It's even nicer on this side of the state than on the Gulf Coast. I haven't been looking. How is the weather back in New York?
Anyway, Mets camp is an interesting place. Terry Collins is a bundle of energy, I'll say that much. My colleague David Lennon has started calling him "Terry Hustle."
Today, Collins played more of an active role than I've ever seen any manager do in spring training. As the Mets worked on their rundowns, Collins himself served as the runner, darting and dashing between third and home and making David Wright and the catchers, and some coaches took part as well. Matt Cerrone from Mets Blog has some photos here.
It was a fun, effective drill, a new twist on an old routine.
Then you had the wise Sandy Alderson and his smart lieutenants Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi (and holdover John Ricco) roaming the premises. And ownership continues to be present and accounted for. The ultra-quiet Saul Katz and Jeff Wilpon both were on site today.
Rule 5 pick Pedro Beato impressed as he threw live batting practice, and you've got to figure he has a good chance to make the club, since the Mets will have to offer him back to Baltimore if they don't want him on the big-league roster.
Collins said he considers Bobby Parnell to be his top setup man at the moment. He also reiterated that he views second base as an offensive position, which I don't fully get. When you're construcing a team, shouldn't you view each position relative to what else on the team? Some clubs can afford to field a light-hitting, slick-fielding second baseman, for instance, because they have reliable offensive coming from other positions.
The manager also said that, had he been king last year, he would've voted for Jenrry Mejia to begin his 2010 season as a minor-league starting pitcher, rather than a major-league reliever. But he said that he understood why Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya decided to make the move they did.
Of course, the move was made largely in the hopes of getting the team off to a strong start, since that's what Manuel and Minaya needed, and the irony is that the Mets did get off to a strong start with very little help from Mejia, and then later in the year, when they sunk, they could've benefited from having Mejia as a re-enforcement.
I spoke with Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes for a column I'm writing. Seriously, I'd appreciate it if you didn't alert the competition.
--It appears that Adam Wainwright has a potentially serious arm injury, and this could impact the entire sport. It obviously weakens the Cardinals - the obvious speculation is that St. Louis will respond by signing free agent Kevin Millwood, not much of a replacement for Wainwright - and if the Cardinals indeed disappoint, then Chris Carpenter would be an obvious trade target. Carpenter will make $15 million this season and has a $15-million team option for 2012.
My friend Joel Sherman has been predicting for a while now that Carpenter will be the Yankees' big, in-season starting rotation upgrade. Today's development might move that prediction cloesr to reality.
Keep in mind that, as someone who meets the standards of a 10-and-5 player (10 years of big-league service time, the last five with the same team), Carpenter controls his destiny. He can turn down any trade. Perhaps he'd want that 2012 option exercised in return for waiving his no-trade right.
--Great, great story by Harvey Araton of the New York Times about the friendship between Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry. These men care about each other as much as I care about Twitter, which alerted me to this story.
--The Ludwick story reminds us how difficult it can be to evaluate midseason trades. Ludwick admits that he put pressure on himself to succeed with San Diego, and that resulted in some lousy numbers.
In the Beane column, meanwhile, Klapisch writes that Beane might step down as the A's GM if the team doesn't begin a move to San Jose from Oakland. That's going to be a tall order, thanks to the Giants' owning the territorial rights to San Jose. But baseball should do what it must, guaranteeing the Giatns however much money it takes, to make it happen. It makes too much sense.