April 4, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) runs around the bases after he hit a three-run home run in the third inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
It's a holiday weekend folks. That's right...today is opening day of baseball season! While most employers won't give you a paid day off to sit home, drink beer, and watch our national pastime, they really all should. I have a sneaking suspicion that my boss will be paying me to sit around and watch the Johan from my laptop today (although if you're reading this I'm totally just kidding). Oh yeah,that's right...Johan Santana is scheduled to pitch in a big league game again. Hooray! And in case you missed any of the moves, here's the rest of the 2012 Mets opening day roster.
We did have the chance to see some baseball yesterday as well. On the day before the regular season would kick off, the Mets traveled to Tampa to face off again with the Yankees. The bad guys would win this one 8-3 in a game that featured very little in the way of major league pitching. One has to wonder what the motivation to play a game so close to opening day was, but the media is pretty certain that it was financially related. If the Mets really can make a million bucks playing one more game against the Yankees then I really can't blame them at all. Anything that potentially helps this team increase payroll again will be worth considering.
As we saw in the predictions thread this morning, this season will have about as low a set of expectations around here as I can remember. That certainly won't prevent me from watching, although what effect it has on ticket sales this season will be interesting. The team does seem to have higher expectations than the fans do though, and hopefully we'll see them stay injury free enough to see those loftier expectations reached.
On the long term front, the Mets reached a very shrewd deal with young lefty Jon Niese. Niese has outperformed his ERA by a large margin in each of the last two seasons, and the Mets moved to lock him up on a five year deal with a pair of club options. This one has potential steal written all over it. Also in young pitcher news, here's an interview with some quotes from Zack Wheeler.
Speaking of vesting options (wait...Niese doesn't have a vest?), Jason Bay is looking to have a bounce back year in 2012. I'd imagine he'll need to have one heck of a year at the plate if he wants to be part of the Mets opening day roster a year from now.
There was a real game last night as well. The defending champs headed down to the neon spaceship in Miami to face off against Jose Reyes and the Marlins. Reyes would get the first hit of the season for the fishies, but it wouldn't come until the 7th inning in the 4-1 loss. The boxscore can be found here. Now that the Marlins have gotten the novelty of playing in front of fans at home out of the way they can go back to looking at empty seats for the rest of their existence. At least they're pretty seats I guess.
The guys over at Talking Chop took a look at the upcoming Braves/Mets series as well. I'll be honest here, I actually like the Mets three starters in this series better than the Braves. Dickey be praised!
Fangraphs have gone and released their staff predictions for the season. I'm a bit disappointed that none of them have R.A. Dickey winning the Cy Young. I guess you have to give them some credit for thinking outside the box though.
Curious about the Phillies ahead of the dreaded release of the #6 ranking? The Good Phight has you covered with their State of the Philthies roundtable. BtB also took a look at some reasons Cole Hamels should be smiling. I have a feeling he's going to be a very wealthy man.
John Lannan has requested a trade after being optioned to AAA. While I've never been a big Lannan fan, I'd certainly welcome him to our rotation if we had a spare 5 million floating around. Then again, we probably don't.
There was some big news out of Cincinnati yesterday. Really big news. Ten years and 225 million dollars big. In case you hadn't heard, Joey Votto signed a massive extension to remain with the Reds until he's 40. While Jon Niese looks like a potential steal, the Votto deal would appear to have disaster written all over it. Baseball Nation took a look at some of the risk involved with mega-extensions.
Former Met Aaron Heilman has a new home. He signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers yesterday, marking his 6th big league organization. Best of luck to Heilman, I always liked him when he was here. Also in Rangers news, the team is reportedly discussing an extension with 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler.
I think a good number of eyes will spend some of this season focused on a group of young arms upstate. I'll leave you today with John Sickels updated top 120 rankings which has seen our young aces move up a bit. Those two should be fun to watch as the season unfolds.