A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Jim Leyland may be a long shot at this point, but he's not completely out of the picture. There is a chance that he may interview with the Mets after his interview with the Phillies. The article also mentions that Jim Tracy may become available if his contract talks with the Dodgers break down, although I cannot see Jim Tracy coming to the Mets. Despite all this, the Mets still hope to have a manager in place next week.

If Leyland is still out there and they have the opportunity to land him, get it done. Money should not be the issue here and he should not be passed up because he'll be more expensive. Omar needs to take advantage of this opportunity if it is there for taking. He is hands down the best candidate available.

From the Daily News:

But sources said Leyland has "significant interest" in the Mets and sees the job as having more .upside because of the team's apparent willingness to increase payroll and operate like a major-market club before its regional TV network is launched in 2006.

The Mets are expected to bring back Jaramillo and Randolph for second interviews and maybe Terry Collins as a long shot.

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  • Someone was asking for a Benson update and here it is:

    Meanwhile, the Mets' top free-agent-to-be, Kris Benson, has not filed yet, but his negotiations have taken a backseat to the managerial search.

    "We continue to have friendly dialogue," Benson's agent, Gregg Clifton, said. "We look forward to resuming full-fledged negotiations to keep Kris a Met, which is what he wants to do."

  • Brian Bannister has been very effective in the Arizona Fall League. He played for St. Lucie and Binghamton last season for the Mets in the minor league system.

    He appeared in four of the Peoria Saguaros' first 17 games, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.18 ERA while striking out 14 in 11 1/3 innings. Bannister recently fanned six in a three-inning relief stint.

    Bannister was a starter in the Mets minor league system but has only started in one game in the fall league. He has pitched 11.1 innings while striking out 14 and only walking two batters. Bannister should be vying for a spot in the AAA rotation this spring and could be fast tracked to the majors if he continues in the bullpen.

  • Now the the Red Sox curse has been lifted, ESPN ranks the top 55 remaining curses. Some funny stuff and thankfully this is list the Mets are left off of. But if they do not win soon, there is going to be some curse that someone makes up. I personally think it is a disease more than curse. Fred and Jeff are a cancer for this damn team.

  • Mike Lowell is staying a Marlin and this basically greatly enhances the probability that Carl Pavano returns to the Marlins.

  • Anyone that was hoping the Mets could possibly shake Sean Casey from the Reds or was targeting him for when he became a free agent can with until the 2007 season. Casey has inked through 2006 with the Reds.

  • Here is some good news for Met fans living in Cablevision country:

    Cablevision might not be able to refuse to carry a proposed Mets network in 2006 as it did with the Yankees' YES Network during its first year, Cablevision CEO James Dolan said yesterday.

    I do not think that any team's channel should be covered as basic cable. For $5-$7 a month, you should be able to get both as a package and pay if you want to see it. But since the YES Network already forced everyone's hand, the Mets Network will have to carried as basic cable as well since it set the precedence. Luckily there is no shot any other team in any other sport in this area can create their own network so it is not like this is going to be a case where a subscriber has to pay an extra $20 a month to cover all these sports channels.

  • The Yankees are looking to bring back Jon Leiber.

    "Jon wants to come back," said his agent, Rex Gary. "The Yankees will either pick up his option or not, it's up to them. Jon wants to remain a Yankee."

    They will pick up the option or not? F-in brilliant. Very insightful.

  • Balco VP states in memos that Barry Bonds has taken steroids.

    "Bonds has received 'the clear' and 'the cream' from BALCO on a 'couple of occasions.' According to Valente, Bonds does not like how 'the clear' makes him feel."

  • Friday, October 29, 2004

    Managerial Setbacks

    After I've had a day to think about the reduction in manager candidates that happened yesterday, I'd have to say I'm really disappointed. Long shots or not, Jim Leyland and Wally Backman were the two best guys that Minaya had mentioned as potential candidates. I realize Leyand was never asked in for an interview, but I think it is a foregone conclusion he will be the Phillies manager if they offer him the job. As for Backman, I suppose it was really strange that he was a top three finalist for the Diambacks job and he was setting up an interview with another ballclub before they made their decision. He could have hurt his standing with the D-Backs by saying he wanted the Mets job. I had thought that Minaya was doing a great job looking for managers, and he did sort of, but part of it is getting the best guys in and being able to hire them. Unfortunately, the seemingly best two guys got away and that is a failure in the end.

    Now my focus shifts completely back to Willie Randolph and Rudy Jaramillo. I've written here time and again that I'd choose Rudy over Willie. I only know what read, but what I've read overwhelmingly favors Rudy. People have trouble with Rudy for the reason that he was a hitting coach in Texas for 10 years and never once occupied the manager position for that team. I'm not so concerned with that for a one major reason. There was never really a shot for him to. I believe Rudy came into that position in 1995. That is the year that Johnny Oates started managing the Rangers. Oates managed Texas through some very successful seasons before being relieved of his duties mid-season in 2001. He was replaced by Jerry Narron, who was presumably the bench coach. It stands to reason the bench coach takes over since he is the next in charge. Jerry Narron managed Texas in 2002 before being replaced by Buck Showalter in 2003. Now Buck is a very, very, very good manager. He helped the Yankees build their championship team and helped the D-Back build their team that won the World Series. In both instances he was removed from his post before each of those teams title runs. In my opinion, Rudy never really got a shot at the Texas job. One would have to believe that if there was no Showalter, then Rudy may have gotten a look. I'm sure he got a look anyway, but if Texas had a shot to bring in Showalter, they had to do it. Besides, maybe he wanted to stay by his home. Bud Black turned down an interview with the Mets because he did not want to leave home, does that mean he is incapable?

    The Mets went sadly wrong when they hired Art Howe. Buck Showalter was available and he is noted for being a guy that can help build an organization and work with young talent. The Mets were heading towards a youth movement so he made a lot of sense for the Mets in 2003. Texas nabbed him, but the Mets should have thrown everything at him and that is the bottom line. I do not care that Lou Pinella got away, Buck getting away is worse. He would not have cost anything in terms of compensation. Now, during this entire managerial search, at no point have I heard Ken Oberkfell as a legitimate candidate. I've already written a post on that topic, so no need to go into depth into that again. I do not know much about Oberkfell, except for the fact that he won the championship with St. Lucie and took Binghamton to the playoffs in the following year. He is obviously a good manager, but he did have stacked teams. Maybe he is too laid back or there are some glaring problems the we do not know about, but he seems like someone that should have garnered attention.

