You may think the headline is an allusion to the Mets and their long-term plan, and maybe it works that way too, but I’m referring now to the two week period before Opening Day. The newness of Spring Training has faded to the point that just having baseball back is no longer enough. The World Baseball Classic is over. The prospects we really want to keep an eye on are mostly back in minor league camp as the major league guys are now getting most of the playing time in order to get used to the everyday schedule of the regular season. Most of the roster races are just about decided, even if not announced.
Worst of all is that every bump and bruise gets magnified in the lack of much to really talk about. When you’re in a waiting room even back issues of magazines you never pick up otherwise become interesting, and it’s much the same with baseball. Jordany Valdespin’s personality becomes a hot topic. Every comment from Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson that has the least bit of doubt becomes a disaster and is analyzed for double, or even triple, meaning. Every player that skips a start or doesn’t make a bus trip they were supposed to is headed for the disabled list. When other teams make cuts to trim their roster, those guys always look like they’d be a good fit for the Mets. (Although I agree on Ronny Cedeno)
No, really. Relax. Don’t let writers feeling the need to write something, anything, push you into extreme pessimism. It’s 10 days until Opening Day and until then everyone is healing. Even if guys aren’t quite ready by Opening Day, they may be ready less than a week later. It’s a long season. Captain David Wright will recover from his intercostal strain, just like he did last year, and play very well this season. Daniel Murphy will get back on the field. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is playing minor league games, and will be able to join the Mets soon. He’s got a lot to prove, but he’s only 25. Johan Santana will get his arm strength up. It might take a while, but he will. Jeremy Hefner isn’t a bad pitcher in the interim and the Mets have other guys that can pitch in some. Frank Francisco will get healthy and pitch like he has in his career, or he won’t and someone else will get those innings that can do something productive with them.
It’s a long season. Even if the Mets do start out a little injured they won’t stay that way. Guys well get better and other guys will get hurt. Some players will surprise you and become more than adequate replacements when they get their shot to play. Just relax because baseball will be here before you know it and we can stress and worry and fret plenty then.