Diving into the depths: New York Mets

Leave a comment

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.

David Ortiz thinks the Yankees leaked his 2003 drug test results

Getty Images
3 Comments

David Ortiz was one of the hundred or so ballplayers who tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing which was designed to determine whether or not baseball’s drug problem was significant enough to warrant full-blown testing the following year.  His and everyone else’s name was supposed to remain confidential — indeed, the test results were supposed to be destroyed — but the government illegally seized them and, eventually, his, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa’s names were leaked.

While most people have long moved on from those survey test results — and while Rob Manfred himself recently said that those results may not, in fact, establish that Ortiz took banned substances  — the story still sticks in Ortiz’s craw. So much so that he’s still out speculating about how his results were made public. His theory? The Yankees did it. From an interview on WEEI:

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he said. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

I’m gonna call B.S. on that.

At the time names were surfacing in connection with those test results, in the summer of 2009, I was given a list of players by an anonymous source. This person claimed it was a list of all 100+ players who tested positive in 2003. Given the nature in which they were provided to me and given that, at the time, there were a lot of people circulating hoax lists, I was dubious to say the least. I had a separate source at the time who knew people who had access to the actual list of players. The source would not tell me who was on the actual list — it was and continues to be confidential — but the knowledgable source did confirm for me that, as I suspected, my list was bunk. I obviously didn’t write anything about it and moved on.

Some added value from that conversation, however, was learning just how few people actually had access to the real list. A small handful of top officials at the union and the league office did, I was told, and obviously the government had it given that they seized it in their idiotic and illegal raid, but that was it. Clubs, I was specifically told, did not have the list.

We’ll never know for sure, but I strongly, strongly suspect that the source of the leak was either IRS/FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, who spearheaded the government’s investigation into PEDs or someone close to him, such as the prosecutors with whom he worked. Novitzky spent close to a decade outing and prosecuting athletes for PED use and, in my view and the view of many others who followed the story at the time, he saw his work as an almost holy crusade. As the above-linked story about the federal court smacking down his seizure of the 2003 test results as illegal, he was often overzealous.

The reporter who broke the story of David Ortiz’s positive test result was Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt almost always had the first stories about players being outed as PED users during that period and his reporting on steroids in baseball in general almost always carried with it a pro-government slant. As I said, we’ll never know for sure, but it seems obvious to me that federal investigators and prosecutors were his sources. I suspect they were his sources for the name-naming articles as well. When Ortiz’s name leaked, Novitzky’s investigation was on the brink of being smacked down hard by a federal court and, I suspect, he leaked Ortiz’s name to the New York Times as a means of putting a face on the story and getting public sentiment on the side of those who would name names.

Like I said, though, that’s all ancient history at this point. At least to most people. It’s not to David Ortiz, which is understandable given that the whole incident affected him personally. But I think he’s wrong on the Yankees being the ones to out him. I don’t think anyone with the Yankees knew who was actually on the list. And even if they did, they had no incentive to get into some sort of P.R. war about PED users given that they already at least one prominent superstar getting killed for PED use and a lot of other ones who could possibly have been on the list as well.

But the feds had the list. And a desire to have the bad guys they were trying to prosecute shamed in the public arena. I’d bet a decent sum of money that they’re the ones who leaked your name, Big Papi. I’d aim your rhetorical guns at them if I were you.

 

Buster Posey and Brandon Belt had an on-field tiff Saturday night

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Giants beat the Cardinals on Saturday night, but there was some grumpiness between a couple of Giants players all the same.

As Hank Shulman reports, late in the 13-inning game Fox TV cameras caught catcher Buster Posey yelling at first baseman Belt after Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals stole second base. Then, after the final out, there was a brief, cold stare down between the teammates. The issue would appear to be Posey being upset with Belt for not holding Piscotty close at first base and then Belt being upset with Posey for calling him out in front of God and the fans and the TV cameras and everyone.

Neither Posey nor Belt would talk about it to reporters afterwards or on Sunday, saying the matter was between them and that they’d deal with it privately. Which is a smart move.

Of course, if Posey heeded that advice beforehand and took up his dissatisfaction with Belt in private, the reporters wouldn’t have even known about it in the first place.