    The bottom line is that the Mets have made a lot of mistakes. Howe should not have gotten hired, Showalter should not have been passed up without a real fight, permission to speak with Leyland should have been asked the day he said he is considering returning, and Oberkfell should have been a major candidate. Oberkfell with HoJo on the bench next to him would certainly have been something Met fans would have enjoyed. All those mistakes do not matter now. The only thing that matters now is the fact that the Mets are down to two guys. Rudy Jaramillo, the latin speaking guy with 10 years pedigree as an accomplished hitting coach who has some spunk and managerial experience a long time ago and Willie Randloph who was a long time 3b coach and one year bench coach who is mild mannered and suggested that Don Zimmer will be brought in as his bench coach. A few weeks back, the NYPost described Rudy as a commanding, in-your-face kind of guy and when he talks, people listen. Rudy has also gotten a nice vote of confidence from Pete Incavilia and Alex "fem slap" Rodriguez. I have not heard anything about Willie from anyone but Joe Torre. Not even from A-Rod who threw his weight behind his old coach. In fact, just yesterday, the NYDaily News reported that insiders believe Randolph is Minaya's preference, but the GM may have reservations because of doubts expressed by baseball executives in other organizations. That is a negative to me. What doubts were expressed?

    Obviously Minaya and the Mets have a ton more info than I do, but from everything that has been circulating around, I do not see how you can not go with Rudy Jaramillio at this point out of the candidates that were brought in. If you are worried about his lack of managerial experience and his lack of time spent around the NL style game, then give Wriggleman or Collins the bench coach position. They are NL guys that may be open for the job. The Mets have made a lot of mistakes when it comes to the manger spot on this team over the last few years, I just hope they can stop themselves before they make another one.

    * * *

  • Fox Sports had an article on 65 players who filed for free agency. They had this little tidbit at the end:

    There was one curious name among those who filed - New York Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn, out most of the last two seasons with an arthritic left knee. Vaughn, who completed an $80 million, six-year contract, filed to get off the Mets' 40-man roster.

    I sure hope that he is not sitting by the phone waiting for his agent to call him with some offers. I'm pretty sure there will not be one coming.

  • Say it ain't Sosa. Why must we be punished with the idea of another overpaid, over the hill, underproductive, star again? The Steve Phillips years all over again. Newsday has this to say:

    The conventional wisdom was that the Mets would target Magglio Ordoñez to bolster their limp lineup. But Mets people tout new general manager Omar Minaya's "outside-the- box" thinking, and a potential blockbuster involving either Ramirez, from Washington Heights, or Sosa could be the first prime example.

    What does that mean? "Outide-the-box" thinking means idiotic move? I like Ramirez. If all else fails, and the Mets cannot land, Beltran, Ordonez, or Drew, then by all mean, bite the bullet and make your move on Ramirez. But for all that is holy, just say no to Sammy. I just cannot express how horrible a move it would be for the Mets to land Sosa. I want to think Minaya knows what is good for this team, but if he is honestly looking into Sosa, he is clueless. This could all be reporters making crap up, but I have come to expect the worst from the Mets. This move would certainly be Wilponderous.

  • The Journal News reports that Randolph is the favorite for the managerial spot. It also states that the Mets would make an offer to Rudy Jaramillo that would make him one of the highest paid coaches when his contract expires on Dec. 31st to be the hitting coach. The only problem is Willie wants to pick his staff and has Chili Davis in mind for the hitting coach.

  • The Orioles are going to try and land Carlos Delgado. The are prepared to offer him $6M to $9M per year and are ready to add $20M in payroll. They need pitching if they want to get anywhere. Their offense was not the problem, but I guess they plan on adding everything. The pen was solid and if they can add two good starters, they will be pretty good. If they get Delgado and two good starters, they may be able to cause some trouble.

  • The Yankees are interested in acquiring either Randy Johnson or Tim Hudson. I can see the Yanks sending Vazquez and cash to the D-Backs, but I just do not see it with Hudson. Beane loves Hudson and is going to try and keep him at any cost. It is certainly a strange rumor. I just do not see what the Yankees have to offer. This is not a salary dump for the A’s, they do not want to caught with the pants down and have him leave after this year and get nothing in return. Plenty of other teams will give up more for Hudson and they have Joe Blanton who can step into the rotation and may not want a pitcher back.

  • Thursday, October 28, 2004


    Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn

    No Wally and it looks like no Jim Leyand. Just when everyone gets excited that there were four good and legitimate managerial candidates, the Mets are back to the same two front runners. At least they tried, but the odds of a Randolph/Zimmer combo is all too close to becoming real.

    The article also said that the Mets are poised to name the new manager within the next week.


    Shari Frost invented a truly amazing word that seems to capture the essence of every single move Wilpon and Co. make. Their wilponderous decisions over the years have certainly been head scratchers and jaw dropping. She can rant with the best of them and that is why she was given here own forum at SelltheMets.com. She has her own Wil-ponderous link, so check it out. Here is her first rant back in late September.

    So they fired Art Howe, which is great but that's like putting a band aid on fractured skull. Since Nelson Doubleday was bought out Fred Wilpon and his idiot son Jeff have proven that they are spinning their wheels in Alabama mud. In other words under their guidance this team is going nowhere.

    Lets look at some of their brilliant decisions-they sign an overweight, aging Mo Vaughn based on 2 swings in his home batting cage, even though the man had been out of baseball for a year and a half. Now there is some careful evaluation from some baseball professionals.

    Since they were burned by the Mo debacle, they pass on signing Vladimir Guerrero because of his back injury, so Vlad goes to Anaheim and becomes the American League MVP, while we got stuck with Mike Cameron, a supposed gold glover who's dropped as many balls in centerfield as Roger Cedeno did when he played center.

    Yeah he's got 29 homeruns-all meaningless solo shots.

