UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports, the Mets are about to sign Vargas to a minor league contract, which should become official tomorrow. He will need at least 2-3 starts in extended AAA to get ready, but THIS is the type of move that says we aren't going to rest with our laurels. Thanks, Omar! Read on...
The state of the union of what we thought was going to be the best rotation in the National League is as follows (and it's going to be yet another test of it tonite when Mike Pelfrey, pictured at right, makes his first start of the season):
Johan Santana: 2 games pitched, 2 gems- even without his best stuff! Everything he was advertised to be- and more, if possible!
Orlando Hernandez: He's in a boot for 2 weeks, he has major foot problems, he's way older than the birth certificate he uses implies and by all rights we have no reason to hope for anything from him...and yet, we know that with him in the rotation, even for 15 starts, we're that much better for having him. Realistically, however, this feels like the last hurrah for O-Hern, and we have to move plan on moving forward without him (emotionally AND roster-wise).
Mike Pelfrey: His first start is eminent, mere minutes away, and I can only think that the timing couldn't be worse than to have him come off of an 11-day lay-off to pitch against the Phils' offensive juggernaut! And on national televison, no less! With a bullpen that's been taxed by use and bad outings, we have to hope that big Mike can go at least 6-7 innings - and that might be WAY too much to ask of him. When does he prove us right in drafting him, and where is his plus 95mph fastball gone? Too many questions...if only he can right himself, he still has a chance to be something special. Will it start with tonite's game?
Others: Nelson Figueroa & Jorge Sosa need to be in the bullpen, not starting for us, which is why I am BEGGING Omar to sign both Freddie Garcia and Claudio Vargas - NOW! I know that the Post is reporting that a deal should be done with Vargas by tomorrow, but that's not enough. If we do lose Perez to free agency after the season, Garcia would at least fill that spot capably and if he comes back well from TJ surgery, at his age could be a great long-term addition to the staff. I like Jon Niese a lot, and we have some other borderline starting talent, but a combo of Vargas and Pelfrey and Sosa SHOULD stop the bleeding until either Pedro comes back or Garcia is healthy again (think late July/early August). Either way, with all of the money that's already been spent on the roster, these are small signings, in terms of dollars, to ensure longer-term success then what we've been seeing so far.
I'm really hoping it's not Santana and Maine and pray for rain...
LF Angel Pagan (I think I would have gone with Church here and Pagan after Delgado)
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
RF Ryan Church
2B Damion Easley
C Brian Schneider
P Mike Pelfrey
It'll be Pelfrey against the Phil's Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 7.20 ERA) who beat the Mets' in his only game against them last season. Kendrick is one of those pitchers that we should have batting practice against, and yet he seems to be able to stymie the line-up. We have to score early, again, and more than 2 runs, and in order to do so, Mr. Jose Reyes, the REAL Jose Reyes, had better step up to the plate and make something happen! NOW is when we need him to end the slump (hitting and stolen bases) that has carried over from last season, and quite frankly, if he has to get a little cocky to make it happen, so be it...whatever works and all of that! I will be watching, and taking notes, but my expectation level has dropped so much lately that I am almost resigned to losing tonite- but I DID say "almost" so don't bombard me with nasty emails just yet...