Along with projecting this year’s Bombers to be “the best Yankees team since 1998,” insisting that Miguel Tejada “deserves to play for a real team,” and dismissing the Mariners as “Orioles West”, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman assuages the fears of Mets followers with, uh, the following :

I don’t worry about the Mets’ rotation. It wasn’t any good last year, and they won 97 games.

“It was, too good,” you protest. “They won 97 games!” Yes, because of the offense and the bullpen. The rotation ERA was 4.67, while National League starters as a whole, few of whom pitched in parks as spacious as Shea Stadium, were at 4.66.

Further, the Mets finished in first place by 12 games, which is a lot. They have to get a lot worse, and at least one other team will have to get a lot better, for the Mets to lose their spot atop the mountain. Could it happen? Yes. Will it? Probably not. Jose Reyes and David Wright are still improving, and the likes of Jose Lima and Steve Trachsel won’t be kicked around Flushing this year. All this should offset any decline from the likes of Carlos Beltran and Tom Glavine. Mets fans, by nature, are fusspots. This year they needn’t be.

While John Maine was solid against the Dodgers today (5 K’s, 6 IP, 2 earned runs), David Newhan went nuts (2 HR’s, double, single, 2 RBI’s) in the Mets’ 13-2 win. In the midst of an underwhelming spring for most of the Amazins’ position players, Newhan and Da Edge have performed exceptionally.

The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker calls Rey Ordonez making the Mariners big league roster “one of the more improbable sports comebacks in recent memory.” I guess Geoff wasn’t so blown away by Russ Ortiz claiming the 5th spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Rangers reliever Eric Gagne will start the season on the DL ; even Kerry Wood is skeptical about Gagne ever coming all the way back.