By Ed Coleman
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Scott Hairston is back. RHP Jeff Stevens and utilityman Corey Wimberly have been signed to minor league deals.
Please check IDs at the door so we know who you are.
And never fear — Omar Quintanilla is here.
Look, the Mets have obviously not been registering very high on baseball’s Richter scale with their off-season acquisitions. But GM Sandy Alderson remains high on his club, and feels the greatest improvement can and has to come from within. He began where it always starts: with starting pitching.
And how about the position players and last season’s much maligned bullpen.
As I’ve stated before, Alderson did a very nice job, considering the financial constraints he was forced to work under, in re-tooling the end-of-game mix for the Mets. Alderson believes in his team, and thinks that Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch will really help perhaps the greatest weakness from 2011.
With those two finishing games, along with Ramon Ramirez who was acquired in the Angel Pagan deal, Alderson is confident he has turned a minus into a plus.
Francisco and Rauch were introduced to the media on Thursday. Rauch did not finish the season due to knee surgery, so how is he now?
Both Rauch and Francisco closed for the Toronto Blue Jays last year, and Rauch was highly complimentary of his teammate.
Francisco will likely be the closer with Rauch setting him up, and Francisco talked about his role with a new team.
So, what’s left to do for Alderson? What is he searching for?
The health of Johan Santana is a big key to the Mets’ fortunes for 2012, so where is the lefty ace in his rehab at the moment?
There was a great hue and cry about Santana’s health the last time Alderson commented on his status – back page headlines in both tabloids when Santana had not even resumed throwing yet and there was no change in his condition. Alderson said whether Santana could bounce back on normal rest will be determined during spring training.
Alderson had a conversation in San Diego with former Met-for-a-minute Chris Young, who’s rehabbing after yet another shoulder operation. Young would not be ready until mid-season – but he remains a possibility to sign. As for bolstering the rotation with experienced pitchers who are available – Alderson feels the Mets are in a bit of a quandary, and it doesn’t necessarily deal with money.
And that narrows the focus on the types of pitchers they’re both looking for and whom would agree to sign and come.
Could there be a surprising deal swung before spring training that might open some eyes or create some waves? The chances are probably slim to none, and Alderson cautioned – don’t hold your breath.
So, are the Mets limited to players making a million or $1.5 million at this point? Well, Alderson contends that those limits are variable, especially now.
Just about 45 shopping days until spring training. Good luck. And I don’t mean Andrew. That one’s easy.
C U soon
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