    They gave away their crowned jewel rookie Scott Kazmir a flame throwing left hander for Victor Zambrano who had known elbow problems and someone convinced Fred Wilpon that he was one of the premier power pitchers in the American League. I don't know what Svengali convinced him of this.

    Then of course there is the signing of Kaz Matsui, a supposed gold glove short stop in Japan. I do realize that offensive numbers in Japan translate here like our body weight does on the moon, but I never heard of defensive numbers being that much less. If this guy was a gold glove in Japan, then I must be the Queen of Siam.

    This signing was upon the insistence of idiot #1 son-Jeff Wilpon.

    I have said for a long time that playing for the Wilpons has to be the problem, they have gone through a bunch of managers with little results, the players have changed also over the years, so have the GMs. What hasn't changed is the hands on way the Wilpons deal with this team. That would be fine if they knew anything about baseball.

    They have proven time and time again that they know nothing-Fred thinks because he went to school with Sandy Kofax that he's a baseball aficionado, and Jeff doesn't know a baseball from a moth ball. My great grandmother had a saying "No camel sees it's own hump" and that's the case with the Wilpons. They try to re-arrange and fire everyone within the organization without realizing they are the problem. There is no other way to explain how certified hall of famers and superstars come to play for the Mets and look like they never played the game before, players that have shown the Mets nothing have gone on to other teams and flourished.

    The Wilpons either need to sell this team or just become silent owners, and get someone qualified to run their baseball operations while they keep their mouths shut and their hands off.

    -- Shari Forst

    Just awesome.

    * * *

  • Some important Hot Stove dates to have:

    Close of World Series marks the commencement of the 15-day period during which eligible players may elect free agency or demand a trade.

    November 10 Waivers secured on/after Aug. 1, 2004, expire at 5:00 p.m. ET.
    November 11 New waiver period begins. Waivers (exclusive of Special waivers) secured today and after shall be in effect until February 15, 2005.
    November 19 Day to file reserve lists for all Minor League levels and Major Leagues
    December 7 Last date for former club of player who declared free agency under Art. XX (B) to offer salary arbitration. If Club does not offer, then it loses all rights to negotiate with and sign the free agent until May 1st of the next season.
    December 10-13 Winter meetings, Anaheim, Calif.
    December 13 Major League Rule 5 Draft
    December 19 Last date for player, who declared free agency under Art. XX (B), to accept an arbitration offer of former club. If player rejects offer to go to arbitration, his former club may still negotiate with and sign him until January 8th of next season.
    December 20 Last date to tender contracts.

  • As a part II of my Magglio post, I am listing the upcoming outfield free agents over the next few years. They factor heavily in my desire that the Mets have to pursue Magglio as opposed to waiting until next year for someone else.

    x-denotes team option
    m-denotes mutual option

    After 2005 season:
    Jose Guillen, Tim Salmon, Johnny Damon, Carlos Lee, Rondell White, Bobby Higginson, Bernie Williams, Kenny Lofton, x-Mark Kotsay, Randy Winn, Jose Cruz Jr, x-Sammy Sosa, Preston Wilson, Jeff Conine, Juan Pierre, Shawn Green, Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders, Roger Cedeno, Jay Payton, Terrence Long, Brian Giles, Michael Tucker, and Joe McEwing

    After the 2006 season:
    Darin Erstad, Melvin Mora, Trot Nixon, Shannon Stewart, Torii Hunter, Gary Sheffield, Raul Ibanez, m-Luis Gonzalez, x-Chipper Jones, x-Jim Edmonds, Cliff Floyd, x-Mike Cameron, Barry Bonds, and Ryan Klesko

    After 2007 season:
    x-Bobby Abreu, x-Geoff Jenkins, Andruw Jones, and Ichiro Suzuki

    The names bolded are names of interest, but after looking at the list of players after the 2005 & 2006 season, how do you not go after a player of Magglo's stature? You wait for after the 2007 season for Suzuki or Abreu? That does not make sense. This year’s top three outfielders are just too good to pass by without landing one of them. The only name out there next year I really like is Carlos Lee. Unless the Mets try and trade for him and sign him long term, it just does not make sense to wait for something that it is not there. His contract may get extended by the White Sox and even if he hits free agency after 2005, the Mets still have to compete to get him. There is absolutely no guarantees he will land at Shea.

  • If this is not proof enough that I will not have Mets games in 2006 if Cablevision is still my cable provider, I do not know what is. MSG is suing the Mets for making arrangements to start their own cable network and they claim that it is in direct violation of the contract. MSG contends that the Mets could not start making other arrangements until Nov 1st 2005. This is a last ditch and desperate effort by the Dolan's to save their soon to be useless MSG, Fox Sports NY, and Metro channels. What are the chances of Cablevision actually carrying the new Mets network in 2006?

  • Baseball America has the World Wood Bat Association top 20 prospects listed today.

  • The Chicago Sun times reports that Manny Ramirez may find himself back on waivers this off season. The World Series MVP is still due almost $80 million dollars over the next four years but is especially enticing because of the fact that he may cost nothing to attain and bring one of the best right handed bats of the game to whatever team picks him up. If Manny could be moved, then the BoSox would presumably be big players for Carlos Beltran.

  • Carlos Beltran's decision to return to Houston could heavily be tied to Roger Clemens' decision to return to baseball for one more year. Beltran wants to go to a contender which crosses the Mets off the list.

  • The Cleveland Indians remain interested in Kendry Morales and the talks are getting serious. Indians assistant general manager John Mirabelli said the 22-year-old Morales is, at the minimum, Double-A ready back in August and described him as polished hitter. There do not seem to be any questions about his age and the fact that I'm not reading much about the Mets being all over him is perplexing to say the least. Pony up the cash Wilpon. OF and 1B happen to be a little thin at the top of the minor league system.

  • If Willie gets the managerial gig, he wants Zim as his bench coach. This news is certainly disturbing if for nothing other than the fact that someone is trying to turn the Mets into the Yankees!!!!!

    Hopefully Wally aces his interview so we can save ourselves from Yankee retreads. I was OK with the possibility of Randolph being the manager, but enough is enough.

