Congratulations to Japan for winning the World Baseball Classic. As long as David Wright's toenail issue turns out to be nothing, I'd say the WBC was a success as far as the Mets are concerned. Let's get right to it:
Around Port St. Lucie
Anyone who wasn't already convinced that Livan Hernandez will be the 5th starter should be now. In a minor league scrimmage yesterday, he went five innings with seven(!) strikeouts, giving up one run. Freddy Garcia went four innings, surrendering eight hits and three runs. Garcia's velocity was apparently much improved from earlier this spring training, which is a step in the right direction for him. He stated earlier this spring that he would pitch elsewhere if the Mets didn't guarantee a major league job, so if he is true to his word it looks like Garcia's Mets tenure may be coming to an end.
John Maine worked with Dan Warthen to tinker with his delivery. Warthen noted a mechanical flaw and seems to think it is corrected. Hopefully we see a healthy and productive Maine this season.
Over at Mets Geek, I compiled the top 10 best and worst seasons by Met regulars in history, according to Sean Smith's WAR database. A sneak preview: David Wright's 2007 and Bernard Gilkey's 1996 tie for the best season ever.
David Singer at NY Sports Dog, a 20+ year armed forces veteran himself, applauds Wright for flying Sergeant Felix Perez (Iraq war veteran and Mets fan) to Los Angeles to see the U.S. play in the WBC Sunday night.
Red Reporter continues its ongoing team preview series with a profile of the Mets. On starting pitching, RR says: "Wow, the Mets rotation is pretty darn mediocre."
Around the NL East
My dream of Kyle Kendrick making the Phillies rotation is dashed, as he was optioned to the minors. Chan Ho Park figures to be the #5 starter -- maybe Fernando Tatis can recreate his 2 homer, 8 RBI inning vs. Park from 1999.
Bleed Cubbie Blue previews the NL East, and picks the Mets as champion.
MLBTradeRumors looks at the Marlins offseason, concluding: "It's the typical Marlins refrain: good team, imagine what they could do with a payroll."
Not sure how I missed this yesterday, but Marlins pitchers Ricky Nolasco, Dan Meyer, and Leo Nunez combined to no-hit the Tigers on Sunday. I wonder what the celebration was like?
Last Marlins item of the day: a vote passed in Miami approving a new Marlins stadium. It is tentatively scheduled to open in 2012.
Curt Schilling retired, ending the small hopes I had that he might sign with the Mets. For whatever reason, I liked Schilling, even though he starred for two teams I despise, the Phillies and Red Sox. And yes, I think he's a Hall of Famer, but that discussion can wait a few years.
Sabermetric darling Shawn Hill signed with the Padres.
Rob Neyer thinks that Nick Swisher should be the Yankees starting rightfielder instead of old friend Xavier Nady.
Nate Mclouth gave a figurative "get out of your mother's basement" to those who rate him as a poor fielder based on advanced fielding metrics.
The title of this post at Home Run Derby says it all: "Alfonso Soriano Has a Big Ass Car Stereo."