Mets Spring Training: Moises Alou's Future and Other Burning Questions

Dan SiegelSenior Analyst IMarch 6, 2008

Barry Bonds.  Sammy Sosa.  Kenny Lofton.  Reggie Sanders. Preston Wilson.  Jay Payton.  Xavier Nady.  Marcus Thames.

What do these names have in common?

No, it is not the long awaited sequel to The Mitchell Report (The Mitchell Report 2: Deuces Are Wild).

Rather, it is a list of players suggested to replace hernia victim Moises Alou and the rest of the Mets’ infirm.

Omar Minaya seems to have dismissed the idea of signing Bonds or Sosa, stating on that he would prefer to "…go with someone internal right now."

Of course, baseball fans know that “right now” means:

We are actively searching for players who are better than the schlubs that are currently on the roster.

Kenny Lofton’s name has been floated around by Newsday and some blogs, but Lofton is not right-handed, nor able to fill in at first base.  He would also be another member of the 40 and over crowd.

Reggie Sanders and Preston Wilson are both free agents, so the Mets would not have to part with the little trade-able talent, but nobody knows how much these veterans would command and how happy they would be in a part-time role once the outfield is back at full-strength.

Jay Payton comes with a hefty price tag and his own injury-riddled history.  The Baltimore Orioles would probably like some young pitching in exchange for Payton, rather than a “your bad contract (Schoeneweis) for our bad contract (Payton)” deal.

The Mets have little to offer the Pirates for Xavier Nady, unless they are secretly pining for a young reliever.  The Pirates are also not in a position to take on a big contract.

Marcus Thames seems to be the popular choice, with Detroit having a crowded outfield and some vacancy in the bullpen.  Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Tigers may be interested in right-handed relievers Joe Smith, Matt Wise, or Jorge Sosa.  Thames is a favorite of Tiger manager Jim Leyland, so don’t go packing his bags just yet.

One Tiger name who is less frequently linked to the Mets is that of Brandon Inge.  With the upgrade at third base in the form of Miguel Cabrera and the crowded outfield, Inge is out of a starting job and has not been happy about it.  The Tigers have been giving Inge a lot playing time this spring, more to showcase the utility man that to appease him. 

If the Mets have eyes for Inge, they should act fast because the Dodgers are interested in his services s an insurance policy for the aging Nomar Garciaparra and the young James Loney. 

Dodger skipper Joe Torre would relate well to Inge, another catcher-turned-infielder, and would remind him of a similar player: Jim Leyritz (hopefully in his ability in the batter’s box, not the drunk driving, steroid use…).

Can the Mets afford to part with any of the aforementioned bullpen talent? With Duaner Sanchez needing a week between appearances, Smith, Rule V pick Steve Register, and others like Brian Stokes and Nate Field may be competing for Sanchez’s projected opening day spot while Duaner gets his arm in shape.

The Mets also have to consider the second base situation.  Ruben Gotay has been spotted with a boot on his bum ankle (a la Tom Brady) and Luis Castillo still has yet to play in a Spring Training game. 

Jose Valentin is not ready, and Damion Easley may only see his first action this weekend.  Gotay’s ability to be traded has now become doubly compounded with his injury making him less appealing to other teams and the need for him to be around in case Castillo is not ready to go.

The starting rotation continues to have question marks.  Pedro Martinez’s first start was rained out.  He will have worked a simulated game on Friday and, on paper, is on pace to be the number two starter behind Johan Santana.

Orlando Hernandez threw a 45-pitch bullpen session, displaying his new delivery to ease the pain to his bunioned right foot.  However, El Duque and the Mets are uncertain as to what effect his new mechanics will have on his effective.

2008: Your injuries have come.    


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