Mets morning briefing 2.28.11

February, 28, 2011
2/28/11
6:29
AM ET
Bobby Valentine is interested in buying the Mets. Meanwhile, if you count a win against the University of Michigan, the Mets are 2-0-1 in exhibition play as Bryce Harper and the Nationals are set to visit Port St. Lucie.

On to Monday's news reports:

• No shortage of Oliver Perez performance reviews. David Waldstein in the Times recalls Perez's last game in a Mets uniform, when Jerry Manuel in game No. 162 reluctantly used the southpaw, who then also walked three straight batters and was booed off the field. ... David Lennon in Newsday notes the PA system at ESPN's Wide World of Sports was coincidentally playing "The Twilight Zone" theme. ... Mike Puma in the Post predicts Perez will wind up with the Long Island Ducks. ... Read more in the Daily News, Record and Star-Ledger. ... Terry Collins, by the way, says Perez gets a start in a split-squad game on March 8.

Zachary Levine in the Houston Chronicle gets Collins to reflect on how he has matured since managing the Astros in the '90s, in a piece you ought to read if you're only familiar with tales of the '99 Angels. "You look at that entire team with [Luis] Gonzalez and [Steve] Finley and Scott Servais and Andujar Cedeno and [Doug] Drabek, and we had a good bunch of guys and a good club, and it was really sad when they had to break that up," Collins tells Levine. Also Writes Levine: "Collins' teams finished second all three years in different fashions, enjoying possibly their best shot in 1994 when Bagwell, the unanimous MVP, broke his hand Aug. 10 with the Astros a half-game out. The players' strike ended the season the next day. 'Probably the saddest experience of my life was when that strike hit, because we were really playing well, and it was shut off that fast,' Collins said."

Chipper Jones had plenty of compliments for the Mets on Sunday. He's quoted in the Post saying: "Is Jose Reyes still one of the most dynamic players in the game? If he has a monster year, they are going to score a lot of runs. Is David Wright an MVP candidate year in and year out? Without a doubt. Is Ike Davis one of the best young players in the game? I mean, there are some pieces. There are players over there you can't take a deep breath against. Obviously, not having Johan [Santana] at the beginning is going to hurt. But if they can hang around until he gets back, you never know." As for the comparison of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt to that Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Steve Avery group, Jones opines: "I've heard the comparison kind of thrown about loosely over the years, but this is really the first I feel kind of warrants that comparison. Any one of those four guys for the Phillies can win 20."

• Scratch Mike Repole, the founder of Vitaminwater and chairman of Pirate's Booty Snacks, off the list of potential Mets minority owners, the Wall Street Journal reports. Newsday also quotes Repole.

• Times columnist George Vecsey wonders about the fate of what he calls The House of Wilpon.

R.A. Dickey tells Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal he made only one significant purchase after signing his two-year, $7.8 million contract with the Mets. Dickey went to an Apple store in his Nashville hometown at 5:30 a.m. and purchased two Verizon iPhones when the store opened 90 minutes later. Costa adds about Dickey's 2010 season: "His fielding-independent pitching mark, which measures performance using only the factors a pitcher can directly control, was 3.65. In other words, he pitched very well, but perhaps not quite as well as his ERA would suggest." To which Dickey responded: "I don't think it was a fluke, but I blame no one who thinks that it is."

Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger goes deeper into Chris Young's statement after Sunday's start that he intends to work on a split-finger fastball during spring training. Young tells McCullough he intended to call Curt Schilling to get insights about the pitch before shoulder woes shelved Young attempting to add a downward look to his repertoire last season. ... Steve Popper in the Record also quotes Young.

• Daily News columnist Bill Madden talks with Josh Thole and Davis about adjustments they have made. Davis indicated he has shortened his swing. Thole tells Madden: "Toward the end of the season, I got a little exposed. I remember in one series in Chicago I swung at four straight sliders in the dirt against different guys. I watched the video and said to myself: 'They know I can't hit it and they're going to keep throwing it.' It took awhile, but I made some adjustments. That's something I'm going to continually have to do. As for the pitchers, it took a while to win their confidence. If I made a mistake calling a pitch, they told me. But, after a while, they came to see that I really do care and that I'll work hard for them. They have to know that I know what I'm doing."

Chris Capuano talks with Bill Whitehead of TCPalm.com about working with Sandy Koufax, who then watched the Mets southpaw pitch against the University of Michigan on Sunday. "He's pretty astute and a good observer," Capuano tells Whitehead. "It's pretty special [to work with him]. I just try to take advantage of him while he's here. He's a little bit of a different type of pitcher. He was more of a Ben Sheets in his heyday. Good fastball and good overhand curveball. They said you could hear it coming."

BIRTHDAY: Brian Bannister, who was traded to Kansas City for reliever Ambiorix Burgos in December 2006, turns 30. After going 7-12 with a 6.34 ERA for the Royals last season, Bannister is pitching this year for the Tokyo Giants in Japan. Bannister's father Floyd pitched in that country for the Yakult Swallows in 1990.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187