“For me, every year I try to compete like a minor league guy, always,” Valverde said after pitching a perfect ninth inning on Wednesday (NY Post, Mar. 6). “All my life, what I’ve done in spring training is like I’ve never played in the big leagues. The first day in Arizona, Houston, Detroit and now with the Mets, that was my mind-set all the time."
Valverde has allowed a run, a walk and one hit in two innings of Grapefruit League work this spring.
In the end, I think Valverde will make the team. It's not a lock, though. And, experts watching him tell me he looks unlike the pitcher they expect him to be this time of year. The same is being said about Kyle Farnsworth, who also signed a minor-league deal with the Mets to compete for a job in the big-league bullpen. It's sounds to me like Valverde has the leg up, with one talent evaluator telling me Farnsworth looks like he should retire.
Mu hunch is John Lannan or Daisuke Matsuzaka will make the rotation, pushing Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen along with Valverde. However, if the organization determines Mejia is better served starting for Triple-A Vegas, maybe Farnsworth squeaks on the roster in hopes that he builds up strength and performs better throughout the season.