The morning I made a half-hearted case for Bobby Valentine to take over as the Mets’ manager if and when Jerry Manuel gets fired. Part of my half-heartedness about it all was that I was agreeing with Mike Lupica, but part of it was based on the sense that while hiring Bobby Valentine could maybe make the Mets exciting again . . . hiring Bobby Valentine could make the Mets exciting again. In a bad way. Things almost always seem to end badly for Valentine, and they ended rather badly the last time he left New York.
Jon Heyman — another guy I don’t always enjoy agreeing with, but who in this case I think is right — makes the point better than I just did:
Judging by what’s being said, the most popular choice for successor
would be Bobby Valentine, who did a superb job as Mets manager in
his first go-round, from 1996 through 2002. But Mets ownership seems
reluctant to go for Valentine II, according to people who talk to them.
[Bob] Melvin did a respectable job in Arizona, where he got the team to the
NLCS in 2007 and was known as a solid guy who was very receptive to
front office suggestions. In other words, he’ll be better than Valentine
at doing exactly what the bosses say without challenging them too much.
The Mets front office wants a company man, and Bobby Valentine, for all of his wonderful traits, is not a company man.
For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East
Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams. The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.