I May Be Wrong, But… Oliver Perez, Buffalo, Bobby Valentine, Carlos Beltran, Zach Lutz, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia

1. Oliver Perez will be cut on Wednesday morning.

 

 
2. This is the time of the year I normally project out the minor league rosters. I’m going to pass on that right now because the Mets are still signing players and it’s pretty hard to tell who’s going to be around. All the minor leaguers will be in the house by this weekend and things will start to make more sense.

 

 
In addition, there are a handful of players that are currently playing with the parent team. I don’t expect any major surprise promotions here and the Mets utility squad will most probably consist of recent free agent signees.
That being said…

 
AAA- Buffalo
 

 

This should be a really good team.

 
Rotation wise, it looks like Jenrry Mejia, Josh Stinson, Boof Bonzer, Robert Carson, and Dylan Owen.

 
The pen is currently undetermined, but look for Roy Merritt Jose De La Torre, and Manny Alvarez to head up things, while Ricky Brooks might close.

 
An infield of Lucas Duda, Reese Havens, Ruben Tejada, and Zach Lutz is pretty hot. You might also see Nick Evans back here and Jordany Valdespin will sub.
 

 

Two outfield slots are taken by Fernando Martinez and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and, if Evans returns to 1B, and Duda goes back to the outfield… this is quite the lineup.

 
Catcher is still up for grabs. Mike Nickeas will start the season in Queens and my guess is Raul Chavez will be the opening day starter here.
On the bubble: A bunch of guys, some of which could still wind up in Binghamton. Eric Niesen, Jack Egbert, Elvin Ramirez, Eddie Kunz, Russ Adams, Josh Satin, Eric Campbell, Brahiam Maldonado, D J Wabick, Val Pasccuchi, and Jesus Feliciano… and this doesn’t even cover the new guys the Mets have signed in the past couple of months.

 
Far too many players.

 
Overall, this will easily be the best Buffalo team since they became a Mets affiliate.

 
Manager Tim Tuefel should enjoy his first year in Buffalo. He’s have four (Mejia, Tejada, Havens, Martinez) legitimate candidates to be starters on next years Mets’ 25-man squad… and… there might be a couple more future Mets role players (Nieuwenhuis, Duda) as well.
Scouts will be particularly watching Havens and Carson to see if they develop into the projected player they were when they were drafted.

 

3. It would be very bizarre having Bobby Valentine as one of the minority owners of the Mets. I can’t see this happening, even though the Wilpons need to do something soon if they intend to stay around.
 

 

What you have here would be similar to you if, let’s say, three years ago your investments were equally tied into stock futures and equity in the house you live in on the ocean out on the south shore. Then, the market goes south, you lose that shirt, and all you have left is the money invested in your white elephant that is worth less every day in this economy.
 

 

You really don’t want to sell the house, but you simply don’t have the cash funds left to keep it.
 

 

This is basically the Wilpon’s current problem. They have a wonderful business, but it isn’t what it is worth three years ago, and, according to current ticket sales, will be worth less by the end of the 2011 season.

 
The only light at the end of the tunnel for them is the clearing of contracts at the end of this season, which means, if ticket sales don’t return, you won’t see this kind of money invested into player salaries in the future.
 

 

Damned if you do damned if you don’t. You can’t win without quality players. You can’t have quality players without paying big bucks. And you can’t pay big bucks if you don’t sell a lot of tickets.

 

4. I believe that Carlos Beltran was smart to move over to right field on his own, but I think the Mets are pushing him too quick. Let the guy DH for most of ST and rehab him in April down in the minors. The important thing is for him to 100% heal and then hit the cover off the ball before the trade deadline. Beltran will not be a Met next year under any scenario and the best thing with the current money problem is to get two minimum salaried prospects for his services.

 

5. I think it would be best for the powers to be in baseball to sit down with the Wilpon family and convince them to sell the team. I may be on the outside looking in, but looking for another loan to cover operating expenses before your peak revenue season is about to kick in, means you already know you’re not going to take in more than you have to pay out. Moreover, it seems that the only financial relief this team has to look forward to is when the 2011 contracts run out. You don’t really think that current ownership is going to return the team’s payroll to six figures, do you? They’re cash broke.

 

6. Oliver Perez’s successful two innings on Thursday don’t mean squat. Sure, he left with no runs given up, but his fastball still hasn’t hit 88, no less 95. And this is a guy that just finished pitching in Mexico. You can’t say the velo will be coming when it just isn’t there anymore. I’m sure the powers to be were not happy with his… err… good outing.

