Well, the Mets can take comfort in this much: Shortstop Jose Reyes looks great.
“I’ve never had anybody like that,” says manager Terry Collins, who previously managed the Astros and Angels. “(Craig) Biggio is probably the closest I’ve seen.”
Reyes, 27, is the healthiest he has been since 2008. He is 6-for-6 in stolen-base attempts and working diligently to improve his on-base percentage, which currently is .351.
Terrific! Trade him now.
As one rival team official says, referring to Mets GM Sandy Alderson, “Sandy is not going to pay $100 million for a guy who might break down” — particularly given the team’s uncertain finances.
Six players account for nearly two-thirds of the Mets’ $142 million payroll, but three of them — Reyes, right fielder Carlos Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez — are potential free agents who likely will be gone after this season.
The Mets are not bereft of shortstop prospects — Ruben Tejada at Triple A, Jordany Valdespin at Double A and the best of all, Wilmer Flores at High Single A. The idea of trading Reyes would be to acquire additional prospects with the goal of building a more well-rounded club.
Shortstop is a thin position throughout the sport. The Giants, Angels, Reds, Brewers and Cardinals are among the teams who would benefit significantly from the addition of Reyes.
THE GROWING LEGEND OF MIKE TROUT
The Nationals’ Bryce Harper is the most talked-about prospect in the game. But the Angels’ Mike Trout is not far behind.
A scout who spent the week following the Angels’ Double A Arkansas affiliate could not stop raving about Trout, who is still only 19.
“This guy is sick,” the scout says. “You can’t believe the stuff he does.”
Consider these examples, as related by the scout:
• In a game at Midland, Texas, Trout hit an inside-the-park home run on a flyball down the left-field line. His high drive hit the fence, but didn’t carom far. Still, Trout had to slow down so he didn’t pass the runner in front of him.
• Trout ran 3.42 seconds to first on a push bunt from the right side. “Even if you add 4/10th of a second, he’s still a tenth of a second faster than the top-of-the-line right-handed hitters in the game,” the scout says.
• In a game at Frisco, Texas, Trout crushed a home run to deep left center off a video scoreboard on which his picture was displayed, “hitting himself in the chin,” the scout says.
Trout also hit another homer in the same game.
“Nine hundred feet in two swings,” the scout says.
• Finally, Trout ran out a triple in 9.93 seconds. In other words, the scout says, if Trout ran 4.2 with the turn to first base, it took him 5.73 seconds to cover the final 60 yards.
“He takes the most efficient routes around the bases,” the scout says.
MARQUIS ON MOVE?
The Nationals seem almost certain to trade catcher Ivan Rodriguez before the July 31 non-waiver deadline; Wilson Ramos is coming on that strong.
Nats right-hander Jason Marquis, who has a 3.26 ERA after three starts, is another potential trade candidate.
“This is the best I’ve seen him since Colorado,” one scout says of Marquis, who pitched for the Rockies in 2009.
A Nats official agrees.
“His mojo is back,” the official says. “He’s got his movement again. He’s throwing strikes. He’s not the same guy as last year.”
Marquis, 32, is earning $7.5 million this season.
• Chipper Jones has started 13 of the Braves’ first 15 games, but says, “This early, I want to play when I’m feeling good.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez says he goes over the schedule with Jones about a week in advance and comes up with a plan.
Jones, though, asks Gonzalez to plan for even his scheduled days off as tentative, saying, “Don’t put up the lineup until you see me.”
• Just about one year ago, former Mets GM Omar Minaya asked his farm director, Terry Collins, if first baseman Ike Davis was ready for the majors.
“I don’t know,” Collins replied. “But he will make as fast an adjustment as anybody can. Because of his background, the kind of person he is, he will adjust in a hurry. He has been brought up that way.”
Davis, of course, proved Collins correct. Collins, now the Mets’ manager, managed Davis’ father, reliever Ron Davis, at Triple A Albuquerque in 1987.
• Collins is essentially managing without expectations, which perhaps explains his even, upbeat demeanor through the Mets’ early struggles.
Still, Collins appears to be making a special effort to stay in tune with his players. Carlos Beltran describes Collins as “a good person” who cares deeply and always is available.
On the Mets’ flight from to Atlanta on Thursday night, Collins was walking up and down the aisle, trying to boost players’ spirits.
• Mets righty Mike Pelfrey is very open about how much he misses sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, who was 75 when he passed away on Feb. 28.
Losing Dorfman, Pelfrey says, is “awfully tough . . . he was a valuable asset.” Dorfman watched all of Pelfrey’s starts and they always talked a day or two afterward. And Dorfman didn’t miss a trick.
He once chided Pelfrey for not being able to tell him what color glove his catcher was wearing. His point: Pelfrey needed to be more focused.
AROUND THE HORN
• The Rangers likely will target a right-handed power arm for their bullpen, but one rival scout also is concerned about their lefties — Arthur Rhodes, 41, and Darren Oliver, 40.
“With Oliver, it used to be that everything cut — every mistake, it moved enough to stay off the barrel,” the scout says. “Now he doesn’t have that consistent cut.”
Both lefties, however, have pitched well early, though Rhodes on Sunday allowed a go-ahead, two-out single to the Yankees’ Eric Chavez, a left-handed hitter.
• White Sox officials bristle at the notion that left-hander Matt Thornton cannot close because he relies almost exclusively on his fastball; Thornton escaped many an eighth-inning jam using the same pitch selection.
For now, the Sox do not plan to look for outside bullpen help. They’ve got four quality late-inning relievers, and just need one — perhaps right-hander Sergio Santos — to lock down the role.
• One scout says of the Marlins, “They’re constantly getting athletes. They’ve got a lot of versatile-type pieces not locked into one position. There is no substitute for athleticism.”
Such versatility is necessary for a team with a low payroll, but the Marlins’ much-improved bullpen also features an interesting mix.
Every reliever but closer Leo Nunez and lefty Randy Choate is capable of pitching multiple innings. Right-handed junkballers Clay Hensley and Brian Sanches complement the harder throwers.
• One possible reason for the Twins’ sluggish offensive start: injuries that restricted several of their best hitters in spring training.
First baseman Justin Morneau had only 33 at-bats in Grapefruit League play, with 21 for right fielder Michael Cuddyer and 20 for catcher Joe Mauer. Morneau has yet to hit a home run, Cuddyer has yet to produce an RBI.
• Officials of the world, unite! Umpire Tim Tschida is the proud owner of an official NHL referees’ jersey, complete with his own No. 4.
Tschida, a native of St. Paul, Minn., is close with several NHL referees. He exchanged uniform tops with the NHL’s No. 4, Wes McCauley, son of the late NHL ref, John McCauley.
• The Indians’ lack of rotation depth is perhaps the team’s biggest concern, particularly now that right-hander Mitch Talbot is on the disabled list with an elbow problem.
Even if the starters continue their early pace — the Indians are fourth in the league in rotation ERA — injuries could compromise the team’s fast start.
The Indians are thin on alternatives beyond the major-league starters — though Triple A righty Alex White, the club’s first-round pick in 2009, could be ready by midseason.
For more of Rosenthal’s exclusive analysis, including takes on the Cubs and Rockies, click here.