Just over a month ago I speculated on composition of the Opening Day roster of the New York Mets. I was 80% right.
Do I know my team or what?
Apparently not so much. Even allowing in advance for the possibility of injury, I actually penciled in for March 31 the names Moises Alou, Ramon Castro and Orlando Hernandez, a trio that has spent a combined 472 years, give or take, on the Disabled List since 2007, including right now. They are replaced, respectively, by youthful Angel Pagan, ancient Raul Casanova and possumy Mike Pelfrey.
Matt Wise made the team after all, but Duaner Sanchez did not. He is another ultimately unsurprising disablee, replaced at least for now by Joe Smith, who has shown a penchant for confusing batters in springtime. May it be a long spring for Joe Smith.
And the kid from 2007, Ruben Gotay, is unfortunately Atlanta-bound, replaced by THB Class of 2002 member Brady Clark. Clark's presence among us is a moderate upset given the reported surge in support for Fernando Tatis in the past week. Gotay's loss is a little distressing, especially since he wound up claimed by the Braves (the only thing we'd like them to claim is last place), but I won't pretend I was his biggest supporter. I liked half his bat — the right half — if little of his glove. But the kid was fast and had moxie, as evidenced by his contribution to the memorable five-run ninth the Mets pinned on the Cubs last May 17, and this team could always use more moxie, to say nothing of speed. Then again, Brady Clark wore 93 in St. Lucie (since reduced to 44) and made the team, so that's pretty moxieish if you're scoring at home.
We've been down Pagan's path a bit and it's thrilling to watch an original Cyclone swirl into Opening Day as the Mets' starting left fielder, though a healthy Alou, if such a commodity exists, would be preferable in that role. Whatever Wise chips in will be a welcome upgrade from the way Guillermo Mota crumbled under the pressure of serving up snacks to opposing hitters (without a side of HGH). Pelfrey feels like he's been trying to live up to his prospects since the days of Hank Webb (who played with Tug McGraw, who played with Julio Franco, who played with Mike Pelfrey), but maybe there's some baseball version of lousy dress, great performance at work with him and his tantalizing right arm. The most intriguing thing to me about Raul Casanova is that he was actually the player to be named later in the deal that sent Wally Whitehurst to the Padres.
Yeah, a lot later.
Your crew of 2008 Mets is set for now, and I do mean now. It changes and changes and changes again in the course of a season, so unless you're one of those people who must absolutely have a baseball card for every Met who's ever played, don't get too hung up on who's not here and too attached to who clings to the fringes…unless you are so inclined. It's baseball season almost. It's as good a time as any to develop irrational attachments. Even rational ones.
We are only 24 hours from Johan. I can't wait.