TIM ROHAN | NY Times.com “The issues facing the Mets entering spring training, Collins’s fifth with the team, are relatively simple. Collins has to choose a leadoff hitter between Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares. Collins said Gee would go to the bullpen if he or one of the other starters is not traded, so Collins would have to make sure that transition goes smoothly. And he has to anoint a closer. He indicated Saturday that Bobby Parnell, who is also returning after Tommy John surgery, would have to re-earn his job. Yes, Collins thinks the Mets are a playoff team — especially with a healthy Harvey returning. “I say, ‘Hey, it’s time,’ ” Collins said. “We’ve been sitting around for four years, asking everybody to be patient, even the players. ‘Hey, it’s not going to happen overnight.’ Well, it’s time.”
Herb G. You have to like Collins joining the chorus and singing the post season song. Often, Collins has put his foot in his mouth when speaking off the cuff, but he seems to have identified some real issues here. Despite performing poorly last year as a leadoff batter, Curtis Granderson has hit in the leadoff spot more than any other place in the lineup over his career, and done pretty well at it. Lagares had a very good year when leading off last year, showing that he can use his speed to advantage on the base paths during the second half. Selecting a leadoff batter is a legitimate question for Terry. Also, I think he is right to point out that Parnell will have to earn the closer’s job. Mejia did very well in the role last year, Familia showed he has what it takes to close effectively, and Black cannot be discounted.
Adam Rubin | ESPN New York “Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola offered a 1980s-era Met as a comparison when discussing 24-year-old lefty reliever Jack Leathersich. “You remember Sid Fernandez? He’s very much like Sid,” Viola said Saturday. “The ball comes out of his hand, it looks like it’s coming 100 mph. And you look at the radar gun, it’s 92. But it just sneaks up on you because of the angle of the arm slot.” The area for improvement, though, is control. Las Vegas manager Wally Backman recently compared Leathersich to former reliever Mitch Williams, whose nickname happened to be “Wild Thing.” Leathersich has walked 36 in 37 1/3 career Triple-A innings. “All he’s got to do is slow down, take a deep breath and slow the pace of the game down, he’s going to be fine,” Viola said.”
(Herb G. The Leather Rocket has impressed since the first day he donned a Brooklyn Cyclones uniform in 2011, striking out 26 batters and walking only 3, while compiling a 0.71 ERA and 0.711 WHIP, in 12.2 innings of relief, thus serving notice that he was a prospect to be reckoned with. Since that time, however, control has been an issue, perhaps because he tries to be too precise. If Leathersich can learn to relax this spring, and trust his naturally deceptive motion, he could be a force in the Mets’ bull pen for years to come.)