Q&A: with Rich Coutinho about game, RA & Nick Evans

Following today’s game, MetsBlog’s Rich Coutinho called in to answer a few questions about the game, specifically about RA Dickey’s outing and the role of Nick Evans:

Matthew Cerrone: It reads like RA Dickey had a good day today. You were there. Tell me what you saw, what he had to say, and if he was able to effectively use that slower knuckleball at all?

Rich Coutinho: He used it a little bit, he really used the faster knuckleball today. The thing that was really impressive about it was that he was able to spot it, throw it for strikes and consistently get ahead in the count. He had a lot of 0-2, 1-2 counts, not behind much at all, I think there was only one 3-1 count in his three innings of work. I think that, early in Spring Training, is a good sign for him. The other thing today is the wind kind of helped him, it danced more than it normally would. So, all in all, very impressive. Also, defensively there were some plays that should have been made behind him today and, like we saw him do last year, he kind of brushed it off his shoulder and got a big out with Albert Pujols at the plate and two men on and two outs. And, he said after the game today that he wanted to approach this wanting to win the game, and you don’t hear that much from guys when talking about Spring Training like that. But, I think it was the match up with Pujols that kind of jacked him up today. The more you’re around RA, the more you like him.

Matthew Cerrone: I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but, there is a meme among Mets fans about how Nick Evans is missing in action, he’s some sort of a ghost, because he’s so rarely talked about or called upon. I was actually pretty impressed with how much attention he got from Terry Collins during workouts. Terry actually mentioned Nick among the team’s better power hitters, he was always praising him on field, encouraging him… so, how do you see his role. He got a hit today, which is good, but, long term, where do you think he fits in?

Rich Coutinho: You know, I really feel for Nick Evans, because he’s going to be the victim of a numbers crunch. He’s out of options. The Mets went out and they got Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, and you’ve got to figure they’re in the lead for those fourth and fifth outfield positions. The only position Evans can play is first and if Daniel Murphy makes the team, even if Murphy is not the starting second baseman, I would think he’d be the back-up first baseman to Ike Davis. So, he’s competing against players who seem to have the inside track on making the team.  Now, we’re in the first week of March and that can all change with injuries, attrition, a trade, anything can happen this month that could change that. But, the fact that he’s out of options and the fact that he’s shown flashes in his career of being able to hit the ball – particularly against left-handed pitching – and because he’s out of options – I would think the Mets will lose him because I think it’s highly doubtful he’d clear waivers.  If something dramatic doesn’t happen, I don’t see how Nick Evans is on this time after Spring Training.