The Mets optioned seven players to minor league camp and re-assigned four players to minor league camp. Right-handed pitchers Armando Rodriguez, Josh Stinson and Manny Alvarez, infielders Ruben Tejada, Zach Lutz and Jordany Valdespin along with outfielder Fernando Martinez were optioned to minor league camp. Right-handed pitchers John Lujan and Tobi Stoner, catcher Kai Gronauer and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis were re-assigned to minor league camp.
ARRIVALS: RHP D.J. Carrasco (free agent from Diamondbacks), C Ronny Paulino (free agent from Marlins), INF Chin-lung Hu (trade with Dodgers), LHP Chris Capuano (free agent from Brewers), RHP Taylor Buchholz (free agent from Red Sox), LHP Taylor Tankersley (minor league free agent from Marlins), OF Willie Harris (minor league free agent from Nationals), RHP Chris Young (free agent from Padres), OF Scott Hairston (free agent from Padres), RHP Blaine Boyer (minor league free agent from Diamondbacks), LHP Tim Byrdak (minor league free agent from Astros).
DEPARTURES: LHP Hisanori Takahashi (free agent, signed with Angels), INF Joaquin Arias (claimed off waivers by Royals), C Henry Blanco (free agent, signed with Diamondbacks), LHP Pedro Feliciano (free agent, signed with Yankees), RHP Sean Green (free agent, signed with Brewers), OF Chris Carter (minor league free agent, signed with Rays), RHP John Maine (non-tendered, signed minor league contract with Rockies).
1. RHP Mike Pelfrey
2. LHP Jon Niese
3. RHP R.A. Dickey
4. LHP Chris Capuano
5. RHP Chris Young
The Mets will wait anxiously with fingers crossed for Johan Santana to return from September shoulder surgery, hoping that their ace can take his spot back at the top of the rotation in June or July.
Until then, the Mets will have to hope for best-case scenarios to come true with Mike Pelfrey building on last season, the best of his career, R.A. Dickey repeating his out-of-nowhere 2010 season and Chris Capuano and Chris Young proving healthy enough to stabilize the rotation after each made his way back last season from surgery. The wild card could be Niese, a promising left-hander who won nine games last year. Dillon Gee impressed in September and will be insurance.
RHP Francisco Rodriguez (closer)
RHP Bobby Parnell
RHP D.J. Carrasco
LHP Taylor Tankersley
RHP Taylor Buchholz
RHP Pedro Beato
The Mets may not want to pick up Francisco Rodriguez's vesting option -- a $17 million payout for 2012 if K-Rod finishes at least 55 games this season -- but they clearly need Rodriguez if they want to keep this season from sliding into oblivion. With a pieced together rotation and the loss to free agency of their two best setup men, Rodriguez has never been more important.
The Mets will try to put together a bridge to Rodriguez with returning fireballer Bobby Parnell and free agent pickups D.J. Carrasco and Taylor Tankersley. Pedro Beato, a Rule 5 pick, could stick with a power arm. Jason Isringhausen signed a minor league contract with the Mets during the first week of camp and will compete in major league camp for a spot after pitching in the minors last year in the Reds' system.
1. SS Jose Reyes
2. CF Angel Pagan
3. 3B David Wright
4. RF Carlos Beltran
5. LF Jason Bay
6. 1B Ike Davis
7. C Josh Thole
8. 2B Brad Emaus
One more time, the Mets will hope that the injury problems that have plagued them finally will be in the rear-view mirror and the offense can finally get a chance to function as a whole. The Mets have penciled Carlos Beltran into the cleanup spot -- if his knees permit. He already has been moved from center field to right. If Beltran, Jose Reyes and Jason Bay can stay healthy and perform, the Mets believe their offense can vault them into contention.
Pagan, the new center fielder, had a big breakthrough year in 2010. Ike Davis and Josh Thole get to be starters from Opening Day this time, and Brad Emaus, another Rule 5 pick, could unseat Luis Castillo at second base.
TOP ROOKIES: 2B Brad Emaus could emerge as the favorite to unseat Luis Castillo. Emaus hit .290 with 15 home runs and 75 runs batted in 125 games for the Blue Jays' Class AA and AAA squads last year and came on the recommendation of former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi and the handful of scouts whom Ricciardi brought over in joining the Mets front office. With Castillo on the outs, playing for his job in spring, Emaus, a Rule 5 pick, could split time with Dan Murphy in a platoon.
--RF Carlos Beltran (both knees) is out indefinitely after being slowed by tendinitis in his left knee, which was supposed to be his good knee. He played in one game, as the designated hitter, but was unable to play after that. He developed tendinitis in his left knee because he was compensating for a tight right knee.
--LHP Johan Santana (left shoulder surgery in September 2010) has begun throwing. He likely will miss at least the first half of the 2011 season.
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