Aug. 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Brandon Lyon (31) pitches during the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Toronto won 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Talking Baseball On A Winter Day

This morning on WFAN, Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball resumed in its Sunday morning slot. On its own merits, that sentence is reason enough for hope of spring. Randall’s first guests in the 9 a.m. hour were Mike Puma and Andy Martino. Here is a brief recap of what the two Mets’ beat writers had to say.

Randall asked them to grade Sandy Alderson’s off season performance. Martino called it “incomplete”, while Puma said it was “the same as Ike Davis‘s batting average last May.” Martino seemed to endorse the Marcum signing, while Puma was positive about the Brandon Lyon signing.

Randall asked them about the bullpen. Both reporters said “it can’t be any worse”, and felt that Alderson had done a good job bringing in enough arms with major-league experience to be combined with the internal youth. This combination, both felt, should yield better results. Both reporters felt that Frank Francisco‘s closer job may be on thin ice, due to health concerns, and general concerns about Francisco, dating back to his showing up over weight at camp last year.

Randall asked them about the starting rotation. Martino and Puma both felt that this would be the strength of the team.

On the subject of catcher, both were very positive on John Buck. They mentioned Buck’s reputation for being a strong “in-game manager”, and how this could help Travis D’Arnaud when he comes up, and also help the Mets younger pitchers with their pitch selection this year.

The three then discussed the outfield. Both Martino and Puma were skeptical of the current configuration, noting that the Mets have spoken about Collin Cowgill‘s reputation for “getting dirty”, but adding that while this may appeal to some fans, there’s no guarantee that this will translate to on-field production. On Lucas Duda, they pointed to the organization’s faith in the left fielder, while both speculated that Duda will have to have  a strong offensive year to overcome his defensive liabilities. The reporters were not confident about the right field situation, suggesting that the Mets have thrown a bunch of guys together and will hope for a positive result. Then the conversation turned to Michael Bourn. The consensus was that the Mets would like to sign Bourn for three years, while Scott Boras is holding out for five. Martino was bullish on signing Bourn, saying that talk of the draft pick and slot money has been sold to the fans, but he questioned if it was wise to pass up a center fielder/lead off hitter “for a guy who may help you in 2018″. Puma agreed that the Mets should sign Bourn. He said doing so will make the team somewhat better, but more importantly send a positive message to the fans. Martino talked about how the draft pick issue would be resolved. He said that the dispute would be between the MLBPA and MLB, and that the Mets would have a limited role in the process. Martino also wasn’t sure if the signing could be contingent on the draft-pick ruling, saying this was unprecedented.

Finally, Randall asked both reporters to give the Mets fans some hope for 2013. Puma said that if the young pitchers continue to develop, and the Mets get the “first half David Wright and the second half Ike Davis”, 2013 could be an interesting year. When asked the same question, Martino said “no” at first, then went on to suggest that 2013 may be a rough year, but there may be some hope if everything breaks right for the Mets.

It has begun, folks. We’re “talking baseball”. Tomorrow pitchers and catchers report. You can look out your window at snow measured by the foot, but it’s still baseball season.

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Tags: Brandon Lyon David Wright Ike Davis Michael Bourn

  • marc114

    No question the Mets are headed in the right direction. Fundamental baseball is a team that has excellent starting pitching and defense up the middle. Not sure I would compare their starting staff to 69, or 86 but it’s strong and young. It’ll be interesting to see the veteran Santana mentor the young staff. Niese looks ready to break out into his own. Marcum is proven if healthy. Gee is a tough competitor at that back end and of course Harvey seems ready to climb the ladder. How far can he go? Let’s see. We haven’t even gotten to Wheeler and others who can be in the mix.

    Up the middle….Buck is suitable and I believe the defense will even be better once D’Arnaud comes up. Tejada is more than adequate defensively at SS, plus he can handle the bat. Murph almost the opposite as we always knew he could handle the bat. I believe he’s improving defensively.

    Which brings us to CF. I have to believe in my mind that Alderson’s thinking is almost parallel to mine and that’s why he’s interested in opening up the checkbook for Bourne. He could be a missing piece to making us competitive. At what cost ?That’s the question. I’d reach out to Arizona and see if I could pry Adam Eaton loose. He seems to fit right in to what the Mets need. Would Arizona let him go? A phone call might tell us something.

    Am I the ultimate optimistic Mets fan? I’m one of them. I like the team and I’m enjoying the direction they are going in. Look at the competitors…Team that saddle themselves with these huge contracts and don’t win to me are disappointments. Young teams on the rise such as Oakland and Baltimore are much more fun to watch.

    LGM 2013!