It is time for another round of the World Baseball Classic. This one is going to have a different feel for the Mets, who have been quite well-represented in previous tournaments. While all rosters have yet to be finalized, perhaps David Wright will be the only player from the major league roster to be involved in 2013. In the last go round the Mets had 17 players, including Wright, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, J.J. Putz and Jose Reyes.
In case you blocked it from your mind, the last WBC occurred in 2009. You might recall that 2009 did not go too well for the Mets. Each of the five players listed above who participated in the WBC ended up on the disabled list, which was a marked difference from the good health that the Mets enjoyed in 2008. That year Beltran, Delgado, Reyes and Wright played in 639 out of 648 games. In 2009 the same quartet played in just 287 games.
It is easy to chalk up everything bad that happens to the WBC, but we should keep in mind that it is mostly conjecture. Plus, we cannot discount another area of potential karma to the dismal year that was 2009. That’s the year the Mets moved into Citi Field. Still, I’m relieved that Wright will be the only key representative there for the Mets. Ex-Met R.A. Dickey will be there, too. Even though he’s no longer on the team, no doubt all Mets fans will still be pulling for him in 2013.
ENCOURAGING NEWS FOR DUDA ON INJURY FRONT – One of the tough things in the offseason is the relative lack of news on how injured players are faring. The Mets and their fans can breathe a little sigh of relief with the news regarding Lucas Duda, who broke his right wrist after falling while moving a TV. Not only is Duda going to be fine, he is going to report to Spring Training early to get some extra work done with hitting coach Dave Hudgens. Many people are less than thrilled with the work of Hudgens but there’s no doubt he deserves credit for his work with Ike Davis last year. Perhaps he can work his magic this year with Duda and coax a big HR year out of the 6’4, 255-pounder.
METS AVOID ARBITRATION WITH PARNELL – The Mets try their best to avoid arbitration with their players and they have already come to terms with one of their three potential cases when they agreed to a one-year, $1.7 million deal with Bobby Parnell. Earlier in the offseason, it was projected that Parnell would earn $1.5 million, so this deal is right in line with earlier estimates. Parnell took a big step forward last year and a similar type of season in 2013 could leave him in line for the closer’s job the following year once Frank Francisco’s contract runs out.
SO, HOW EXACTLY DO YOU PRONOUNCE D’ARNAUD? – The New York Post’s Kevin Kernan spent some time earlier this month with newly-acquired Travis d’Arnaud and filed a nice three-page profile on the Mets’ catcher of the future. Among other tidbits that we learned about the youngster was that we should pronounce his name “Dar-No.” All of this time I’ve been reading it in my head as D-Are-Naud. Then again, I didn’t take French in school…
QUOTES FROM ALDERSON’S APPEARANCE ON WFAN – Sandy Alderson was a guest on Mike Francesa’s radio show Thursday and Eric Simon of Amazin’ Avenue did the dirty work of listening and transcribing the interview. Alderson generally comes across well whenever he speaks with a member of the media and Simon transcribing it meant I didn’t have to listen to Francesa. The whole thing is well worth reading but I want to highlight two things that stood out to me. First is Alderson on center field:
Alderson: … Center field right now is probably [Kirk] Nieuwenhuis and a player we obtained from the A’s, Colin Cowgill, who I think will be an interesting player to watch in spring training.
Francesa: What would you say about him?
Alderson: Sort of a hard-nosed, dirt player and a little bit of speed. Should be very good defensively, hits left-handed pitching pretty well. I think he’s kind of an under-the-radar addition who might be fun to watch.
The other thing that struck me in the interview was talk about signing Scott Hairston. Alderson indicated that it was not just about money with Hairston but also about playing time. Alderson is hesitant to sign Hairston in part because he wants to be fair about playing time and at this point the Mets cannot guarantee how much that might be because they are still working on other things. Here’s the relevant passage:
Francesa: Okay. We understand you can’t talk about those, but you’re still in the mix for some other moves that could be considered bigger moves in the outfield?
Alderson: We are, yeah. Now, how would I handicap the possibility of those happening? It’s difficult.
Francesa: You want to take a swing at it?
Alderson: A handicap? Probably 50-50. That doesn’t really tell you anything, but…
Francesa: Well, it’s better than 90-10.
Alderson: Yeah, it think it’s definitely better than 90-10. I think 50-50 is a more accurate estimate because there are a couple of things going on. They don’t both have to happen. So yeah, 50-50.
Thanks again to Simon for transcribing the entire interview. Go to his site and read it.