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

Friday, November 05, 2004

Backman Removed

The D-Backs are standing behind their newly hired manager. Wait, no they are not. Backman is not going to be the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Bob Melvin will be their next manager. The guy has a bad past, there is no doubt, but give the guy a second chance. He only had a one year contract and was low risk. If he acts up, show him the door. However, the D-Backs just thought there was too much and did not want to deal with him at all. Apparently his past had too many negative incidents.

A-Rod Slaps Balls

Get your very own A-Rod slaps balls t-shirt.

Memorialize the most embarrassing moment in Yankees history. Get your original "A-Rod Slaps Balls" t-shirt today.

In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the now classic Red Sox-Yankees 2004 ALCS, after Miguel Cairo’s double and Derek Jeter’s RBI single off Bronson Arroyo pulled the Yankees to 4-2, and with a trembling Red Sox Nation cursing the Bambino, Alex Rodriguez hit a ball between the mound and first. Arroyo picked it up and ran toward first, where just before the base the striding A-Rod slapped the ball away. Replays showed the 250 million dollar man slapping the ball like a little sissy.

Mike and the Mad Dog

I watched the Mike and the Mad Dog show on the Yes network yesterday because I wanted to get some info on Willie, watch the press conference, hear the interview with Omar Minaya, and hear the interview with Willie Randolph. It was tough to stay tuned in. Mike and the Mad Dog have half a brain combined together and are completely clueless. I usually stay away from them for that exact reason. They are unabated Met bashers and try to be as hard as possible on Omar Minaya and extremely critical of every Met move. They ask him nonsensical questions and make statements as if they actually know anything. Mad Dog was fixated on Bob Brenly for some reason and kept asking him why he was interviewed for the job despite reaching out to Minaya. Minaya tried to politely say that Brenly stunk, that's why. Dog was insistent that he should have been brought in because he won a World Series. Brenly got fired because he was not a good manager and it is not like he did not have Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to plow the D-Backs through the playoffs anyway to assist him in the World Series victory. I'm not saying he does not deserve any credit, but I do not regard him as an above average manager. Then both of these guys proceed to flip through magazines and open mail during the show. I'm not even sure they pay attention to or know what exactly they are saying. Such crap piles out of their mouth, then they get one idea in their head and run with it. Fancessa said the Mets should pursue Delgado and give him a four year, $48 million dollar contract, which is a figure that he has no chance in hell of reaching this off-season with lukewarm interest from around the league. He continued his man crush on him for several painful minutes. Mad Dog was also relentless in grilling Minaya and talking the entire show about Willie's pay. He's fist time manager with little experience and he wants to give him a three year, $3 million contract. That is nuts. It is unclear what Willie is actually making. Depending on what you read, the figures are a bit over $1.5 million up $2 million for three years. You know what? That is just fine. I do not buy the fact that since you are a manager in NY you automatically command a higher salary. Does a player deserve to make more whether he plays in Oakland or New York? New York may be able to afford and outbid them, but they are by no means due to receive more pay just because of their geographic location. The cost of living figures into our regular Joe salaries, but I'm pretty sure no ballplayer has to worry about the cost of living regardless of where they live. The Mets made an offer, he accepted it. Willie is OK with the figure and everyone else should too. He won't have any trouble buying a new car or some new clothes with his salary. If he wins, the money will be there for him. He'll get paid. Mike and the Mad Dog bad. Very, very bad.

* * *

  • "I'm one of them," Willie Randolph said yesterday, donning his royal blue Mets cap, wrapping himself in royal blue pinstripes. "I hope Mets fans understand that. I've come full circle. And to me, managing this team is the culmination of a lifelong dream."

    Willie earns some brownie points for me by taking his future wife on their first 'legitimate' date to a Mets game.

    So it begins, the Willie era. Hopefully it ends better than the Art Howe era did. I have to say Willie handled himself well in the press conference, WFAN interview, and the ESPN Radio interview. He sounded competent and confident. I can see how Minaya was impressed with him in the interview. Now we just have to hope he knows his stuff when it comes to actually managing.

  • Some info from the Post:

    GM Omar Minaya expects the Mets to be able to be players for the major free agents (Carlos Beltran?).

    Said Minaya, "At least we're going to try to be players with who I would consider the major free agents. I don't plan on saying no to anybody." Also, don't be surprised if the Mets make a run at Anaheim right fielder and trade bait Jose Guillen.

    Met hitting coach possibilities include Rick Down, Gary Denbo, Pete Incaviglia, Chili Davis and (albeit a long shot) Rudy Jaramillo. As for bench coach, Sandy Alomar Sr. and Terry Collins are in the mix, while Don Zimmer is a long shot.

