We’re now less than a week away before the Mets begin their Grapefruit League games on Saturday, as they’re set to start things off against the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals. It was more or less a quiet weekend of workouts in Port St. Lucie as the official day for position players to report came and went yesterday. Here are is a summary of all the weekend’s top stories:
- Although the bullpen looks to be set with Bobby Parnell taking over closing duties while Frank Francisco is on the shelf, but Kevin Davidoff says there is a slight possibility the Mets could still sign Jose Valverde. He went on to say it’d be nice to see Fred Wilpon show the fans money isn’t an issue by signing the reliever (which I don’t agree with at all). Hours later, a source told Adam Rubin that a union between the two is “really, really unlikely” and another source told Marc Carig that they’d only pursue him if there is an injury in camp. It’s good to keep tabs on him in case an injury arises or multiple pitchers underperform, but there is a lot of depth for these bullpen spots, so I don’t anticipate the Mets having to dip into free agency for a pitcher like Valverde.
- Jordany Valdespin reported to camp last week, and immediately had to start talking about the controversial tweet that made plenty of Mets fans angry. You know, that one where he’s wearing a Miami Marlins hat? He said it was his cousin who tweeted the picture, as he shares his account information with him. Whether that’s actually true or not, it still boggles my mind, and doesn’t exactly put him in good graces with his teammates. Terry Collins also said he’ll be working at second base most of the time, and with the amount of outfielders in camp already vying for spots on the Big League roster, Valdy could be headed back to Triple-A to start the year in Las Vegas.
- Zack Wheeler is taking in his first MLB Spring Training so far, but as long as the current pitchers slotted for the starting rotation stay healthy, New York’s top pitching prospect will also be headed for Triple-A to start the season, as he’s seen as the 6th pitcher on the depth chart for the rotation. Not only does this make sense since there is no room in the Bigs for him at this time, he needs to prove himself at that level before earning a promotion. He started six games in Buffalo last season, walking 16 hitters in 33 innings pitched.
- Terry Collins said on Friday that Marlon Byrd has the upper hand to win a part-time role in the Mets outfield this year, but if he shows the potential for the type of production he had a couple seasons ago with the Cubs, he could be their starting right fielder on Opening Day. There is plenty of competition in camp, and Collins pays Byrd quite the compliment, but I’ll believe it when I see it. This was a solid signing just shy of camp, but for a guy that just hit .210/.243/.245 last season, he’ll need to go on quite a tear to win a starting job.
- Johan Santana hit the mound for his first bullpen session since getting shutdown last August; he threw 20 pitches in his session and everything went well. If he continues on this path, he’ll be starting in Grapefruit League games in two weeks, putting him on track to start the season opener April 1st against the San Diego Padres.
So, that should bring you up to speed on this President’s Day. Like I said, only a few more days until we can start seeing some actual baseball games take place, getting us that much closer to real baseball again.