Coffee and Clippings: Early rising Mets can’t wait to chase title they just missed

Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) of the NY Post discusses Mets Camp as more and more players flow in early to chase that missing title…

You want to use this plethora of super-early arrivals as fuel for your fire? To get all the more excited as the Mets launch the next phase (pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday, meaning they must be in Port St. Lucie) of their One Last Step mission? Go right ahead.

But those who paid attention during the dark years know this extra-punctual congregation doesn’t constitute a reaction to the franchise’s revival. Rather, this habit arguably helped get them here in the first place.

“We played late into the year, and for everybody to be out here this early, ready to go, is pretty impressive,” Jacob deGrom told reporters at camp on Tuesday. “It just shows you that everybody is ready to get this season started and looking forward to getting out there and playing.”…
George A. King (@GeorgeAKingIII) also of the NY Post spotlights the undeniable athleticism of flame thrower Aroldis Chapman…

When Yankees pitchers and catchers report to George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday and work out for the first time the following day, all eyes will be focused on Aroldis Chapman.

Second baseman Starlin Castro is new. So is outfielder Aaron Hicks. Neither has the star appeal Chapman arrives with thanks to a fastball that pushes speed guns into triple-digits and has helped to fan 546 hitters in 319 innings.

Speed is a big part of Chapman’s persona and it goes beyond the powerful left arm. He was ticketed for speeding at 93 mph in Ohio four years ago. And according to a person with knowledge of Chapman’s athletic ability, Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, who is considered among the fastest baseball players, has nothing on the new Yankees’ closer….

Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) of the Boston Herald on Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz and what he has to prove in 2016…

Clay Buchholz will enter the 2016 season once again knowing it could be his last in a Red Sox uniform, with the team holding another club option and the power to bring him back in 2017 or send him packing in the offseason.

As for his future? Buchholz isn’t too worried about that right now.

Speaking to the Herald from the Sox’ spring training facility at JetBlue Park yesterday, Buchholz said he’s not interested in working out a contract extension with the Red Sox this spring. He said he was thrilled the team picked up his $13 million option for this season and will take his chances with a $13.5 million club option for 2017….

Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) of the Dallas Morning News previews five important newcomers to the Rangers’ spring training roster…

Though the Rangers didn’t make any major free agent or trade splashes this winter, they still go to Surprise, Ariz., with nine new-to-the-organization players among the 57 currently either on the major league roster or with spring training invites. Here are five worth keeping an eye on this spring based on the potential impact for the regular season.

5. C Michael McKenry: An injury to Robinson Chirinos or Chris Gimenez would leave the Rangers in a very precarious situation. Bobby Wilson, who played admirably over the final two months last year, would be the presumptive favorite, but McKenry and Rangers manager Jeff Banister go back to the Pittsburgh organization together….

4. RHP Tony Barnette: You look at the “Back Five” of the Rangers bullpen with Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson, Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and Tom Wilhelmsen and it’s only natural to wonder where Barnette, returning from six seasons in Japan, will fit. That’s what spring training is for….

Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks if Randal Grichuk can hit 30 home runs this season…

I believe Randal Grichuk will lead the Cardinals in home runs this season, so I decided to run it by Randal Grichuk.

In his first day here at spring training, the center fielder told me of his potential home run total: “They say the over-under is 30, that’s a good number to be throwing around. I think a little shy of there is still fine, still a good year. Around there is a number that is doable.”

I’m on record that Grichuk will hit 26, and that could very well lead this team. He hit 17 in only 323 at-bats last season….