 

7. It sure seems that players like Zach Lutz, Lucas Duda, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are getting an awful lot of innings in ST. And, Lutz even made it to first base on Thursday. Wonder why? Well, this is the time of the year that you showcase the best of what you have that you don’t want. All three of these guys are not slotted to replace David Wright, Angel Pagan, and Carlos Beltran, and whether you believe it or not, Fernando Martinez remains the top outfield slotted minor leaguer, followed now by Cesar Puello. If things go right, F-Mart will replace Beltran in RF in 2012.

 

8. It was interesting to watch Jenrry Mejia’s two innings on Thursday. You might not have noticed but he didn’t throw a pitch over 88mph. Believe me, that wasn’t a coincidence. The Mets obvious wanted Mejia to work on his secondary stuff, which he did very successfully. So far, he’s done everything successfully. Hmm…

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I May Be Wrong, But… Matt Cerrone, Jeff Wilpon, Matt Garrioch, Oliver Perez, R.A. Dickey, Kai Gronauer, Kirk Nieuwenhuis

1. Some posters may grow older, but never wiser. I paid a visit to one of my old stomping grounds, NYFS, and found a particular post interesting. It was about Matt Cerrone, of www.metsblog.com  and I couldn’t believe how many of the many loyal posters there think Matt doesn’t know what he is doing. I’ve always had trouble with haters online, but knock Matt Cerrone? Isn’t he the guy that gives most of you morning cup of Mets stuff?

2. Jeff Wilpon seems to be getting a little soft on the loss of Omar. He’s been quoted as saying he misses him and would welcome him back in some capacity. Listen, firing someone can bring you a lot of guilt. I fired people who thought they were my friend. One eventually hung himself in his mother’s bedroom. I haven’t held a job in the radio industry for over  ten years and I still have a minimum of three nightmares a week about that subject. Change is sometimes inevitable and people need to move on without each other. Stay away, Omar.

3. Matt Garrioch, over at www.mlbbonusbaby.com , listed the top 20 international kids signed in the off-season and none were Mets. I expected Elvis Sanchez to be on this list, but I guess Matt wasn’t high on him. There easily could have been a drop off in signings this past off-season, what with all the turnover of brass and scouts. Seven of my top ten Mets prospects came out of international signings, which speaks for its strengths, and the weakness of past Mets drafts.

4. the Mets looking for a minority partner means only one thing… they’re out of family moolah. My first minority ownership was with Specter Broadcasting. Why? Because the original owners came close to running the company in the ground. This is really good news for Mets fans and could be the first step in someday being returned to operating as a big-market team. Hats off to the Wilpons for recognizing the problem.

5.Oliver Perez will compete for a job in spring training as a starter, not a relief pitcher He’s coming off the Mexican League fully stretched, and he will go against Dillon Gee, Chris Young, and Pat Misch for the 4th/5th slot. Chris Capuano will begin ST out of the pen, per Terry Collins.

6. Congrats go out on the 2-year deal for SP R.A. Dickey. The best news about this is the fact it isn’t a 3-year deal. Dickey’s earned this, and even if he fails as a starter, would make a nice addition out of the pen. We all know that both Jenrry Mejia and Matt Harvey are slotted for 2014, but that’s a long way away and anything can happen. On paper, there is no better potential SP5 than Dickey.

7.  I see that Captain Kirk and Kai Gronauer have both been invited to be part of the Mets spring training roster. This will be Kai’s first entrance into the sacred clubhouse and I’m thrilled for him. I’ve contacted him for a response, which, if received, will be in my next posting.

8. changing web site is a real pain… I’ve contacted SportsSpyder and hopefully, they will include my new site soon. We continue to work on the new site, which will change to a real domain site sometime in the next 30 days. My name is owned by some other site, so we’re going to change it eventually to MackBaseball.com …  I’m sorry to put all of you through this, but it’s a necessity for me to accomplish my long term goals as a Mets writer.

9. Could the announcement by the Wilpons have worse timing? We’re less than 20 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting and the last thing Sandy Alderson and Company needs is this kind of media distraction. It must be really bad to throw a press conference about this now. I’m sure the players and coaches will all be a little testy if questions come their way about this crap.

I May Be Wrong, But… Jenrry Mejia, Wally Backman,Terry Collins, Alex Silver, Adam Rubin, Daniel Murphy, John Maine

 

photo by Michael G. Baron

1. I see that the Mets were shut out in the MLB Top 50 prospect list that aired on TV opposite the State of the Union Address by President Obama (by the way, how come no one pays this guy the respect to put the word “President” in front of his last name?). I had predicted Mets fans only needed to turn on during the last 15 minutes figuring Jenrry Mejia would sneak in near the end. This makes one remember one important thing when we are discussing Mets prospects… other teams get to sign players also.

