Friday Q&A, pt. 1: Mets stuff

Wait, no stops at all? Because even if I limit my coffee and water intake I can only do at most like five or six hours between bathroom breaks. Plus if I’m driving all the way to Port St. Lucie I’m probably going to want to look up good places to eat along the way, and I’m generally willing to drive a little bit out of the way to eat better food than what’s available on the side of I-95.

In any case, it’s Kevin Mitchell. That’s a long drive, and you’re going to want someone who can keep things interesting. Mitchell seems like the right mix of crazy and well-traveled to have great stories to pass the time. I’d say Carl Everett for similar reasons, but I’ve known people who don’t believe dinosaurs existed (really) and I get incredibly frustrated when they’re around and topic comes up — and I just assume it would at some point on a 20-something-hour road trip. So I suppose I’d have to confirm that Mitch believes in dinosaurs before we set out. Bonus points because I suspect Kevin Mitchell appreciates good Southern barbecue as much as I do.

I’d also consider Tsuyoshi Shinjo, despite whatever language barrier may exist. I assume we could find ways to communicate, and his presence alone would be endlessly entertaining. And I’d totally be willing to be Shinjo’s wingman if we stopped at a nightclub or something.

Bossman Junior. It’s one of my favorite things about B.J. Upton.

Via email, Evan writes:

Watching [Carlos] Beltran do stuff like this as well as just maintaining his general all around awesomeness makes me wish the Mets had given some more thought to resigning him after last year, especially considering the way their outfield situation has played out. I realize hindsight is 20-20 and all, but his contract looks like a steal and his talent is well beyond what seems available in free agent outfielders this offseason. Selfish Beltran not providing Sandy with time travel capabilities to inform his free agent signing decisions. Seriously though, did they ever consider resigning him last year?

I have no idea, but I don’t think so. Remember that the Mets had a very limited offseason budget and a whole lot of money already tied up in one veteran corner outfielder — Jason Bay — with most of us pretty excited about Lucas Duda’s bat in the other corner. I, too, wish the Mets had Beltran this year, if only because I very much enjoy watching Carlos Beltran play baseball. But he wouldn’t have made the difference between these Mets and a winning team.

This much I hope: 1) Beltran, who has struggled recently and been unironically accused of failing the struggling Cardinals in the clutch — classic Beltran-blaming — goes berserk and cements St. Louis’ postseason bid over the next few weeks, then does typical Carlos Beltran stuff in the playoffs. I know as a Mets fan I’m not supposed to root for the Cardinals, but for me it’s Beltran uber alles.

2) Beltran enjoys another strong season with the Cardinals in 2013. When his contract expires after the season, the Mets — still in need of outfielders and power hitters but finally free of Bay’s salary — bring Beltran back on a two-year deal. He performs admirably in 2014, then enjoys a swansong season in 2015. He leads the Mets to the World Series, then hits a walk-off grand slam in Game 7, flips everybody off and retires. Five years later, he enters the Hall of Fame in a Mets jersey.

Two from Chris because he asks good questions.

OK, I’ll bite: Torres yes, Thole yes, Acosta no, Pelfrey maybe, Johnson no.

Torres hasn’t been great for the Mets, but he’s got value in that he’s a switch hitter, he’s performed well from the right-handed side of the plate, and he’s excellent on defense. I don’t think they should plan on him starting in the outfield next year, but they’re so short on outfielders that they could probably use him as a reserve or platoon guy. A lot of this depends on the budget, though: If they’re absolutely strapped for cash, the money it will cost to keep Torres may be better spent elsewhere.

Thole’s too young and, as a lefty-hitting catcher who can get on base, potentially too valuable to just let walk for nothing. I know he’s had an awful season and a lot of Mets fans seem near done with him. Whatever. Look at the catchers in the Mets’ system and the free-agent market for catchers. There just aren’t many obvious better options who might be parts of the team’s next contender. He’s not likely to earn much in arbitration anyway. The concussion stuff is scary so they would be well-served to hedge their bets a bit with a decent righty-hitting backup or two (Kelly Shoppach would be good), but Thole should be back. Always go with the biggest sample: There’s still more evidence that Thole can hit like a Major League catcher than that he can’t.

Acosta has quietly been very good in his most recent stint with the big club, but, really, what’s the market going to be like for Manny Acosta this offseason? It’s hard to imagine him getting a guaranteed deal coming off a 7-plus ERA season, and if he does, you know… peace out. If he doesn’t, bring him back on a Minor League deal and stash him in Triple-A until late July when he randomly gets good every year.

Pelfrey’s a tough call. Since the Mets actually have starting-pitching depth to some extent, it seems like he’s got more value elsewhere. But it also seems like it’d be tough to trade him while he’s still recovering from Tommy John surgery, though certainly that has happened before. Most reports suggest the Mets will not tender Pelfrey a contract but could try to bring him back on a less expensive deal, but I wonder if that’s even possible.

Last year, the Mets had to guarantee Chris Capuano $1.5 million and load up his contract with incentives and he hadn’t pitched a full season since 2006. The A’s gave Ben Sheets $10 million before 2010 after he missed all of 2009. With Pelfrey’s history of good health, the relative reliability of Tommy John surgery, pitching being pitching, and Pelfrey’s affiliation with Scott Boras, it seems possible he’d get as much on the open market as he would in arbitration, and eminently likely that if he’s non-tendered he’ll get a better deal elsewhere than he will with the Mets. I have no idea if I’m reading this one right so I’m interested to see how it plays out. And, again, it all depends on how much money the Mets have to play with. But I’m leaning toward thinking they should tender him a contract, assuming they’ll either have a need in the rotation when he’s ready or be able to trade him for something if they don’t. Also — and this will sicken some Mets fans, I know — I still kind of like the idea of Big Pelf in the bullpen.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Thole, it’d be good if they entered 2013 with better hitting Triple-A catchers than Rob Johnson. Easier said than done, I know, but please: Give it a shot.

Late October.

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