43° Good Afternoon
43° Good Afternoon

Jonathan Papelbon, Sandy Alderson, the Yankees' starting rotation and Gary Carter

Greetings from warm Florida. Wore shorts to work yesterday for the first time in many years down here.

I spent my first day in Clearwater with Jonathan Papelbon, and as he spoke in relaxed fashion, it hit me that Papelbon might have done better than any other free agent this winter. Not in pure dollars, of course, but when you combine all the factors, I think you can make that case. I tried to, at least.

--In Port St. Lucie, Sandy Alderson attempted to present a rosy scenario for the Mets, noting how many people can improve from injury-plagued 2011 seasons. Eh. If I wanted to feed Mets fans a proper mix of optimism and realism, I'd say that a repeat of last year's 77-85 record is quite feasible.

I guess that wouldn't generate much optimism. But I don't believe the Mets, as currently constructed, are a 95-loss team, and hey, that's something, right?

--The Mets are working to keep expectations expectations for their acclaimed young pitchers, David Lennon writes.

--Lennon also lays out the David Wright trade scenario, with Alderson's input. The reasoning makes sense; Wright's unique contract language (he can void his team option for 2013 if he gets traded) and the new CBA wrinkle concerning draft compensation (free agents who have been traded during the just-completed season can't bring back picks) decrease the likelihood of an in-season deal.

Nevertheless, we have to let it play out to see for sure. There just might be an aggressive team in need of a third baseman, just as San Francisco gave up Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran last year even though Beltran couldn't be offered arbitration.

--I wrote a column on Gary Carter that is sort of a cousin to my Friday blog post about Carter. I quoted Bob Tufts in the column; to be more precise, I lifted his comment in Friday's blog post. Thanks, Bob.

--Erik Boland spoke with Brian Cashman about the Yankees' starting rotation surplus, which will decrease by one when the A.J. Burnett trade goes through in the next day or two. If the Yankees have a perfect spring, then they'll hit some late-camp turbulence, as Freddy Garcia will want no part of a bullpen role and the Yankees really seem to want Phil Hughes in their starting rotation. But what are the odds of the Yankees having a perfect spring? The laws of physics and Murphy make it quite possible this question will answer itself without rancor.

--Joba Chamberlain says his right elbow injury was "the greastest thing that ever happened to me." Well, that's weird, as Kramer said at the end of this "Seinfeld" episode.

--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on XM 175 at 2:00 today, with Jim Bowden and Jeff Rickard. And at 10:30 tonight, I'll be on "Sports Xtra" on Fox 5 in New York _ live from Tampa with Duke Castiglione.

--Have a great day.


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