As we approach spring training the starting rotation is pretty much set. We know what our lineup will probably look like. We even have a good idea about who will be on the bench come April 1.
But the questions that still remain involve the Mets bullpen. The root of many a loss in 2007, the bullpen did not get a massive overhaul this offseason, but did receive some changes. But there are a number of questions that I need answered about the 2008 Mets bullpen.
1. Which Joe Smith should I expect?
Joe Smith was lights out early in the '07 season. The rookie was getting lefties and righties out while keeping his pitch count down. Then something happened mid-season and he lost his mojo. I've read that Smith has been working out this offseason at his alma mater Wright State to improve his mechanics, but will that translate into success? If the original Joe Smith shows up and stays all season the Mets bullpen will be considered much more reliable.
2. Can Duaner Sanchez stay healthy?
If it was up to me Duaner Sanchez would live in a padded room in the basement of Shea Stadium. Give him DirectTV, give him a laptop, he can even have visitors, but don't let this guy out into the wide world. He's a walking magnet for injury. No more cab rides for Duaner. But seriously, if Duaner Sanchez doesn't stay healthy for a third straight season, not only would the Mets lose out on a potentially perfect setup man, but Sanchez might lose out on his big league career.
3. Is Pedro Feliciano capable of getting our right-handed batters consistently?
There's no doubt that Feliciano is fantastic against lefties, but I'd like to see him be given the chance to get out righties as well. Willie Randolph likes having a lefty and a rightie specialist in the bullpen, and often times that leads to Feliciano only facing one batter. I think Feliciano has the stuff to get out more than just lefties, but he'll need the opportunity to prove it.
4. Will Blowenweiss lose his nickname?