A lot of Mets fans are fiery and routinely get their panties all bundled up from articles written. A lot of times these articles are baseless, sometimes they aren't, but they always still infuriate us. I'm no different. Why even bother bringing certain people to spring training and wasting their time? I posted yesterday about the pure silliness of Jeff Keppinger's recent dismal of actually having a chance and it is hard to get that unhappy about a guy who has not walked once yet, but let things play out before you open your yap to the media. It is no secret I am in fact pulling for the front runner to get his shot, but give everyone else a least that. A shot.
It is amazing to me that some guys do not have a shot while some guys cannot play bad enough to lose a spot. Of course Kaz at least proved at some level, however tiny, that he can play. His rookie year was not a failure at the plate. In the field yes, but he was hitting boatloads of doubles and finished strong. Last year, he looked lost for the entire year until the end and started picking it up. Call me crazy, but I believe in him. I think he can play though he will not win any gold gloves. With that being said, to dismiss anyone this early in the spring without letting things play out is just Randolph-ish.
That takes me to another tidbit that raised my blood pressure. Ryan McConnell from Always Amazin' linked to this David Lennon article about starters that he inked on Sunday. I have no problem with anything that Lennon wrote, outside of the false fact that he said Miguel Cabrera was playing for the Dominican team when he is Venezuelan, since he was just reporting facts. Vomit inducing facts for anyone who is keeping track.
The Mets got another look at Jose Lima, a favorite of general manager Omar Minaya. Lima has emerged as a solid candidate for the back end of the rotation. Pitching with a split squad, Lima started against the Marlins, a team that now is Triple-A level after an off-season of drastic payroll cuts and with Miguel Cabrera off playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Lima struck out the side in the first inning of the Mets' 10-6 win at Tradition Field.
Lima didn't allow a hit until the fourth, but that's when the Marlins tagged him for four runs, with the big blow Reggie Abercrombie's two-run double. Still, the Mets like Lima's fiery personality and believe his experience makes a difference.
Wait...huh...wuh? They STILL like his fiery personality and BELIEVE his experience make a difference? By way of The Eddie Kranepool Society, a quote from a New York Times article:
Lima, who went 5-16 for Kansas City last season, made his debut in a Mets uniform Saturday against a lineup of Marlins with little or no major league experience. It was a lineup that any pitcher with major league aspirations would be expected to handle, and the 33-year-old Lima did so for three innings, allowing no hits and two base runners. In the fourth, the Marlins put together a four-run rally against him.
Mets Manager Willie Randolph, General Manager Omar Minaya and the pitching coach Rick Peterson all praised Lima's efforts.
Ok, that is all well and good, but this is not Little League where the uncoordinated kid needs to get a lollipop after each game because they tried. I like Lima too because he cracks me up. His wife is hot too. Yeah, yeah. His ERA was 6.99 last season. The best thing you could say about him is that he started 32 games. His month by month breakdowns for ERA? 6.08, 10.05, 7.11, 3.79, 6.52, and 9.64. In other words, horrific.
I know what some of you are thinking. "Brah, he had a not so bad 2003 and 2004 and can certainly be comparable with Kaz's successes and failures over the last two years." Sure. But the Mets also have more pitching choices than second base choices. There is little room in the pen and little room in the rotation. I have no faith in him and I really do not think Kaz should get handed the job. I want him to get a chance, but if he fails to step up this Spring, how can I continue to bat for him if others performed a lot better?
I cannot. Heath Bell performed well last Spring only to miss the roster for guys that were offered Major League contracts or out of options and stands to inevitably see that happen again this year no matter how he performs. Brian Bannister has virtually no shot at making the big club no matter how good he does. Yet, when it comes to other people, they can do no harm. Jose Lima has an 8.10 ERA in 6.2 innings. Surely 6.2 innings is not large enough to close the door on him, but what is he really going to contribute over the year. The fact that the door was basically shut on Keppinger before anything even got heated and the fact that door is wide open for Lima regardless of effectiveness speaks volumes about some on going things with this Met organization. To a certain extent you have to look at team makeup, but how many character guys can one team have? At some point, skill has to be valued over character and present performance over past experience. When that happens, maybe the Mets can run away with the NL East.
"I let them play," Randolph said. "It's not always going to come down to average and statistics. It's just how you play the game. Managers look at players and it's what they see."
Sad stuff. While on the topic, we all know that I have been the biggest proponent of Victor Diaz starting for multiple reasons, but Nady has been killing the ball this Spring. That is a race that is flat out being one at this point and Nady, should he keep out hitting Victor Diaz, should earn the role of right fielder. I have complained about Diaz's uphill battle, but it may be a moot point whether or not he really had a fair shot at this point if Nady keeps punishing the ball like he has been.
The United States, with one win and one loss in the second round, must beat Mexico on Thursday -- when the Americans will have ace Roger Clemens on the mound -- then hope it comes out ahead in the tournament's bizarre tiebreak criteria, the first of which is runs allowed.
The USA really does not deserve to move on and one has to wonder if the US pitching really had a chance. I did not do the research and do not really care too, but generally, international players, pitching especially, work more and are more into game form during the winter. They pitch in their home countries because they thing it is more a duty to play in front of their home countries' crowds. You just see that more often with guys from the Dominican Republic than the US and only young American pitchers get involved with Winter Ball. Again, no research, just a thought which could have been made up. Added to that, the Japanese Spring Training started a bit before the Major League Spring Training.
Alex Rodriguez -- mockingly labeled "Mr. March" in a back-page tabloid headline in New York after his broken-bat, ninth-inning single lifted the United States over Japan on Sunday -- came to the plate four times Monday night with two runners on base, and all four times he failed to hit the ball out of the infield although he did have an RBI groundout in the ninth.
Mr. March? That is pure gold.
Troubled Marlins pitching prodigy Jeff Allison has fallen off the fast track again.
Allison, the talented right-hander who overcame a heroin overdose and a dependency on OxyContin to return to the mound last season, left the team's minor league complex during spring training. He has not been released or placed on the restricted list, but it's unclear when or if he will return to the organization.
"I don't know what his (official) status is, but no, he's not with us," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "He's suspended, I believe."
'Tis another disappointing story so far. I posted the Josh Hamilton story a while back, it is a pretty interesting read if you have some time.