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The Roster Is Shaping Up

Mike SteffanosSunday, March 25, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


I have to admit that the spring training games are losing their appeal for me. It didn't help that SNY allowed amateurish audio problems to persist for almost half the game. Also not helpful is the fact that the Mets' offense has been almost as exciting to watch this spring as the farm report. But mainly it's just the reality that the season is almost here and the time for pretend baseball games is waning.

The Mets tossed Chan Ho Park a curve today. It appears he will no longer be considered for a rotation slot, but rather is now being looked at as a short reliever. I can see the logic in this, but it is surprising. With Aaron Sele in short relief it appears that the New Orleans roster will have some talented, if erratic, relievers to start the year. Perhaps Ambiorix Burgos can finally learn not to overthrow his fastball in New Orleans.

With Mike Pelfrey taking the fifth starter role some time in Mid-April, the Mets starting rotation will be 3/5 20-somethings (Maine, Perez, Pelfrey) and 2/5 40-somethings (Glavine, El Duque). Quite an interesting blend. Meanwhile, the beat guys who follow the club seem to think that 23-year-old Joe Smith has all but sewn up a roster spot. You could at least hope that Burgos would settle down and work on locating his fastball down in the zone where he was really effective early this spring, and that he might be in New York at some point.

For what it's worth, I have a feeling that Scott Schoeneweis might tag team with Aaron Heilman in that bridge to Wagner role until (hopefully) Sanchez returns some time around mid- to late-April.

John Maine had a somewhat rough outing against the Marlins in the split squad game. I don't know about the rest of you, but that doesn't particularly worry me. I think he's ready to start the season. Lino Urdaneta had a rough two innings and took the loss. He seemed to have at least a dark horse shot at the bullpen, and this game probably didn't help him.

The split squad games are now a thing of the past heading into the last week of spring ball. Mike Pelfrey will start Sunday afternoon's game against the Astros in St. Lucie with a rotation job all but won. The game is on channel 11 at 1 PM.

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Comments (7)

If we trust Marty Noble's piece on Mets.com this evening, the pitching pans out like this:

Glavine / El Duque / Maine / Perez / Pelfrey (deservedly so) - Starters
Wagner / Heilman / Schoeneweis / Feliciano / Smith / Sele / Park - Bullpen

So if they go with those 12 pitchers, that basically means the bench will be:

Castro / Chavez / Franco / Easley / Newhan

Milledge and Johnson go to AAA (at least until Green finally hands the RF job to Milledge by early May). And Burgos and Sosa join Vargas and Humber in AAA as guys on the fringe who need to prove their value to get a callup.

Somehow, seeing Park and Sele together in the pen doesn't make alot of intrinsic sense, as they are both essentially the same pitcher for us. Something has to give. And my bet is that by April 15th, one of these guys is either traded or cut. Perhaps we'll see something even sooner.

The only thing I can say is that all the designations are fair based on the merit of March's performances. No one (other than Milledge and Johnson) can say Omar and Willie are unfair. Even if they don't like what they got.

I agree with you about Maines rough outing and not to worry, I seem to be that way with the entire "set" rotation. I feel they are set at this point and are just kind of coasting till opening day. BUT I always get frustrated at the hitting. They should be getting it right on at this point and hitting the way you expect them to. I also don't like Wright hitting in the 2 spot, I have this gut feeling he don't either.

Salman - I'm with you on Park and Sele. I just don't see both pitchers together on this roster for very long.
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Al - It hasn't been working out this spring with Wright in the 2 spot. I tend to agree with Ed Coleman that Wright strikes out too much for that spot, and I don't like the idea of Wright looking at a good pitch to hit to give Reyes a chance to steal.

On the other hand, Wright will see a lot of fastballs with Reyes on base, so I can see the benefit. I suppose we'll have to see how it shakes out once they start playing real games.

I'm more impressed by the good starts we're seeing out of the Mets than I am disappointed by their anemic hitting so far this spring.
The hitting WILL come; it's got to. And top to bottom, the pitchers they decide on bringing up will be real solid.

The only difference between Sele and Park is that Park's been getting more strikeouts, in between the runs he's been allowing. I'd flip a coin and send either one up to Shea, but as Salman says, not both.

While I was high on Ambiorix (that sounds like an alibi, doesn't it? "Your Honor, I was high on Ambiorix at the time..."), he will benefit from at least a few months of Cajun cuisine. Joe Smith has earned a spot.

When Duaner's ready to join the team, interesting question: do you drop Sele or Park, or do you send Schoenweiss or Smith down? For all the down-side both have shown, Sele or Park could each be useful as an emergency spot starter.

Your column is generally informative but why avoid a debate especially when in response to the subject matter that YOU brought to light in the first place ("Wagner stinks it up"). If you feel that you are beyond reproach as a writer such that you can't accept or defend criticism in a proper manner without spinning off into a comment-deleting hissy fit, then perhaps you'd be best suited delivering the news via bicycle rather than via PC.

This Spring has been more enjoyable than any the last 10yrs mostly because there are few holes and the the competitions for spots were very defined and equal.

Last yr or the yr before the holes were huge. Smith is a great story, but ironically everyone knew he would win a spot in Jan. Pelfrey also is a great story, as is Maine and Ollie. In all 3 cases we have seen the make great strides in a year.

On the batting order: I wish Willie would be more open to letting Beltran hit 2nd at least occassionally.

I felt Johnson, Adkins were more trades for future targets. Lastings now must seem appetizing to more GMs...(I see a Beltran-esque ceiling), and I still see Rich harden/Dan Haren as possible acquisitions.

NostraDennis - No way Schoeneweiss goes down. They signed him to a 3-year contract.
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Mets O'Potamia - I don't avoid debate, as any of the other commenters could tell you. You elected to take something humorous I wrote and characterize it as an attack on Wagner, who I like. You wouldn't accept my explanation when I tried to tell you that. Then you turned your anger into a personal attack on me (some pseudo-scribe was going to come out of the woodwork, as you put it). That's not a debate, that's just bad manners, and I'm not going to tolerate it from you any more than you would tolerate me coming into your house and treating you like that.
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Ed - It's been enjoyable, but I'm ready for it to end. Today was tedious to watch. I won't speculate on trades, but I think Beane wants too much for those guys at this point.

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