(Chris Soto: This is turning out to be quite the battle as Dillon Gee and Montero continue to match scoreless innings. Montero's command has significantly improved year over year and it seems like he spent a significant amount of time receiving instruction on how to improve his slider. In the past, we viewed the pitch as more fringe average as a complement to his plus change-up and fastball, however, this season it's looking like a legitimate 3rd plus pitch. I still think Dillon Gee will win the #5 SP job...especially now that the Mets have shored up the left side of their bullpen without sending Gee as part of the packages.)
Peter Kerositis | nytimes.com- “...known more for his left-handed power bat than for his glove, (Johnny) Monell has impressed the Mets this spring after signing with the club as an off-season free agent and arriving as a non-roster invitee. In Grapefruit League play, Monell had converted 42 at-bats into a .357 batting average and four home runs through Sunday. “We’ve been very, very happy with what we’ve seen,” Mets Manager Terry Collins said of Monell. “Johnny has handled himself very well, and he’s going to get some more playing time this week.”
(Herb G.: Is there a real competition between Recker and Monell for the backup catcher‘s job? It would be nice to think so. Monell has had a stellar spring, while Recker has been so-so. If Recker is the backup, it would mean that we would only have one lefty hitter on the bench, while Monell could provide a second bat from the left side, something that could definitely come in handy late in games. Monell is more than 2 years younger. Their minor league stats are fairly similar (.273/.351/.461 vs. 264/.347/.448). Although his average hovers around the Mendoza Line, Recker has much more MLB experience. He has spent 2 years with the Mets, earning the trust and respect of the pitching staff, and his defense could make a difference in a close game.)
Mike Vorkunov | nj.com- Twenty four hours ago, the Mets bullpen lay with uncertainty. They had no definitive left-handed option. No healthy pitcher for the seventh inning. And three open spots remaining. By now, that has changed. The Mets made two acquisitions Monday. They traded for left-handed pitcher Alex Torres from the Padres and lefty Jerry Blevins from the Nationals. Each is penned in for the bullpen and will add about $1.9 million to the Mets payroll. In Blevins, the Mets acquired a pitcher who has allowed just a .594 OPS to opposing left-handed hitters for his career...And in Torres, the Mets now have a left-handed pitcher who has proven capable against right-handed hitters, allowing a .540 OPS to them for his career. "These two guys present a little different profile for us," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "On the one hand we have Blevins, who is a left-on-left, and we think Alex Torres is more of a guy who can go longer.
(Herb G.: Kudos to Alderson. These are two fantastic trades. I am not taking any credit for the Blevins trade, but I did send Sandy an email on March 17 imploring him to give Montero a legitimate shot at earning the #5 spot in the rotation and suggesting Blevins as the best candidate for a trade for a lefty reliever, with lots of supporting stats. On March 19 he actually sent me a reply, saying merely “Thank you.” I don't, for one minute, think I influenced him to make that trade, but he has surely come through on both counts. Now, it looks like we go into the season with an extremely strong bull pen, with possibly 3 lefties where days ago it looked like we might have none.)