By: Michael Ganci

#9Innings: Jim Callis: Cespedes in Center Not Good for Mets Defense

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Have you ever seen anything like this pitching staff? Can the Mets sustain last year’s pace?

The young pitching staffs that come to mind when I think of these Mets are the Braves when they had Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery coming together in a short period of time; and the mid-1980s Mets with Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera and Roger McDowell. The pitching staff will have to carry the load again because New York’s lineup doesn’t stand out offensively or defensively. I wouldn’t count on the Mets getting back to the World Series again because so much has to go right for a team for that to happen, but the pitching staff is capable of taking them there.

With all of their off season moves, do you consider the Mets to be the NL East favorite? Does Daniel Murphy put the Nationals over the top?

The NL East should be a two-team race, as I don’t see anyone challenging New York or Washington. If the Nationals can do a better job of staying healthy than they did last year, they’re a better team than the Mets. But will that happen? We’ll have to see. I don’t see Murphy as a big difference-maker — he played over his head in the playoffs and he’s not a good defender.

Eventually the Mets will need to give these pitchers the paydays they deserve. Who’s the most likely to be a lifetime Met? Who’s the most likely to be traded one day? Given how they haven’t spent in recent years, will the Mets be able to re-sign any of these guys?

Just pure speculation here, but I could see Matt Harvey getting traded because he has Scott Boras as an agent and Boras guys usually chase the biggest contract and don’t sign pre-free agency deals. Not sure who would be the most likely to be a lifetime Met.

David Wright has chronic issues, but the Mets need to find ways to keep him fresh. Does that make Wilmer Flores extra valuable? Do you think David can last a full season?

I’m no doctor, but Wright has serious back issues, played just 38 games last year and has been healthy for a full season just once in the last five years. I can’t see how the Mets can count on him for a full season. Flores fits better defensively at third base than shortstop, so he’d be the obvious alternative if Wright is sidelined.

Defense was a big issue for the Mets in the World Series, and they arguably haven’t improved a ton, other than Neil Walker replacing Daniel Murphy. What do you make of their defense?

It’s a below-average defense that doesn’t get exposed as much as it would with other pitching staffs because the Mets miss so many bats.

What is this team missing? Do you see more moves on the horizon or will we have to wait until in-season?

The Mets haven’t spent like a New York club should for years, so I wouldn’t expect any other big moves. The offense and defense could still use some upgrades.

Mike Piazza was finally elected to the Hall of Fame? Do you agree with his inclusion? What took so long?

As the best-hitting catcher in baseball history and a better defender than he got credit for (his arm wasn’t good, but the rest of his catching was OK), he should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I think the reason he had to wait four years was PED suspicion, whether that was fair or not.

When I use the term “Met Killer,” who’s the first guy you think of? Why?

Wade Davis, because the World Series is still fresh in my mind.

What do you think of the Mets re-signing Cespedes? Did the fan base force management into action?

I don’t think the fan base can really force ownership into doing anything, or else the Mets’ payroll would be significantly higher. The move should help their offense, but if New York plays Cespedes in left field according to the initial reports I saw, that’s really going to limit Michael Conforto’s at-bats, which is a shame. And if they play Cespedes in center, that’s not good for the defense.

Finish this sentence. At the end of 2016, the Mets will be…

Second place in the NL East and a couple of games back in the wild-card race.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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