  • The Sox finally broke their World Series drought by putting the sweep of the Cardinals under their belt. Boston is still standing, which is certainly good news. I was expecting widespread chaos in Boston with some looting, fires, rapes, etc. You know, some good ole' fashion ones like in LA when the Lakers won a few years back. At any rate it did not happen and Derek Lowe came up big in another playoff. Scott Boras is salivating after Lowe's horrible regular season and his sudden dominance in the playoffs. Lowe will command more money than he is worth after these last three stellar starts. Buyer beware on Derek Lowe for sure. Reported interested teams are the Tigers, Rangers, Baltimore, and Phillies.

    As I was watching the game at the bar with some friends, one of whom was wearing a Red Sox shirt and hat, and the Red Sox won the series, there were plenty of Boston fans cheering. At which point, the ever so classy Yankee fans started chanting Boston sucks and other various chants. Instead of congratulating the team that handed their team's ass to them with the greatest meltdown in the history of sports, they continued to be sore losers. Then one Yankee fan tastefully threw insults at my friend with the Red Sox garb. Unreal, and people wonder why I do not like Yankee fans? I know it is not all of them, but it sure seems that way. Anything associated with the Yankees seems to be lacking class these days starting with A-Rod's fem slap to the their tasteless fans.

  • Wednesday, October 27, 2004

    Magglio for 2005

    I am not of the group of people that think that 2005 is lost year that should be dedicated to rebuilding with only stop gap players being acquired this off-season. I do think it will be transition year of sorts, but more so for Reyes, Wright, and Diaz to get more acclimated with the major leagues while Petit, Soler, and Humber prepare for major service in late 2005 or 2006. The Mets should be in a position to make a push for 2005 and play in some 'meaningful games' and for that reason, they need to be active players in the free agent market for guys that can help them not only in 2005, but 2006, 2007, and in some cases beyond when they could be considered contenders. The Mets need to bring in a big bat and top of the rotation starter. As I stated yesterday, Carlos Beltran will really not be a viable option for Mets. His cost will just be too high to get him here and he probably will not really want to come here. The Mets really need to concentrate on Magglio Ordonez. There is still a solid foundation in Shea if everyone can remain healthy with young stars in the making already here. There needs to be mix of established stars with the Mets young players and they could really surprise people.

    Magglio is not high a lot fans wish list for a few main reasons, and all that have some merit.

    Argument #1: Magglio is too old. He will be 31 on opening to start the 2005 season and the Mets need to get younger.

    Magglio is not an average player. Guys that are stars in this league that are not at the catching position do not burn out at 33. They can be very effective until their mid-30's and beyond. Magglio would most certainly not be getting any deal over five years and if the Mets may be able to ink him for four years being there should be some people scared off by his knee injury, then the risk is not that high. Try a four year deal with an automatic option based on at-bats to give him a contract he would like. There is no reason to think Ordonez will not a productive player in his mid 30's.

    Argument #2: Magglio is coming off a serious knee injury and there is no ETA when he'll be back or fully recover.

    This is what doctor's are for. He initially got his knee surgery and his knee did not respond well to rehab and he was eventually shut down for the season. He went to Austria without letting the White Sox know to get more surgery on the knee. GM Kenny Williams said he would not be ready by spring training and Magglio rebutted that notion and said he will be ready. I guess no one knows, but Magglio will need to prove his health before anyone is going to sign him. If he is still a huge risk, like Garciaparra, he may have to accept a one year deal to prove his health. In either case, the Mets should jump on him.

    Argument #3: Magglio played in a hitter's park and his offensive numbers are slightly skewed because of it.

    There is no doubt that he hits better at home than he does on the road. However, he still has an average over .300 at home and on the road over the past three years and hits doubles at the same frequency with the homeruns stepping down some on the road. Magglio gives you a bunch of doubles per year in addition to homeruns. He has been an extra base hit machine as he hit 34/30 (doubles/homeruns), 34/32, 40/31, 47/38, and 46/29 in 1999 through 2003. His average did not dip below .300 in any of those years and he managed to pound out 117, 126, 113, 135, and 99 RBIs in consecutive years prior to his injury. If he comes to Shea, he will still be good for close to 30 homeruns and pound over 40 doubles. If Magglio could give .300/.370/.540 with 27-30 homeruns, 40 doubles, and 110 RBIs, then he would be a welcome addition to my team and better offensively than anyone the Mets ran out since Darryl Strawberry.

    Argument #4: Magglio has a new agent by the name of Scott Boras.

    I have nothing really on this one because I agree he is evil, but the market will determine his value and I just do not think there is a ton of interest. The White Sox and the Dodgers are the only teams that may have a fit for his service with San Francisco and the Cubs as outside shots. The Mets would not have that much serious competition in pursuit of Magglio to drive his price up so Boras may not be able to drive his price up sky high.

    Since 1999, Magglio Ordonez has been one of the most consistent ballplayers in the majors. The guy hits for average, power, knocks in runners, and can field his position. Since 2002, Magglio is batting .319/.397/.584 with runners in scoring position with 195 RBIs in 404 at-bats. That is almost an RBI per 2 at-bats. With runners on, he is batting .321/.384/575 with 233 RBIs in 680 at-bats. Magglio is an accomplished hitter that hits in key situations and will be substantially cheaper and easier to attain than Carlos Beltran. With the hoopla surrounding his injury and the lack of overall interest in teams willing to cough up money for him a contract for a few years, he may just be a bargain. The Mets will have to do their due diligence and investigate his health and make a determination from there. He will not approach the money he made this past season at $14,000,000 due to the questions looming and the Mets should pounce. I guess it helps to understand what the injury he sustained and the resulting bone marrow edema means.

    Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in cells, tissues or cavities of the body, and bone-marrow edema typically is caused by trauma to the affected area. In this case, the trauma was caused by Ordonez's outfield collision with second baseman Willie Harris during a game May 19 against the Cleveland Indians.

    Dr. Ingrid Kjellin, an orthopedic radiologist at Loma Linda (Calif.) University Medical Center, one of the West Coast's leaders in sports medicine, said that surgery to alleviate bone-marrow edema usually needs six to eight weeks of recovery time. She suggested that a majority of the time, the injury isn't considered career-threatening.