2. Having Daryl Strawberry predict that Wally Backman will be the next Mets manager is like having Lenny Dykstra pick the next stock you’re going to buy. How would you like to be Terry Collins and you wake up and find out one of your roving coaches is already predicting your demise? Nice timing, Straw. Maybe you should stick to the restaurant business and the big Yankee reunion you’re having at the end of this month.

3. I was thrilled to hear Terry Collins say there would be  less players in camp this year. The first thing this tells me is that most, if not all, of the players that are currently projected not to make one of the four full-year minor league teams, won’t report until near the end of ST. This gives the players fighting for jobs more innings to pitch and more grounders to catch. Secondly, it screams of a major league clubhouse of only 40-man members and newbies that have recently been signed. I like that idea to. Don’t put thoughts unachievable in the heads of young prospects. Let them mature at the levels they are supposed to play in.

4. My prayers go out to Texas freshman third baseman Alex Silver, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s scheduled to only miss the first couple of months of the 2011 season. For the full story:  http://texas.247sports.com/Article/Silver-ready-to-fight-disease-12807

5. Adam Rubin had a nice interview with Daniel Murphy on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida. I loved the line about, when Murphy arrived in camp one day, someone asked him “what position he played?”. He answered with “hitter number three”. I have big money on Murph going into this spring training and I don’t understand why the Mets keep signing more guys to compete with someone who has already proved he should be in the starting lineup. Who cares that he never has played second base. No one hits the ball over there, anyway.

 6. I visited one of my favorite sites this morning, http://baseballdraftreport.com/, and I learned that the author was off work today due to “thundersnow”. Now, I’ve been around for a while, and I’ve watched a lot of weather channels, but this was a new one on me. Thundershow?  Was this the name of a new rock band?  I went to Wikipedia and found out there are four different forms of thundersnow. Great. Now there’s four things I didn’t know squat about.

7. John Maine is working out for teams as a relief pitcher. Wasn’t this what a bunch of us said he should have been doing last year? I’m told that all pitchers lie to their pitching coach about their aches and pains, but I’m also told that Maine took the book when it came to telling no one about nothing. Anybody that covered the start of spring training last year could observe that John’s velo was gone, yet Omar and Co. still turned a blind eye and slotted him into the rotation. However, let’s remember he basically was a throw-in in the Jorge Julio for Kris Benson trade on 1-22-06.

 

I May Be Wrong, But… Adam Rubin, Toby Hyde, Brad Holt, Jeff Francoeur, David Rubin, Ed Ryan, Tyler Florence, Jason Pridie, Tobi Stoner

1. Both Adam Rubin and Toby Hyde have written about SP Brad Holt this week. Look, when you’re one of the few guys that show up at the opening day of a camp, you get written about. Holt wants us to believe that he had no idea why he pitched badly last season. I want to believe that, but I’ve had multiple conversations with different observers and the simply fact is he lost his command. The good news is he can still throw a 91-mph heater to the low end of the strike zone, which, as Toby writes, translates to a 95-mph fastball thrown straight and chest high. Put a little last minute movement on that and it goes up to 97. Just ask Johan Santana or Mario Rivera.

2. Look, I loved the acquisition of OF Jeff Francoeur and there was no one more rah-rah in the clubhouse than Frenchy, but it’s not the Mets fault that he swung at everything thrown his way. Jeff needs to learn a lesson from Nelson Figueroa and it would be in his best interest to not knock any team (or any of their fields) that paid him good money to throw a baseball around. My brother-in-law has a very sick three week old but still have to go to his job every day to shovel out the Long Island school system. That’s a job.

3. One of Mack’s Mets writers, David Rubin, has returned to http://metsfever.blogspot.com/ to write about the Mets. Please check him out over there and welcome him back with Ed Ryan.

4. Many of the younger members of the Mets organization are working out in the Dominican complex this week, awaiting their reporting date for Florida. They include:  P Jeurys Familia, P  Jenrry Mejia, 1B Alexander Sanchez, 2B Sneider Batisa, SS Randolf Santana, 3B Aderlin Rodriquez, C Hector Alvarez, OF Julio Concepcion, and OF Thomas De Wolf.

5. Tyler Florence has started a brand new Mets blog… give it a look see at:  http://moneyballmets.blogspot.com/

6. OF Jason Pridie and SP Tobi Stoner, who were both DFA’d after being removed from the 40-man squad, cleared waivers and have returned to the Buffalo lineup. IMO, Stoner will light a candle every night, hoping Dillon Gee remains on the Queens squad come April 1st, while Pridie has a long road uphill trying to win a roster slot against F-Mart, Scott Hairston, Lucas Duda (who will also play 1B), local favorite Val Pasccuchi, DJ Wabick, Captain Kirk, and Brahiam Maldonado.