Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let's all take a deep breath

So the Mets' opening day first baseman is going to be... Mike Jacobs.


To me, Jacobs is a DH and has no business in the National League, but his presence as a starter is sadly unavoidable, thanks to the knee injury suffered by Daniel Murphy. In fact, of all the Mets' health issues, the Murphy injury bothers me the most, even more than those concerning Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran.

Why? Because we knew Beltran was going to be out until sometime in May, and as for Reyes, making opening day was always a long shot, so if he misses the first week, no big deal. He'll be back 100%.

Murphy's injury, besides being a setback for the man himself, served to revisit the idea of Ike Davis making the big club. Like Jennry Mejia, Davis tore it up in spring training to the point that many people, especially media folks, clamored for the Mets to bring the kids to Flushing.

That's a mistake for both players, even with Murphy's injury.

Yes, Davis looked great in camp. He hit some bombs. He is the first baseman of the future, no question about it. But he hasn't played above AA, and in just a couple of minor league seasons, he hasn't proven he can hit lefties or breaking pitches consistently. Like Fernando Martinez, the Mets want to see Davis get at-bats at the AAA level and continue developing. There is no doubt that both of them -- health permitting, of course -- are going to be solid major league players.

As for Mejia, I fear the Mets are going down the Joba path. Mejia has been a starter. He has ridiculous stuff. I'm sure he would do great in the bullpen, but so soon? His minor league numbers have been pedestrian, and we all know that spring training stats mean nothing once the season starts.

Even if he isn't the eighth-inning guy, why throw him into the MLB fire now? Let's say he gets lit up -- why risk damaging his confidence? Plus, he is a starter and several scouts have pegged him as a No. 1 or No. 2 guy. Best to let him develop in the minors, because that kind of a starter is infinitely more valuable than a reliever, regardless of the state of your current bullpen.

Think about Mariano Rivera. He used to be a starter. That didn't work out, and then he was sent to the bullpen. Let's give Mejia a chance to start. If not, fine -- maybe he becomes a dominant reliever after all.

Of course, Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel need the team to win now, and so Mejia may very well be in the bullpen to start the season. I'd rather see Feliciano and Takahashi share setup duties.

Murphy, meanwhile, has to feel lower than a snail's belly these days. He had an awful spring, and then he gets hurt in an avoidable baserunning mistake. Now we're stuck with Jacobs at first base, and you know he's going to homer on opening day. Which, if it helps the Mets win, would be great. But Jacobs is not the answer. At all.

It's pretty messy. But did we expect anything less?

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