    Kjellin wasn't familiar with Ordonez's situation, but she was making general comments about the injury from experience with bone-marrow edema from sports injuries. Kjellin is highly regarded for reading MRI exams and diagnosing injuries.

    "If there was surgery, that usually means there were tiny, nondisplaced fractures," she said. "If the patient had surgery, it could indicate mild damage to bone."

    So while is injury is bad, there is strong reason to believe he will be 100% by spring and fully recovered without lingering effects. I am not hoping this affects the salary he commands in the free agent market, but if it does, I would not mind if the Mets benefited from something for once. Magglio is a star and the Mets need a big bat for the #3 spot in the order. If the price is right he'll fit right into the Mets short term and long term plans. When his contract would be due to expire after signing this off-season is when the Mets will be looking to re-up David Wright and Jose Reyes to long term deals. He fits into the Mets plan for the next five years and will be effective when the Mets are going to be jockeying for the lead in the NL East in 2006 and beyond. The Mets have some young arms that are going to contribute over that time with some great, young positions players. By trading for Benson and Zambrano in the off season, the Mets made a commitment to being competitive for the next few years while they are on the team they need to stick to that. Health is a key issue in their future success and there is no reason to think the Mets will not take significant steps forward in the upcoming season over their past three seasons. The Mets have every reason in the world to look at Magglio to anchor down the lineup for the next four to five years. Besides, if not him, then who? I am skeptical of Drew because he will be asking for a lot of money and has only been healthy for one season. After the 2005 season the best name out there is Carlos Lee (who I think the ChiSox will try and retain despite recent rumors) and after the 2006 season the best name out there is Torii Hunter. If there were other prospects on the horizon, that is one thing, but this is the year for the Mets to bring in a heavy hitting outfielder. They passed on Vlad last year and they need to come back with a prize this off season.

    * * *

  • The Mets mailbag certainly had some interesting questions come up, and this one in particular:

    If you were Omar Minaya and were given a reasonably significant payroll increase for player salaries, what would be your first five priorities for 2005?
    -- Paul O., Boynton Beach, Fla.

    It's difficult to say where you should begin, but I would like to see the Mets get a bona fide first baseman.

    I would also not count on having Victor Zambrano in the starting rotation next year, simply because of his suspect elbow. And Al Leiter throws too many pitches and doesn't pitch deep enough into games to be an integral part of the rotation.

    Trading Cliff Floyd also seems like the best thing for him and the Mets. His history of injuries would make him better suited for a spot in the American League as a designated hitter, where there is much less stress. Moving Floyd would also give New York the opportunity to go out and get a big bat for left field.

    Victor Diaz should be the right fielder next year. The kid has shown he can hit, was better than advertised in the field, and has just enough confidence to handle New York. Having him in right field could be a reality if the club does get the big bopper in left field or first base.

    Finally, I'd try and move Mike Piazza. Yes, he's an icon and a fan favorite, but the Mets can upgrade behind the plate, save some money and begin to reshape their team with David Wright and Jose Reyes as the marquee players.

    Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter

    How about that vote of confidence for Victor Zambrano in 2005? I know it is just speculation, but this really necessitates the Mets picking up one or two starters this year. If Victor comes back healthy, then move Trachsel, but to go into next year without Zambrano and not picking up a free agent pitcher leaves you with Glavine, Benson (if he actually signs, Trachsel, Heilman, and Seo. Is anyone interested in that?

  • Even if Wally does not get hired, it just looks great that the Mets are being thorough in their managerial search. Between Jaramillo (who suddenly looks like a long shot despite what the newspapers say), Leyland, Backman, and Randolph, it looks as though the Mets should walk away with a competent skipper.

  • In related managerial news. This was from the NYDaily news:

    Randolph and Jaramillo remain the Mets' front-runners. Insiders believe Randolph is Minaya's preference, but the GM may have reservations because of doubts expressed by baseball executives in other organizations.

    I wonder what doubts were expressed about Randolph?

  • Steinbrenner says to go after Johnson. Problem is, their farm system is the same as it was last year, which is not so hot. This goes for them getting Hudson or Zito from the A's as well. Eric Duncan is still far away and the A's and D-Backs will be looking for guys to contribute quickly. Cano and Navarro are not getting a deal done just like they did not get a deal done this past trading deadline. Their best chip is Javier Vazquez, but they would have to eat some major salary in a deal to either of those two teams.

  • If the Yankees cannot nab Beltran, they may choose to try and bring Soriano back. Now how ridiculous would it be if that happened. Who would they give up? Cano? The Rangers would basically have dealt A-Rod and $9M per year for Arias and whomever the Yankees give up for Soriano if the deal were to happen. Unreal, that team has an owner dumber than Wilpon.

  • Mike Lowell may not be shaken loose from the Marlins.

  • The Blue Jays are aggressivly trying to move Eric Hinske to the Reds. Hell, I'd like the Mets to take a flyer in him for first base. All else fails you have a young and decent backup CIF. Worth a look if the asking price is not too and Toronto eats million per year.

  • The Red Sox were assisted in yesterday's game by bad base running by the Cards to get Pedro out of two jams. Pedro finished up by retiring the last fourteen batters he faced after taking advantage of the Cards last base running blunder. What are the chances that something that never happened in the history of baseball happens twice in row? As likely as the prospect of Mets winning the World Series in 2005 while Wilson Delgado battles for the triple crown. This baby is locked up and Derek Lowe looks to continue his resurgence in hopes of a nice contractual award in the free agent market. The Red Sox are heeding all us Mets fans wishes by getting the season over as quickly as possible so the Hot Stove can begin and our team can take shape. A special thanks to the Cardinals for rolling over and playing dead.

  • Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    How Much Is Carlos Beltran Worth?

