.

Tatis was a no-brainer for the bench after Dan Murphy was named the starting leftfielder. He’s an ideal guy to have around for his versatility and occasional pop. Reed was the best of the dozen or so light-hitting, defensive-minded, Endy Chavez replacements. I like Reed quite a bit and wonder why he’s not the one starting in LF, after hitting a blistering .418 with a .500 OBP in the spring. Talk all you want about Danny Murphy, but from what I saw, Jeremy Reed was the most impressive all-around outfield candidate in camp.

The Cuts

The demotion of Figueroa — and subsequent longer looks at schlubs such as Fernando Nieve and Elmer Dessens — was deplorable. What more did Figgy have to do this spring? If it weren’t such a wide open competition, it would be somewhat understandable. In 7 2/3 high-pressure innings, Figueroa gave up zero runs, struck out 6, and posted a 0.68 WHIP. The Mets are in need of a flexible guy in the bullpen — one who can handle both long and short duties — and Figgy fits the bill. Strange.

Tony Armas, Jr. was cut after pitching one scoreless inning. I thought for sure he would be assigned to AAA Buffalo; perhaps he eventually will.

Jose Valentin was also released, which was sad. If not for the guaranteed contract given to Cora, he might have had a chance. Like Armas, he may eventually be assigned to a minor league club — my guess is that the team will discuss with him a player-coach position in Buffalo, or a straight coaching job at a lower level.

Similarly, Andy Green was demoted quickly, despite invigorating an otherwise boring spring with heightened enthusiasm and hitting like crazy. He reminded me of Joe McEwing, during Superjoe’s heyday.

Freddy Garcia wasn’t in shape, and pitched poorly, but I believe and hope he builds himself up in the minors, as I have a funny feeling he’ll be needed at some point.

What happened to Eddie Kunz? Not a peep about him all spring.

Final Thoughts

No huge surprises, as the Mets’ roster was fairly set due to financial commitments. There is a concern that Pedro Feliciano is the only lefty coming out of the bullpen, but the LOOGYs brought in ranged from awful to ordinary, and it doesn’t make sense to carry a lefty for the sake of carrying a lefty.

On paper, the roster looks fairly solid up and down. Let the games begin.


Spring Training Game 6

Freddy Garica

No doubt the NY tabloids tomorrow will say that Freddy’s slipping out of the starting rotation race. Don’t believe it. Garcia’s stats are terrible, and he gave up a couple bombs, but his stuff looked pretty good compared to his previous outing. I’m still not liking his velocity — he’s in the 82-84 range on his fastball — and he may need a few extra weeks to get strong enough to pitch at the big league level. However, his curveball still has excellent bite, and he had more command of it in this game compared to the last. He also pulled the string on several nasty changeups with good down movement (in fact, one of his changeups was mistakenly reported by Kevin Burkhardt as a curveball).

For some pitchers — particularly older ones and those coming off injury — it can take a few outings before they start to “get in the groove”. I think it’s premature to pass judgment on Garcia. If his ERA is in double digits in late March, that’s another story.

Jon Switzer

This guy is a prime example of why a lefthanded young man should consider learning how to throw a baseball. Switzer reminds me of a poor man’s Tony Fossas, which isn’t saying much. It will be nice to have an extra LOOGY stashed in AAA, if only to use in one or two series against the Phillies. He’ll provide a different, probably unscouted look, which in itself can be enough to get past many batters once or twice.

Dillon Gee

Poor kid had a tough debut. Unlike Garcia, there wasn’t anything positive to take away from Gee’s performance. His fastball was below average in velocity and he had zero command of it. He reminded me of Steve Trachsel — picking around the corners, falling behind, and then having to come into the batter’s wheelhouse. Also like Garcia, however, it may take Gee some time to get going, and I’m guessing he had some jitters. It can be unnerving for a kid to face the likes of Albert Pujols, even in a meaningless spring training game. I hope he sticks around another week or two so we can see him at his best.

Jose Valentin

I’m just thrilled to see him on the field and swinging a bat. The #99 on his back is mildly comical. It looks to me like he’s closing up a little too much from the left side, turning his hips just a bit too much during his stride, which is causing him to fly open a little too much. When he hit well in 2006, he stayed more square to the pitcher. Regardless, the odds are against him.

Marlon Anderson

Starting at first base in place of WBC-bound Carlos Delgado, Marlon was one of the few bright spots for the Mets, clubbing two doubles. OK, one of them was a routine fly ball that got caught up in the wind, but I’m pulling hard for Marlon to make this team.

Carlos Muniz

Like most of the Mets pitchers on this day, Muniz did little to help his case as far as the stat line goes. I did like some of the low, hard heaters he threw after giving up a bomb to Joe Thurston.


Mets Sign Jose Valentin

The New York Mets have signed veteran infielder Jose Valentin to a minor-league contract, and invited him to spring training.

According to some reports, the Stache could make up to $800,000 if he makes the 25-man roster.

The 39-year-old Valentin has been saddled with myriad injuries since sparking the Mets in 2006. His comeback attempt last year was cut short by a pinched nerve in his neck, as well as knee issues.

There doesn’t appear to be any risk involved in this signing, so it’s hard to have a bad word. I’m a huge fan of Valentin, and will be rooting for him all the way. I will admit to pessimism, however, considering the Stache’s age and his health issues — not to mention that in order to make the team, he’ll likely have to beat out either Fernando Tatis or Alex Cora, both of whom have guaranteed, million-dollar contracts. If nothing else, maybe he can join the team as a coach? Anything to keep his winning attitude in the clubhouse.