02.24.06

Shpigel On The Mets’ 2B Competition

Posted in Baseball at 9:52 am by

Thank you, Ben Shipgel of the New York Times, for ruining my Friday morning with the following words, “the early feeling is that Boone will win the job if he can prove that he can still play.”

Unlike in right field, where Xavier Nady holds an advantage over Victor Diaz because the Mets traded Mike Cameron to acquire him, there is no clear-cut favorite at second base. And there is also the possibility that General Manager Omar Minaya could dump Kaz Matsui, picking up most of his $8 million contract, or revisit trade talks for the Devil Rays’ Julio Lugo, whom he has long coveted.

For the moment, the race comes down to Matsui, an often-injured converted shortstop; Bret Boone, a three-time All-Star who lost his passion for the game last season; Jeff Keppinger, a talented hitter with gap power who, after a severe knee injury last season, wants to prove that he can still play; and Anderson Hernandez, a 23-year-old who is probably still a year away.

Boone was one of the American League’s more feared hitters when he played for Seattle from 2001 to 2004 and has captured four Gold Glove awards, but he was released by Seattle and Minnesota last summer because of ineffectiveness.

Boone said that he had not lost any range and that regaining his swing was proving the biggest challenge. Even if Boone does not rediscover his previous form as a hitter, his defense may be enough to boost him into the lead.

2 Responses to “Shpigel On The Mets’ 2B Competition”

  1. David Roth says:

    Relax, GC. Bret Boone still has to prove he can be an effective big league player. As long as that condition (or the steroid ban) doesn’t get waived, I doubt we’ll see him in a Mets uniform once the regular season starts.

    That said, I don’t think there’s another big league team that routinely brings so many WWF-style heels to camp for fans to root against. Already, all the Mets fans I know are targeting their personal “this guy better not make the team” player for Spring Training. This is in part because I only hang out with nerdz, but also because, besides Boone, the Mets have made such a practice of extending the Shane Spencer Spring Training Fellowship (granted to the biggest douches available come Spring Training time, up to and including Mike Stanton and the man the award is named for). They’re not ex-Yankees, as SSST receipients usually are, but Lima Time and Boonie seem like pretty good choices to me.

  2. gooblar says:

    Saying that Bret Boone lost his passion for the game last season is like saying Chuck Knoblauch lost his passion for throwing the ball to first base in 1999. That is to say, technically true, but sort of besides the point.

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