Julio Lugo is supposedly off the trading block, there’s more than one suitor interested in Tony Graffanino, and the Bret Boone revival lasted all of one week (though in all honesty, it was better than A Flock Of Seagulls’ revival). So with all of that in mind, why would anyone, let alone an impartial observer like the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden, be so quick to dismiss or disparage Kaz Matsui’s chances of being the Mets’ opening day second baseman?

(taken from Choi Hoon)

Willie Randolph had envisioned Boone being a real factor in what he insists is a real competition for the second base job, despite the apparent eight million reasons ownership and upper management might have for biting the bullet and ordaining Kaz Matsui for one more year. Perhaps Randolph didn’t get GM Omar Minaya’s drift the other day about phenom Anderson Hernandez “needing to play every day.” Either that or Randolph sees no reason why playing every day couldn’t mean at the big league level for the Dominican hotshot being viewed by Mets’ officials as their Robinson Cano.

According to Randolph, when it comes to second base, the Mets’ one legitimate question position, we should assume nothing.

“When I go to spring training, I operate with the understanding that it’s an open camp,” the manager said. “When it comes to second base, obviously Matsui has the upper hand because he’s the incumbent. But in the end, I go by what I see, and he has to impress me that he’s the guy.”

If so, then you’d have to believe that first impressions, at least, weren’t so great. While just about everyone in the Mets’ lineup was getting in some significant first rips in the Grapefruit League inaugural against the Cardinals yesterday, Matsui was the exception, striking out once, grounding out weakly to second twice and popping out to shallow right. So much for erasing from memory (both his own and his critics’) the pain of last season in which his hitting (.255 average, .300 on-base percentage) and fielding shortcomings earned him the dubious distinction of most-vilified Met.

Without making any excuses for Matsui’s underwhelming tenure in Flushing, surely he’s enough of a viable candidate (in light of the circumstances mentioned at the top of this entry) that he deserves more than two Grapefruit League plate appearances before he can be held accountable for failing to “erase from memory” his poor prior performances.

Rockies owner Charlie Monfort says that Colorado have a legit shot at winning the NL West. And he’s right, the only thing seperating the the Rockies from a Divisional pennant is a series of plane crashes wiping out the respective rosters of San Diego, Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco.