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Inbox: What to do with Santos?

Inbox: What to do with Santos?

What are the Mets going to do with Omir Santos? He's having a good spring, but with the Rod Barajas/Henry Blanco plan, there's no room for him. Is he being offered up as trade bait, or will he just be shuffled off to Buffalo?
-- Elaine B., Las Vegas, Nev.

I don't see the Mets trading him unless they make a significant improvement by dealing him. Santos has value in his way: he may be the No. 2 catcher, behind Josh Thole, in Buffalo. But the two catchers all but certain to begin the season on the big league roster -- Blanco and Barajas -- are 38 and 34, respectively. And neither is a 130-game catcher.

If Blanco were injured for two weeks, the club might not want to disrupt Thole's Triple-A season. It might promote Santos. An extended absence by Barajas in mid to late summer might prompt the promotion of Thole to the big leagues. Santos would then be the Triple-A catcher.

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Presume it's May 15 and Oliver Perez has a 1-5 record and an ERA of 5.00. He is back to his old self. Also presume Fernando Nieve is the solidified fifth starter off to a great start and Niese is tearing up Triple-A. What are the chances of Perez losing his spot in the rotation? Or how long will it take?
-- Nick P., Bronxville, N.Y.

Well, that's a curious scenario you've suggested. I think Niese will be the No. 5 starter and Nieve will be in the bullpen when the season starts. I can't say what the club would do in the that hypothetical situation. But a possible solution would be putting Nieve in the rotation.

Do you believe Jenrry Mejia's future is in the bullpen, or are the Mets just talking about that role for him this season? He seems like he might have the potential to be a top of the rotation starter.
-- Scott F., Plainview, N.Y.

We haven't seen him as a starter, and we haven't seen all that much of his as a reliever. For now, the club is looking at him as a reliever, not an eighth-inning reliever yet, but perhaps by the early summer if he is successful in his first big league endeavors. My crystal ball sees this scenario developing: he becomes a successful short reliever this year, returns next year in the same role and in 2012, when Francisco Rodriguez's contract has expired, Mejia becomes the closer.

That is based on nothing his stuff, his age, his circumstances and Rodriguez's contractual status.

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It's been a good two weeks since we heard a thing about Jose Reyes. Not an update, good or bad, and you have to wonder why? What is going on with our star shortstop? Have you heard any updates?
-- Arleen A., Valley Stream, N. Y.

Most clubs don't provide updates about medical conditions. Elbows, knees, shoulders, hips and obliques are treated differently from thyroid readings. I don't anticipate any sort of update until Reyes' thyroid levels are normal, which is to say an improvement that puts his levels something outside normal probably won't be noted.

I'm not sure we could know much more than we know now if the club allowed its trainers and doctors to speak with the media. Such conversation has been prohibited for about seven years.

Does Daniel Murphy have any chance of being the Mets' first basemen beyond 2010, when they have Ike Davis seemingly ready to take the position?
-- Steve B., Parsippany, N.J.

I love Davis. Is he worthy of a backup role to Murphy? Could he be a backup outfielder? He seems to have good power. And with the size of Citi Field, that's what the Mets need.
-- Joel K., Phoenix, Ariz.

When Davis is promoted to the big leagues, perhaps late this summer, it will be a move of permanence. Despite all he has shown in exhibition games, he will be assigned to Triple-A. The club doesn't want to stunt his development by having him serve as an occasional first baseman in the big leagues while he could benefit more from playing regularly at Triple-A. The plan is for Davis to be the first baseman in 2011. The club isn't about to vary too much unless something happens to Murphy and Mike Jacobs is no longer is with the team.

I don't see Murphy playing first base next year unless Davis falls significantly short of expectations. Davis is superior defensively, has more power to all fields and has a sense of how pitchers are working him.

I was recently at Tradition Field, and I was confused by the fact that the home dugout is the third-base dugout. Isn't the first-base dugout typically the home dugout, or does it vary?
-- Richard S., Jensen Beach, Fla.

It varies. In older, mothballed and demolished stadiums -- Dodger Stadium, Tiger Stadium, RFK, the Kingdome, Atlanta Fulton County, Wrigley -- the visiting team uses/used the first-base dugout. Long ago, the Yankees lived from the third-base dugout at Yankee Stadium. What used to be Skydome and the soccer/football stadium that preceded it in Toronto, the visitors were on the first-base side.

What about Anderson Hernandez? I thought he was the third option at shortstop. Isn't he better than Ruben Tejada?
-- Matt M., Paramus, N.J.

He was claimed off waivers by the Indians last week. Hernandez had lost his luster with the Mets and become more a second baseman. They considered him fundamentally flawed. I recall watching him in the batting cage two years ago when Willie Randolph still was the manager. He failed twice to get a bunt down in front of Randolph, then tried two more times. Hernandez failed once. The eye roll and head shake Randolph executed said all I needed to know. Moreover, Hernandez's arm seemed rather weak last year.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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