    Carlos Ivan Beltran was drafted in 1995 2nd in the amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut in 1998 and became a full time starter in 1999. In his first full season he hit .293/.337/.454 with 22 homeruns, 108 RBIs, and 27 SBs at the age of 22. He knocked over 20 homeruns and 100 RBIs in 5 of his six seasons and the one that he did not achieve that feat was an injury plagued 2000 season. Beltran has an astounding career stolen base % of 89% in 215 attempts. His walks have steadily raised from 46 in 1999 to 52 in 2001 to 71 in 2002 to 72 in 2003 to 92 in 2004. His stolen bases have raised from 27 in 1999 to 31 in 2001 to 35 in 2002 to 41 in 2003 to 42 in 2004. He batted .267 this season between the two leagues and only .258 in Houston despite moving into a hitter's park. He only hit .224 in Minute Maid Park and actually hit bad when he was home at Kauffman Park with a .227 average. Looking at his three year splits, it is obviously and anomaly but still strange since he hit .305 on the road in 2004. Carlos is also a solid defensive player registering over 10 assist in every year except for 2000 and has committed no more than eight errors in a year. He basically does everything well. He's a five tool guy and will be the object of everyone's affection this off season. However, how much is he worth?

    Reports have been out that he is looking for an eight year, $160 million dollar deal and that is a dollar figure that he will most likely not get. Guerrero received a five year $70 million dollar deal which equates to $14 million dollars per year. Now, depending on how you look it at, he is either underpaid, or the market has 'righted' itself after years and years of crazy contracts (see Jeromy Burnitz). If you think that Guerrero is underpaid, then Beltran will most likely get what he deserves with a contract worth between $17 million to $20 million per year. If you think the market has 'righted' itself, then someone will be overpaying for Beltran. You would be hard pressed to find a person that would not agree that Vlad is the better of the two players. Vlad the Impaler has been a dominant player in the majors for years now while Beltran was never considered to be at his level of play.

    Miguel Tejada was worth 12 million dollars per year to the Orioles and like Beltran, plays a premium position. Miggie is about one year older, but they will have both been the same age when the signed their mega-contract. Playing in a pitchers park in Oak-town, Tejada topped 30 homeruns three years in a row and missed by three homeruns in 2003. He hit 115, 113, 131, and 106 RBIs in 2000 to 2003 and had an amazing 150 RBIs this year for the Orioles. Tejada is not as sure handed as Beltran, but is by no means a liability in the field and their fielding % is comparable. Miggie is not in the same universe when it comes to the SB department, but is arguably the better hitter of the two however slightly the margin is. I do think Beltran a small edge as the better all-around player than Miggie, but falls somewhere in between Tejada and Vlad.

    With the current market and how it took shape last season and how it should follow this season would dictate that Beltran is truly only worth $13 to $14 million when you look at similar signings. Top tier pitching talent is going for $10-$12 million dollars these days for perceived aces and $6-9$ million for second tier starters. As for position players, you are looking at $11-$15 million for the cream of the crop and $7-$10 for the next tier of talent. Carlos Beltran is definitely a star and he is at the age that he is coming into his prime, but he is not worth over $15 million per year in today's value. As good as he has done throughout the playoffs this year, it cannot be ignored that his BA was .267 between the two leagues. He has topped .300 twice and hit over .290 in three of six years as a full time starter. He hit below .273 in the other three years. Batting average has less of a value these days and Beltran has a lot great all around offensive numbers, but when I look at the monster numbers that Vlad had put of over his career and compare that with Beltran's, it is hard to put the two in the same category. Beltran has a great health history and will command more money than anyone on the free agent market this off season, but how much he is worth is up for debate. If he could be snagged and put into a Met uniform for $14 million a year, then great, but I think we all know the chances of that are non-existent. If he gets the money he is looking for and costs $5 to $6 million more per year then he should, is he really a value for your team at that point? The reality is that not everyone can spend like the Yankees on players and field a complete team. That goes for the Mets too. Wilpon's pockets are not as deep as Doubleday’s and the Mets do not make nearly the money that the Yankees do, although the new Mets Network will most likely close that gap.

    Someone will be paying for Carlos' service for a long time, but the question is for how much. Would it be worth it for the Mets to try and trump everyone and lay out $18 to $20 million per year and overpay? That may be the only way to get him here. The Cubbies, Astros, Yankees, and possibly the Dodgers will also be vying for his services and have successful teams in place right now. The Mets could be seen as a team in disarray and would have to knock Beltran over with money to get him to Shea. If the Cubs, Mets, Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers all put a contract on the table for $14 million to $15 million, how would you rank them in terms of desirability if you are Beltran? He has no specific ties to the Mets or Queens and they would presumably be at the bottom of the list. The money it would require to get Beltran in a Met uniform really does not make fiscal sense for the Mets when you examine their other needs.

    Give me Magglio for right and the extra money towards Clement and I'd be much happier. Magglio is not generating too much hype due to his injury and may be a bargain with an incentive laden deal that reduces the risk for the Mets. Not many teams are going to be putting up the money Magglio was looking for at the beginning of the 2004 season and he’ll have to back off his 5 year $70 million dollar contract demand. Maggs could cost $10 to $12 million per year if he gets lukewarm offers from teams. I'll be putting up my arguments for Magglio and Clement in the coming days since those are the two players that the Mets need to target this off season because they can realistically land them.

    The fact is that Cameron is in centerfield and is signed for two more years. Cameron still has value via a trade, but I just cannot see him being moved. I also cannot see moving Cameron from CF or Beltran being OK with playing anywhere other than CF if he came to the Mets. I just do not see Carlos coming to the Mets who have been a soap opera for the past few seasons no matter how much us Met fans would like to see it happen. Also, Beltran can sign with a team that will not have a CF controversy (The Cubs and Corey Patterson would not have a controversy, it’s COREY PATTERSON). It is time to look at someone with a more realistic chance of landing at Shea and better fit with the current team. I do not think the Mets are on Beltran’s radar despite the fact he may be on the Mets radar. I'm not saying the Mets should just pass him and not at least make an honest offer, but you would have to be a pretty good salesman to bring the most desirable free agent this year to the Mets when a handful of successful teams will be trying to woo him with the same money as well.

    * * *

  • Kazuo Matsui was in the United States in 2004 with his team struggling to keep their head above water and finishing in 4th place in what was a disappointing season. Back at Kaz's motherland, his old team, the Seibu Lions defeated the Chunichi Dragons in seven games to take home their first Japanese League championship since 1992. In the series Daisuke Matsuzaka came up big for the Lions in game six with the Lions facing elimination to force a game seven. He struck out seven while giving up two runs and six hits over eight innings.

