5 questions for Mets spring training

Santana says he will be ready.

It’s been quite awhile since the Mets went into spring training with as many questions as they have facing them this year.

And while most of them have been addressed, it still seems as if the jury is out on a lot of them.
Johan Santana has proclaimed himself on track after two bullpen sessions. Andres Torres and Ruben Tejada have been plugged in to replace superstars Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes respectively. But will these changes hold up throughout spring and into the season? The answers are as tenuous as the Mets’ current financial issues.

Who replaces Reyes at SS?

The job is Ruben Tejada’s to lose, but expect some growing pains. And not just because he has yet to show up in camp, much to manager Terry Collins’s chagrin.

He has played in just 174 games the last two seasons and although he finished 2011 with a .284 batting average, he’s hit .256 over the two years combined.

What could be a bigger cause for concern are the 10 errors he has made in 291 total chances at second base and shortstop.

Then there’s the little matter of his predecessor. Reyes had a bond with the Mets faithful that will be hard to replicate. The fans loved Reyes’s electricity and he treasured their love.

That can’t be replaced.

Can Torres truly replace Beltran?

That depends on what you’re looking for.

If you appreciate solid defense in the outfield, then yes; Andres Torres is more than an adequate replacement for Carlos Beltran. Torres has only committed 19 errors in 801 total chances in his career.

If you are looking for him to replace Beltran’s offense, then no; you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Torres is a .244 career hitter with 27 home runs in 1,264 at-bats. His game is speed, but a .318 career on-base percentage is tough to have at leadoff.

What about the Madoff lawsuit?

It will be an annoyance, as players — specifically David Wright — will be asked questions they cannot answer while the Bernie Madoff trial is held in Manhattan.

But make no mistake about it. Everyone associated with the Mets will be watching the proceedings intently. Should Irving Picard, the trustee for the Madoff victims, win in court, it could set off a chain reaction that could see the Wilpons perhaps have to sell the team. Or, worse for Mets fans, gut the entire team.

Will Harvey make the rotation?

You will certainly see Matt Harvey, but it’s unlikely Harvey will contend for a starting spot.

Both Harvey and Zach Wheeler — acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade — are the future of the Mets, along with Jeurys Familia. But none of the three have thrown even 100 innings in a single minor league season.

Will Santana start opener?

There is a possibility that Johan Santana will be standing on the Citi Field mound at 1:10 p.m. on April 5, in full uniform, prepared to stare down NL East division rival Atlanta.

There’s an equal chance that he will be at the Mets’ training facility continuing to rehab the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder that cost him last season. So far he is on schedule to pitch the opener.



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