Diving into the depths: New York Mets

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
New York Mets
Rotation
1. Johan Santana
2. John Maine
3. Mike Pelfrey
4. Oliver Perez
5. Fernando Nieve
6. Jon Niese
7. Pat Misch
8. Nelson Figueroa
9. Tobi Stoner
10. Josh Fogg
11. Bobby Parnell
12. Elmer Dessens
13. Jack Egbert
14. R.A. Dickey
15. Jenrry Mejia
It’s hard to believe the Mets are really about to enter spring training with that rotation. Sure, there’s considerable upside, but Santana is coming off elbow surgery, Maine has had shoulder problems, Pelfrey had a 5.03 ERA last year and Perez is the biggest question mark of them all.
Nieve is supposed to enter spring training with a leg up on Niese, though that makes little sense to me. Nieve does have the talent to help the Mets as a starter, but he hasn’t turned in a healthy season since 2005.
Bullpen
1. Francisco Rodriguez
2. Kelvim Escobar
3. Pedro Feliciano
4. Ryota Igarashi
5. Bobby Parnell
6. Sean Green
7. Nelson Figueroa
8. Pat Misch
9. Fernando Nieve
10. Josh Fogg
11. R.A. Dickey
12. Clint Everts
13. Jack Egbert
14. Tobi Stoner
15. Elmer Dessens
16. Eddie Kunz
17. Arturo Lopez
18. Jay Marshall
The Mets opened up some additional bullpen competition by trading Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews Jr. They do have plenty of depth, particularly when it comes to swingmen. Figueroa, Misch, Nieve, Fogg, Dickey and Dessens are all capable of moving back and forth between the rotation and the pen. Still, they’re going to be hurting in the seventh and eighth innings if neither Escobar nor Igarashi comes through.


Catcher
1. Omir Santos
2. Henry Blanco
3. Josh Thole
4. Chris Coste
First base
1. Daniel Murphy
2. Fernando Tatis
3. Frank Catalanotto
4. Mike Hessman
5. Ike Davis
6. Nick Evans
7. Chris Carter
8. Mike Cervenak
Second base
1. Luis Castillo
2. Alex Cora
3. Anderson Hernandez
4. Fernando Tatis
5. Russ Adams
Shortstop
1. Jose Reyes
2. Alex Cora
3. Anderson Hernandez
4. Andy Green
Third base
1. David Wright
2. Fernando Tatis
3. Mike Hessman
4. Mike Cervenak
5. Shawn Bowman
The Mets should be among the worst in the league at catcher and first base. Perhaps second base, too, unless Castillo can bounce back a bit defensively. I like Tatis, but the Mets probably would have been better off paying the price for Carlos Delgado and pushing Murphy into a reserve role.
Left field
1. Jason Bay
2. Angel Pagan
3. Gary Matthews Jr.
4. Fernando Tatis
5. Frank Catalanotto
6. Daniel Murphy
7. Fernando Martinez
8. Nick Evans
9. Chris Carter
Center field
1. Carlos Beltran
2. Angel Pagan
3. Gary Matthews Jr.
4. Fernando Martinez
Right field
1. Jeff Francoeur
2. Angel Pagan
3. Gary Matthews Jr.
4. Fernando Martinez
5. Fernando Tatis
Pagan deserves every opportunity to start in center field while Beltran is out at the beginning of the year. It’d be bad news for the Mets if Matthews hits .400 this spring and wins the job.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.