    "We had our backs to the wall and I just tried to pitch with a sense of urgency," said Matsuzaka, who picked up his first Japan Series win. "If they need me, I'm prepared to pitch tomorrow too."

    Umm, seriously, I think the Mets should give this 23 year old kid a nice hard look. I've said it before, and I stand by that still, the Mets can get younger and better while signing him for about $5 to $6 million. It cannot hurt that his one year removed teammate is on the Mets and would provide some comfort in easing into a new team and culture. He pitched huge in the Olympics vs. heavyweight Cuba and pitch well in the Japanese Baseball Championship. He seems to be very composed for a kid his age.

    Tuffy Rhodes, who played for the Cubs in 1994, is a star in the Japanese League these days and clubbed 333 homeruns, which is the most any foreign born player has hit in Japan. When asked who would be the next star in the Majors, he did not even have to think twice.

    When questioned on who he thought might be the next Japanese player to star in the majors, Rhodes quickly replied, "(Daisuke) Matsuzaka. He is the toughest pitcher I have played against in Japan. He throws 96 miles per hour (154 kph). He has a good fastball, slider, curveball and changeup."

    He is respected by his opponents and this was said by one of the opposing pitchers of the championship series:

    "If we beat Matsuzaka, it's like winning two games. But if we lose to him, the pressure on us doubles," said Dragons ace Kenshin Kawakami

    I know people may be skeptical of Japanese pitchers, but many have come over and found success even if it was for a few years. He is regarded as the best pitcher in Japan at the age of 23 and he was dubbed "Boy Wonder" while leading the league in ERA in 2004. This kid seems to have the arm to succeed in the majors and looks to be worth a chance.

  • Wally Backman is on Omar's hit list for managerial candidates. Omar plans to give him an interview as well as Jim Leyland and a decision will be made shortly after the World Series. Who the hell doesn't like the fact that Wally is being brought in?

    However, the D-Backs are not expected to pick a manager until a few days into November. The Mets will presumably have to wait until then to get permission to speak to Wally about the job. That would set the Mets back and we'll be looking at about two more weeks to get a manager named. However, Kris Benson is waiting to see who the manager is before he makes his decision to come back. So with the Mets only having a two week period to work on that deal after the World Series, one has to wonder how long they can wait to name their manager?

  • Some notes from NorthJersey.com:

    Relief pitcher Orber Moreno had surgery on his right shoulder and is expected back for spring training. Pitchers Victor Zambrano and Mike DeJean were activated from the disabled list and returned to the team's roster. And SS Wilson Delgado, OF Gerald Williams and RP Vic Darensbourg were declared minor league free agents.

    Sorry to see you go "Ice", Wilson, & Vic.

    I hope Orber is OK, he's had problems over the years and the Mets need him in the pen in 2005.

  • Monday, October 25, 2004

    Intestinal Fortitude

    I'm not sure what is worse, the Red Sox making eight errors in the first two games combined, or the Cardinals being unable to pull out at least one victory at Fenway after being given so many gifts. Pedro Martinez vs. Jeff Suppan is on Tuesday and that is followed by Derek Lowe vs. Jason Marquis (who will most likely be replaced after pitching relief last night) on Wednesday. As stated last night in the broadcast, the Cardinals are on a strange streak where the home team has won the last nine games they've played in. They won all four at home vs. the Astros and they lost all three when they played at Minute Maid Park. Now they lost the first two in Boston and will try and keep the streak alive by taking some games at home to get back into it.

    I think everyone in Boston is going to have a shrine of Curt Schilling after this World Series. The blood seeping through his sock and Curt just going out and dominating batters without his best fastball just shows what type of competitor he his. It hurts to watch him pitch but the man is on a mission and that is what Theo Epstein brought him here to do. Win a World Series for the Boston Red Sox. The reason these Red Sox are going to pull it off is because they look like they want it more than anyone else. Matt Morris is making excuses about pitching on one day less rest than normal while the guys in Boston are getting it done pitching on two days rest and getting medical procedures done that have not been done before.

    * * *

  • In case any teams needed a reason to stay away from Matt Morris besides his 2004 performance of giving up 35 homeruns and 4.72 ERA, he just gave everyone else another one.

    "I think the last time I pitched on short rest was a Wiffle ball game when I was 10," Morris said.

    "It's tough leaving a ballgame in the fifth," Morris said. "But 90 pitches is a lot for me."

    I shutter to think of the notion that a pitcher gives some extra in the World Series. It is not like they have many games after this. Derek Lowe went out on two days rest for game #7 and won the game in a clutch performance. Matt Morris is only 30 years old, and the fact that he is not resiliant enough to go on three days rest once in the year is scary.

    "I believe when you sign a contract it doesn't say you have to pitch five innings," said the legendary Cookie Rojas, who played all nine positions in his career as a player before becoming a manager and a coach. "I think we have spoiled some of these pitchers by saying, 'All you have to give me is five innings, and then I'll have a guy in the sixth and seventh, a guy in the eighth inning and one behind him.' "

    In the opposite dugout you had a guy who had his loose tendon sutured down so he can pitch.

  • Dave Del Grande from the Oakland Tribune thinks that Brian Cashman should be left out of the of the Yankee equation in 2005.

    Label the Yankees' demise a fluke if you like. Blame Kevin Brown or the height of the right-field fence at Fenway.

    You're wrong. All of you.

    The Red Sox held one advantage the Yankees, even when they were up three games to none, couldn't overcome: Theo Epstein over Cashman.

    With less funds to work with -- and perhaps because of it -- Epstein put together a team in Boston. The Red Sox had a man for every situation -- relief specialists, defensive replacements, pinch runners ... you name it.

    The Yankees had ... well, Cashman had eight guys who could protect Barry Bonds, a Who's Who of recent Cy Young Award candidates and the best closer of all time.

    But no leadoff hitter, no useful left-handed reliever and, for the most part, no reason for Joe Torre ever to switch out of auto-pilot mode.

    I’d tend to agree that Brian Cashman has done nothing special. He may be a good GM, but he does not get the chance to show it because of the way Steinbrenner wants to build the team. The GM is the fall guy for failed moves and he should be on the hook for creating that ineffective pitching staff and that ineffective bullpen with that huge payroll.

