Meet the Mets
"And the Mets win the ballgame" are words that have not been spoken much this spring, but it looks like the Mets are peaking at the right time or something, because they won another Spring Training game. Yesterday's contest was a laugher over the Braves. Even if it doesn't really count, I always like to be able to type "a laugher over the Braves. Bobby Parnell got the start and hurled three scoreless innings to complete a scoreless Spring. This probably doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot, but with Rauch stuggling and Francisco possibly hurt, Parnell might be next in line for the closer's role. The Mets wrap up Grapefruit League action this afternoon against the Yankess, and then it is off to Citi Field for the opener Thursday. Baseball season is here!
The extension talk around Jon Niese got buried by the two big contract extensions yesterday, (lots more on those when we head around MLB) but the surgically-enhanced Nose did confirm that talks are ongoing, and Mark Simon of ESPN.com took a look at the spread between Niese's ERA and his FIP, and thinks he's due for a breakout year. I mean, sure, that could certainly happen, but if we except that certain pitchers consistently outperform their FIP (Cain, Guthrie, knuckleballers), we should assume there are also certain pitchers that consistently underperform their periphreals. That said, these pre-arb extensions are almost never a bad idea, especially if you can buy out some free agent years with team options, as it sounds like the Mets are going to do.
Adam Rubin is reporting that Andres Torres should be ready for Opening Day, and Andy McCullough expects him to be back on the Major League side for today's Spring Training game. So after all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, the predicted Mets starting 9 look completely intact and more or less healthy.
Toby Hyde is slacking off in Port St. Lucie, so I guess it's up to me to update you on the Minor League roster assignments. AA's favorite lefthander, Darin Gorski, is headed to Binghamton finally. This is good news for me as I imagine Zack Wheeler gets the Opening Day start, which means I catch Gorski live and in person either Friday or Saturday. In more Gorski news, Ted Berg trolled for an Applesauce link by posting a video interview with Darin Gorski. Well played, Ted. Back down south, Jack Leathersich will join Michael Fulmer and Logan Verrett in the Savannah rotation, with Camden Maron as their battery mate.
Patrick Flood revisited his 2014 Mets Power Rankings in more detail yesterday. I'll be talking more in depth with him about the rankings on my podcast tonight (cheap plug!) where I am sure we will spend most of our time arguing about the Gee and Familia rankings.
I'm not usually a huge fan of the whole jumbled up datelines to give a narrative structure to your column thing, but Andy McCullough does a really good job chronicling the last few years of Santana's Mets career. Das wunderkind is probably the best writer on the Mets beat right now, especially when it comes to longer form stuff. And I don't just say that because he is a friend of the site.
Mike Puma thinks that the Mets might consider platooning Jason Bay sooner rather than later. No word if his platoon partner is going to be Luis Hernandez. Matt Klassen takes a look at the possibility, and isn't really on board. Well, I disagree with Klassen. I've been beating this drum for a bit, but I think Kirk is a upgrade over Bay against righties, especially since it would allow Duda to move to LF on those days as well. Also at FanGraphs, AA's own Eno Sarris looks at the rather precipitous decline that Jason Bay has seen since donning a Mets uniform.
Normally, the big news of the day would be the 110 million dollar extension that Matt Cain inked with the Giants, but then Joey Votto had to steal some headlines by signing a 225 million dollar extension of his own. First off, kudos to Wendy Thurm for basically predicting the Cain contract a month ago, and to MLB Trade Rumors for breaking the Votto story. Dave Cameron isn't a fan of either extension, and Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk agrees on the Votto deal. I think I actually agree on both. No one's getting a discount, and the Reds even had two more years of team control on Votto at well-below market rates. Joey Votto's agent must be thanking his lucky stars that Boras talked the Tigers into that ridiculous Fielder contract.
The Reds have Votto now for 12 more years at 250 million dollars, and are going to be paying a large premium for his decline years. Votto is a very good athlete and one of the top ten players in baseball right now, and he may very well have a gentle decline curve, but that is a lot of risk for a middle market team counting on a new TV contract they haven't negotiated yet to buoy their finances. I don't think this will end up like the Mauer deal, but it certainly could. As for Cain, I think by now you have to give him most of the credit for supressing his BABIP and his HR/FB rates, but even so he is a 4-5 win pitcher, so you are basically paying market value for the back end of his peak and hoping for the best. I think this is more defensible, but you are still paying #1 money for a #2 starter.
Moving on, Ubaldo Jimenez's little temper tantrum Sunday is going to cost him a start, as MLB handed down a five game suspension to the Indians pitcher for throwing at former teammate Troy Tulowitzki. Ubaldo, meanwhile, does not approve of being sent to time out. And speaking of temper tantrums, MGL has a bit of a problem with Jim Tracy's.
When Atlanta comes to town Thursday, Tyler Pastornicky will be manning short stop for the Bravos. This is probably the right move, though Carson Cistulli has an interesting argument for Andrelton Simmons.
The other pitcher in San Francisco, that Tim Lincecum guy, might be scrapping his slider this year.