Does Julio Franco deserve a roster spot?

Simply, yes he does.

Believe me, I’m not a big fan of Franco’s. I understand all of the negatives. Omar shouldn’t have given him a two year contract. He can only play first base, barely. He can’t pull the ball anymore. He has no power. I also know that we’re 17 years removed from his AL MVP. I know that his role as a mentor for younger players is overrated. I know, I know.

Julio Franco

The main reason that he should be on the team is that some members of the team would mutiny if he was cut. Also, Lastings Milledge told Mike and the Mad Dog during spring training this year that Franco is the go-to guy for advice. So he is fulfilling the role that Omar intended for him.

Whose roster spot is he taking anyway? Ben Johnson is better off at Triple-A getting some at-bats. He’s got a .236 career average with San Diego the last two years! We certainly don’t need another outfielder with Milledge, Chavez, and Newhan all having the ability to play the outfield. Hey, even Damion Easley could play the outfield in a pinch. Ben Johnson will probably be back if they send Milledge down to get some at-bats.

He does deserve to be here. Do I want to see Omar sign him again next year? No chance.

You can see a break down of the team roster posted today (3/31/07) at Sportsline:

Cards (away)- Season opener

It’s time to get this team going. The 07 version of the Mets looks very strong from an everyday player perspective. I (and everyone else) am not so sure about the pitching staff. I like that Willie got Glavine lined up for the opener tomorrow, especially when I see that the Yankees are opening with Pavano. I really hope the fans at Yankee Stadium boo him. He deserves it. Can you believe this is his third year with the Yankees?

Chris Carpenter is a tough matchup for the Mets tomorrow night. Last year he was 15-8 3.09 ERA in 32 starts. He also had 5 complete games, of which 3 were shutouts. That is a solid season! He also worked 221 innings. He had 184 K’s and 43 walks, so he’s usually pitching in or around the strike zone. He’s 31 years old. I wish the Mets had a starter of this caliber.

The player to watch in the short term is Shawn Green. How much patience does Willie show if he struggles early? Maybe not as much as you might think… Milledge made the team. Even though Green is making $10M this year, Milledge is the future (assuming he isn’t traded for pitching at the deadline). The bottom line here is that Shawn Green has had a severe drop off since his 2002 season with the Dodgers. His lack of performance this spring didn’t do anything to make us believe he can turn things around.

How can Glavine and El Duque hold up this season? Can we tread water until Pedro gets back in August? Can Oliver Perez collect himself and throw strikes again? These are a few of the questions that will be answered starting tomorrow night. The pitchers are a serious question mark!

The positive side of all this is that there aren’t many good teams in the NL. The Phillies, Cards, and Mets are clearly the best teams on paper. Let’s see if it plays out that way over 162 games. It usually doesn’t…