No team shows up to spring training issue free and the Mets are no exception. Even with a good team if you look hard enough youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll find something.
This is what I regard as the MetsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ top ten questions:
Q: Outside of Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez and John Maine, who is in the rotation?
A: The Mets are saying three spots are open in the rotation, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not buying. Maine will be there. That leaves Oliver Perez, who I think is earmarked for the fourth slot, Mike Pelfrey, Phil Humber, Alay Soler, Jorge Sosa, Aaron Sele, Jason Vargas and Chan Ho Park competing for the fifth spot.
Q: Will Glavine and Hernandez go the distance?
A: With all the worrying about who will fill out the back end of the rotation, remember Glavine and Hernandez are both 40 with durability concerns.
Q: Will Duaner Sanchez be ready for Opening Day?
A: This is huge because with him the make-up of the remainder of the bullpen will fall into place. Sanchez said he should be ready coming off shoulder surgery, but if heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not, and then the Mets are juggling right out of the gate.
Q: What about the new guys in the bullpen?
A: Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver were dependable last season but are gone. The Mets are counting on Ambiorix Burgos, Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa (assuming he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the rotation) to fill their roles and keep the chemistry intact.
Q: How healthy are the other players who underwent surgery?
A: Paul Lo Duca (thumb), Aaron Heilman (elbow), Carlos Delgado (wrist and elbow) and Juan Padilla (elbow) all went under the knife. Expectations are good, but you never really know until they start playing.
Q: Does Jose Reyes continue his rise to stardom?
A: He should, be Randolph laid this qualifier on us after the season: Young players donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always progress at a measured rate, and sometimes after a big season can regress a step. The key for Reyes is improving his on-base percentage and cutting his strikeouts.
Q: Will Jose Valentin have an encore season?
A: Valentin played so well last season that it prompted the trade of Kaz Matsui. The Mets will be thrilled with a duplicate season, but realistically, will they get it? If Valentin hits the skids, will Anderson Hernandez be ready?
Q: Will Moises Alou stay healthy?
A: His track record is one of production, but also one of injury. If Alou goes down we could have another up-and-down season with Lastings Milledge, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something the Mets really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want.
Q: What will they get from Shawn Green?
A: Certainly not the power production he gave Toronto and Los Angeles, but they need some consistent RBI output at the bottom of the order.
Q: Will they rediscover last seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chemistry?
A: David Wright said last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s special chemistry was sparked in spring training never diminished. What the Mets had last season was special, and often thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s difficult to duplicate. They need to re-establish that quickly.