Jose Mesa Where Art Thou?:
Born Jose Ramon Nova Mesa, or more fondly referred to as Joe Table, has yet to latch on with a club and it's already spring training. The alleged 41 year old seems to have more lives than Contra (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, b, a, select, start), so it's in the realm of possibility that it's only a matter of time before he pops up in someone's camp...I just hope it's not the Phillies. Mesa has already had two tour of duties with the Phightins and neither was particularly that great, although I will acknowledge his 102 saves for us. If he's looking for a reunion, he should go suck up to one of his other ex-teams (Orioles, Indians, Giants, Mariners, Pirates, Rockies, or Tigers). Honestly though, it's probably the end of the road for Mr. Table, and it's been a long bumpy road with 1022 career games and 321 saves...guess he's really not as bad as I make him out to be.
As teams report to Florida or Arizona for the warm sunshine of spring training, much of the nation is still in the thick of winter, aka- COLD! The Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues are great destinations for a winter getaway if you're from one of the northern parts of the United States. In fact, when Corey and I retire (too far away to even calculate), we plan on becoming spring training junkies ourselves.
1. What to do with Wes Helms? The man is a butcher at 3rd base, meaning his only real position is 1st base, but his bat failed miserably in Philly last season and caused the dynamic duo of Patty G and Rube to cast their line for the big catch of Pedro Feliz. This leaves good ol' Wesley without a spot on the 25-man roster and the Phils need to trade him...but nobody seems to want him.
2. Who fills out the bullpen? Five men are assured spots- Brad Lidge, Tom Gordon, JC Romero, Chad Durbin, and Ryan Madson. However, things get very dicey after them, and there's even the slight chance that Durbin snags the 5th spot in the rotation. The competition: wild fireballer with upside Francisco Rosario is out of options, Jars of Clay Condrey is good at times and abysmal at others, Fat Mike Zagurski is still recovering from injury, non-roster invitee and darkhorse candidate for second lefty Vic Darensbourg, Thee Model Dictator Fabio Castro, Rule 5 pick Lincoln Holdzkom, the enigma of JD Durbin, Pirates unwanted treasure Shane Youman, fallen prospect Joe Bisenius, recovering Scott Mathieson, and the improbable John Ennis. I say trade Chris Snelling and Wes Helms for some bullpen help!
3. Who is the 5th starter? We've got Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, and Grand Pappy Moyer written in permanent ink for the rotation. Not sure who to pencil in for the last spot though. The competition: fan favorite and comeback player of the year candidate for '08 Adam Eaton (I just blew up the sarcasm meter), Rule 5 pick Travis Blackley (also an Aussie- yeah BloodStripes!), previously mentioned Chad and JD Durbin, and newly signed Kris Benson.