    In the article, Dave also asks that you never mention Alex Rodriguez’s name in the same sentence as Barry Bonds again. I’m not sure if any of you have, but I’d ask that you never do it again either.

  • This statement is not 100% proven and Gary Sheffield denies it, but if he did say it, it makes the biggest playoff collapse in the history of sports even that much sweeter.

    Talking about the Red Sox:
    "a walking disaster. They act like they're tough, how they care so much about winning, but it's all a front. They're just a bunch of characters."

  • Tony Massarotti points out that Curt Schilling is due to make $2 million more in 2005 and $13 million in 2007 if the Red Sox wins the win it all. As if players do not have enough incentive to win, he has a huge monetary reason to make sure they win. I do not think anyone had ever had that much cash on the line for a World Series victory.

  • The Colorado Rockies GM is shopping Shawn Chacon. Chacon is only 26 years old and has very good stuff despite having a bad season in his first year as a converted closer. Whoever takes a chance on him could get a flop or a solid player, but he will not cost that much money which certainly makes this an enticing risk. He is only due to make about $3 million dollars through arbitration next year and this would not be a salary dump and the Rockies will be looking for something of value in return.

  • FINALLY! Willie will interview today and we are another interview closer to getting the manager of the 2005 New York Mets named. I assume Willie is bit more prepared this time especially with the extra days he had to read up on the Mets organization.

  • I should have a post up later today on Carlos Beltran and the Mets.

  • Sunday, October 24, 2004

    Verlander Signs

    Justin Verlander has inked with the Detroit Tigers and received a $3.15 million dollar signing bonus in a major league contract that is worth a guaranteed $4.5 million and a $5.6 million dollar maximum.

    "We (in the family) sat down as a group and discussed all the situations and I decided I wanted to become a Detroit Tiger,'' Verlander said. Smith said the Tigers' declaration they were no longer interested in Verlander was not a negotiating ploy.

    The strange thing about it is that after negotiations broke down, Justin's father Richard stepped in and the family contacted the Tigers on the own and it is unclear whether Verlander's agent Mike Milchin played any role in the last round of negotiations. It was only eight days after the team had decided that they did not plan to sign him. Now that the standard has been set and Verlander has inked and Jeff Neimann was offered a major league contract, I think it is a forgone conclusion that Phil Humber will walk away with a major league contract as well if the Mets want to sign him at all.

    * * *

  • For anyone holding out hope that Wally Backman was one of the 1 or 2 remaining candidates that Omar Minaya was going to ask permission to interview, it does not look good. The Mets have asked the Dodgers to interview Jim Riggleman and were turned down by Bud Black, who is the Anaheim pitching coach for an interview. Here is a quote from the article that is just baffling:

    Meanwhile, one source close to the Mets reiterated that Randolph is not only the leading candidate for the job, but the Yankee bench coach is by far and away the frontrunner.

    Again why? If he really is, just give me some concrete reasoning. Jon Heyman has some.

    Randolph has obvious advantages, such as his New York upbringing and sensibilities, his classy image and, most notably, his six World Series rings.

    That does not exactly put him at the top of my list.

  • Also from John Heyman's above article:

    The Mets have told Mike Piazza they intend to use him primarily as a catcher and have every intention to have him retire as a Met someday.

    Mets people have talked about trying to sign Richie Sexson or Troy Glaus for first base but have concerns because both missed most of 2004 with injuries. Sexson isn't likely to return to Arizona, and his hometown Mariners will pursue him. Glaus is still thought to prefer third base.

    Magglio Ordoñez remains an option. But he missed the last four months with a knee injury.

    What the Mets really need most is a doctor to make medical judgments.

    I'd love for the Mets to go after Sexson. I'd even forgot about adding another pitcher if they can bring in Ordonez and Sexson.

  • Roger Cedeno is happy with his life after the Mets.

    "It gets bad," Cedeño said in March. "Real bad. You get no support. It's hard for me because 90 percent of the reason I play is for the fans. You don't want your own fans to boo you."

  • Who wants a crazy rumor? According to the Daily Southtown, The Big Unit is atop White Sox GM Kenny Williams wish list.

    Sources have indicated that Williams made at least four calls to the Diamondbacks during the course of last season, offering different scenarios in an attempt to acquire Johnson. Even better news was that Johnson actually had the Sox on his original list of teams he would consider joining.

    Now that is nuts.

  • The Daily News speculates that Kevin Brown may want to finish his career back in Georgia. The Braves and Leo Mazzone would take him in exchange for a bag of balls and $10 million dollars thrown into the Braves pocket.

  • Floridatoday.com has some suggestions on fixing the Mets.

    1. Move phenom Jose Reyes from second base to shortstop.

    Um, that's done already.

    2. Work out the finances and bring Sammy Sosa to Shea Stadium.

    Are you crazy?

    3. Find someone to take aging lefties Tom Glavine and Al Leiter.

    Leiter will be a free agent since his option is not getting picked up. So half is done already.

    4. Sign Carlos Delgado.

    If it was for the right price and no more than 2 years, maybe. He'll be asking for too much for a 32/33 year old first baseman. A cheaper stopgap would be a better choice.

    5. Bring back Bobby Valentine.

    The Mets need to start over with a new manager and not try and regain the success in 1999 and 2000 by bringing Valentine back.

  • Steve Wilstein from ESPN did a piece on Curt Schilling yesterday. There was one thing that caught my attention about this particular article.

    Schilling, who led the majors with 21 victories this year at the age of 37, was well on his way to the Hall of Fame before he pitched on his bum ankle.

    I have all the respect for Schilling as a player and I think he has had some great years, but the Hall of Fame? I just do not think he is in that class for his entire career. Any thoughts?

  • Boston took game 1 of the World Series in what turned into a slugfest by outscoring the Red Birds 11 - 9. Neither starting pitcher made it into the fifth inning and with these two offensive heavyweights, it is not really a surprise that twenty runs were scored. Schilling takes the mound vs. Morris tonight to try and jump out to a commanding 2-0 lead. I think Schilling takes this game and the Cardinals head back home in a hole and the BoSox will win in five.