Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Neither did the Yankees or Rangers. But it’s the Phightin’ Phils who now have ace lefty Cliff Lee who, after bouncing around the country in the American League for a year, returns to Philadelphia to join up with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt and form baseball’s version of the Fab Four.

The Mets held their annual holiday party for New York City school kids on Tuesday at CitiField, and found themselves being bombarded with a myriad of questions about the arch-rival Phillies acquiring yet another ace to add to an already formidable pitching staff full of them. New manager Terry Collins was asked how do you go about beating the Phillies now 1369-1.

And it’s gonna have to be to beat that bunch. Third baseman David Wright talked about what makes Lee so special 1375-2.

Meanwhile, new G.M. Sandy Alderson, who’s scouring the scrap heap for starting pitchers to flesh out his rotation, had to admire the handiwork of Philly G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. Short term, it hurts, no question – but how does the re-arrival of Lee in Philadelphia affect the Mets’ long-term thinking, Sandy? 1370-1.

Wright – who has seen the Mets abandon plan after plan over the years, trying to re-adjust in mid-stream, was encouraged by Alderson’s remarks. Wright believes the Mets need to have a plan – and stick to it 1375-3.

First baseman Ike Davis will be entering his second season – and is already on his second manager. He’s familiar with Collins as the former Mets minor league field co-ordinator, so what does he think of the promotion 1372-1?

Leftfielder Jason Bay was on board as well for the holiday festivities. He endured several agonizing seasons as a Pittsburgh Pirate, and said there usually is a sound reason for change 1374-1.

Bay said he is feeling great, no after-effects from the concussion he suffered in Los Angeles this past season that sidelined him for good. Bay said there’s one thing missing that tells him that he’s fine 1374-2.

Speaking of fine, Carlos Beltran stated he is as well. Beltran has picked up the pace of the rehab on his knee, and said right now things are progressing nicely 1373-1.

The Mets also recently finalized their coaching staff under Collins. As expected, the popular Ken Oberkfell will be Collins’ bench coach – he is the laid-back ying to the managers’ Type-A yang. Obie has been the Triple AAA manager the past 6 seasons, was the interim first base coach after Willie Randolph and his coaches were fired, and managed Escogido in the Dominican to the Caribbean Series championship last year. Another popular figure – Mookie Wilson – will be the first base coach, his second stint there, also serving under Bobby Valentine from 1997-2002.

Dave Hudgens will be the new hitting instructor, taking over for Howard Johnson. He has Cleveland and Oakland ties in his background, and wants to instill an aggressive mind-set at the plate in his hitters.

Jon Debus was named bullpen coach. Collins credited Debus for helping to develop new Yankee catcher Russell Martin when Martin was with the Dodgers. Debus will likely work with Josh Thole as well. Third base coach Chip Hale, who also interviewed well for the manager’s opening, and pitching coach Dan Warthen – both highly respected – will return to round out Collins’ staff.

Anyone seen Chris Young lately?

C U soon
Eddie C.

pixy Colemans Corner: Mets Talk About the Phil Lees

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