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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