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Smith and Clark Nab Last Spots, Pelfrey Takes the Fifth

Mike SteffanosSunday, March 30, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Wow. The Mets filled the last two roster spots for opening day, and both turned out to be somewhat of a surprise.

We all thought Joe Smith was almost certain to be demoted since he still had minor league options. He hadn't been pitching all that well, either, with a 6.43 ERA and allowing 16 hits and 8 walks in 14 spring innings. Essentially he'll be keeping a spot warm for Duaner Sanchez' return, but the Mets seem to have given Smith a vote of confidence despite his inconsistency.

It also seemed all but certain that Fernando Tatis would grab the last bench spot, but that wasn't the case. Brady Clark had some good moments this spring, but only had one extra base hit -- a double -- in 63 at bats. In comparison, Tatis managed 3 doubles and a triple in 34 spring AB. Again, this is probably only keeping a spot warm for Alou's return, but given Alou's history I'm somewhat concerned. If Alou starts having setbacks that delay his return similar to last season, the Mets would probably do well to try to dredge up someone with a little pop.

Frankly, I think a lot of the ado made over Ruben Gotay was way overblown, but I find it hard to see how Clark is an upgrade offensively over Gotay. Clark hits lefties better than Gotay, but with very little power. He's obviously a solid defensive outfielder, but this still seems a strange decision.

Pelfrey over El Duque was somewhat expected. Hernandez will stay in Florida and build up some arm strength. Meanwhile, Pelfrey will try to throw some strikes and not deplete the bullpen every fifth day. It's hard to guess how Pelfrey will do, but he obviously lacks confidence and that's tough to overcome against major league hitters. I'm curious to hear how well El Duque bounced back from pitching 5 innings with a high leg kick yesterday. You'd like to think he could be ready in a couple more weeks if he experiences no setbacks with the foot, but that's a big "if".

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (4)

Oh No Mike, What have they done??? Lets start with gotay, which I personally think we needed his bat because I'm not convinced our offense is any better than last year;i.e. the games we scored with any punch this spring was the result of our, and I mean this Mike, our minor leagures. How many games did we start with the regulars only to be down by a few runs and the subs carried us? Better yet, they were all hurt except a couple and you know who they are and we won game after game with #90 something the hero. O.K.,enough of that,back to ruben. Great pick up for the slippery snake Cox! You don't think he picked him for any info. about any hidden weak spots?? I know that fella. He had Ruben under a spot light drilling him with Larry slapping him if he was holding anything back. How about who we kept. Brady over Tatis? Willie must think he has more than enough offense because Tatis definitely has more power. This is exactly why, I think he, and you know who I mean, needs to go. It looks like we have conceeded every fifth game. Mike needs more polishing. I don't dislike Mike, I think he will have a successful career, but he's not ready. Why would you want to let his confidence take a beating by bringing him up? He is going to get rocked. The only reason one would do that is someone who has it in for young players and rookies and I don't have to mention any names, I can go to last years year book,go to the team photo, a couple rows up, oh yes, right in the center, look at him and whistle!!!!

Let it play out, William. Provided Alou does make it back, Clark won't be around too long. Hopefully Tatis takes a minor league assignment.

Mike, What's your thoughts on letting Pelfrey take a beating? He is going to get tatooed and if we start out hot, our manager is going to leave him out there to prove a point. Smith, last year, looked very frustrated and was left out there and at times got plumeted. Bottom line is, he's not ready, and I do think it's more in his head, but this is not the way to handle it. Until Hernandez is ready, I would rather see a guy called up who knows this is just a one time deal rather than take a chance at ruining this guys head any further. Heck, maybe using a guy out of the pen isn't such a bad idea. I can remember Hodges doing this once in a while. He called on Tug more than once. I don't know, maybe this will work out, but it just doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

I think they still believe in both Smith and Pelfrey. My personal preference, particularly with Pelfrey, would be for more development time. I don't have all the info that Peterson, Randolph and Omar have, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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