Sunday, March 23, 2014

Playing Pepper 2014 With Cardinal 70

For the past several seasons, Daniel Shoptaw of the St. Louis Cardinals' blog, Cardinal70, has asked me to participate in his Playing Pepper series. Well, this year is no different.

Below are my answers to this season's questions concerning the New York Mets. In addition, to my responses, six other Mets bloggers gave their opinions as well. You can check out their responses and Daniel's link via the Cardinal Conclave.

Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below. Lets Go Mets!

1) How would you grade the offseason?

The important thing during this latest offseason for the Mets is not the quality of player but the fact that the Mets can actually spend some legitimate mullah.

Mets fans were screaming bloody murder when Sandy Alderson signed a .235 career hitter in OF Chris Young. ‘Why would he give a fourth outfielder $7M?’ they asked. I guess Alderson is hoping that Young will be this year’s Marlon Byrd. 

Outfielder Curtis Granderson who will give the Mets some legitimate pop and journeyman right-hander Bartolo Colon who will be asked to anchor the back of their young rotation were both good signings in my opinion. In terms of bullpen help, veteran right-handers Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, who both signed minor-league deals, are hoping for one more bolt of lightning in a bottle.

In terms of a grade, I would have to say, (emo-con – slightly pleased)

2) Can Zack Wheeler step up and fill the gap left by Matt Harvey’s surgery?

He’ll definitely fulfill the anticipation factor that Harvey brought every fifth start. Wheeler’s rookie season consisted of seventeen starts (7-5, 3.42 ERA, 84 K in 100 IP) was a learning experience. I’ll be the first to say it, “I‘ll make sure to catch every one of Wheeler’s starts this season.”

3) Which roster battle will be the most intriguing during spring training?

Not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it seems that the Mets have a variety of roster battles. Most notably, the first base position. It’s pretty funny when a right-handed-hitting platoon player, Josh Satin, has already received a green light from his manager that he’ll make the big club come Opening Day backing up either Lucas Duda or Ike Davis, who both face a stint at Triple-A if they’re not chosen to participate on March 31st.    

4) What rookie, if any, will make the most impact on the team in 2014?

My hope is that Travis D’Arnaud makes the biggest splash this season, however, young right-hander Noah Syndergaard is the one that’s on all Mets fans’ radar.

5) What will be the final record of the team and where will they finish in the division?

Vegas has the Mets over-under at 72.5 games. Sandy Alderson has been feeling giddy lately and has projected his $87M Mets can win 90 games. So, I’ll just meet somewhere in the middle and say 81.25 games. Finishing up at .500 would be an improvement.

6) Which player from your team do you most enjoy watching?
I like Daniel Murphy because I know if there’s ducks on the pond and he’s up, there’s a chance that he’s going to come through in the clutch. Plus, he adds some comic relief with his mental lapses on the base paths and he lackluster, at times, defense at second base.

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