Appearing on WFAN, Sandy Alderson called what has transpired in spring training a "mixed bag." On the positive side, the GM identified the $162 million settlement in the Bernard Madoff lawsuit and the $240 million infusion from minority investment blocks as positives because those allow for more planning clarity. Johan Santana's health also has been a plus. Alderson expressed disappointment with the team's 6-16-2 Grapefruit League record because it is "some indicator" -- albeit modestly -- of in-season success. Alderson added: "I'm not entirely comfortable with our depth. As part of that, I'm not entirely comfortable with our bench."
On Jason Bay, Alderson noted Bay is the left fielder and will play, but added: "I don't think he has driven the ball. From our standpoint, he has had good approaches at the plate."
On Pelfrey, the GM noted, all of his spring training ERAs historically have been poor. "This one isn't even his worst," Alderson added. "The good thing is, last time out his velocity was up. So in some sense we look at Pelfrey and say -- look, this is the analysis we did last fall, when we had to tender him a contract: What does he bring to the table? We're not sure from a qualitative standpoint what he's going to bring this year, but we do know that he pitches through injury, he'll pitch through pain and probably give you 200 innings. What is that worth? ... He probably would be one of five in most rotations."
Alderson acknowledged middle infielder Jordany Valdespin -- who has been dabbling in center field -- is unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, which is consistent with what has been expected. The GM expects Valdespin will play "a number of positions" at Triple-A Buffalo, including limited center-field duty, a position where Kirk Nieuwenhuis should get the bulk of the starts for the Bisons.
Alderson said center field prospect Matt den Dekker is ready defensively to be a major league outfielder, but not offensively. The Mets would be comfortable with Nieuwenhuis starting at the major league level if Andres Torres (calf) and/or Scott Hairston (oblique) weren't ready.
As for catching, Alderson said Mike Nickeas has improved offensively.
The GM said 200 innings is "probably not" a realistic expectation for Santana. Alderson noted that it's unrealistic for Santana to throw 110 or 115 pitches in a game in April either, since the southpaw has topped out at 88 pitches in spring action, in his final Grapefruit League start.
Alderson expressed disappointment with the spring-training showings of his bullpen imports: Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez. The GM said the bullpen needs a stopper, and "nobody that we've brought in has really shown that this spring. Now, that doesn't mean it won't happen."