    It will not take much to get Guillen I suppose since the Angels are not very high on him, but he should be the last resort for a big bat in the outfield. As for the coaching choices, they are certainly interesting. Pete Incaviglia?

    As for the other people on the staff, the Daily News suggests that Rafael Santana may be a suitable first base coach. They also pointed out that the Mets also spoke about incorporating personnel from their minor-league system, where the highest-regarded coaches appear to include Edgar Alfonzo, Dave Hollins, Howard Johnson and Ken Oberkfell.

  • In the not so fast department, Al Lieter wants to test the free agent market. I guess Al returning to the Mets is not as much of a slam dunk as once thought.

  • Scott Boras states that Carlos Beltran will be looking for 10 years and indicated that Beltran is interested in a few teams though he declined to name which ones.

  • ESPN Insider has the Mets, Yankees, White Sox, and the Red Sox as potential suitors for the righty.

  • The NY Times suggest that Javier Vazquez could be traded to the Texas Rangers for Alfonso Soriano. The Star Telegram says the rumors are just that and Soriano is likely to stay in Texas for the 2005 season.

  • Baseball America has all the free agents listed out and what class they fall into.

    Type A
    Moises Alou (ChC), Wilson Alvarez (LA), *Tony Batista (Mon), Carlos Beltran (Hou), Adrian Beltre (LA), Armando Benitez (Fla), Jeromy Burnitz (Col), Orlando Cabrera (Bos), Miguel Cairo (NYY), Vinny Castilla (Col), Royce Clayton (Col), *Roger Clemens (Hou), Rheal Cormier (Phi), Carlos Delgado (Tor), J.D. Drew (Atl), Cal Eldred (StL), Steve Finley (LA), Nomar Garciaparra (ChC), Mark Grudzielanek (ChC), Chris Hammond (Oak), Dustin Hermanson (SF), Richard Hidalgo (NYM), Jeff Kent (Hou), Steve Kline (StL), Corey Koskie (Min), *Al Leiter (NYM), Esteban Loaiza (NYY), Derek Lowe (Bos), Matt Mantei (Ari), Edgar Martinez (Sea), Pedro Martinez (Bos), Mike Matheny (StL), Kent Mercker (ChC), Dan Miceli (Hou), Damian Miller (Oak), Kevin Millwood (Phi), Matt Morris (StL), Jeff Nelson (Tex), Magglio Ordonez (CWS), Russ Ortiz (Atl), Carl Pavano (Fla), Troy Percival (Ana), Odalis Perez (LA), Placido Polanco (Phi), Brad Radke (Min), Joe Randa (KC), Edgar Renteria (StL), Richie Sexson (Ari), Paul Shuey (LA), *Ugueth Urbina (Det), Jason Varitek (Bos), Omar Vizquel (Cle), David Wells (SD), *Woody Williams (StL), Scott Williamson (Bos), Jaret Wright (Atl).

    Type B
    Terry Adams (Bos), Antonio Alfonseca (Atl), Roberto Alomar (CWS), Rich Aurilia (SD), Danny Bautista (Ari), Dave Burba (SF), Chris Carpenter (StL), Matt Clement (ChC), Craig Counsell (Mil), Deivi Cruz (SF), *Mike DeJean (NYM), Elmer Dessens (LA), Brook Fordyce (TB), Chad Fox (Fla), Alex Gonzalez (SD), Juan Gonzalez (KC), Cristian Guzman (Min), Jose Hernandez (LA), Orlando Hernandez (NYY), Todd Jones (Phi), Barry Larkin (Cin), Curtis Leskanic (Bos), Cory Lidle (Phi), *Jon Lieber (NYY), Jose Lima (LA), Tino Martinez (TB), Brent Mayne (LA), *Jose Mesa (Phi), Doug Mirabelli (Bos), Greg Myers (Tor), Hideo Nomo (LA), John Olerud (NYY), Antonio Osuna (SD), Todd Pratt (Phi), Steve Reed (Col), *B.J. Surhoff (Bal), Jose Valentin (CWS), Robin Ventura (LA), Ron Villone (Sea), Todd Walker (ChC), Gabe White (Cin), Dan Wilson (Sea), Paul Wilson (Cin), Esteban Yan (Det), Eric Young (Tex), Gregg Zaun (Tor).

    Type C
    Sandy Alomar Jr. (CWS), Carlos Baerga (Ari), Kris Benson (NYM), Henry Blanco (Min), Ricky Bottalico (NYM), Jermaine Dye (Oak), Shawn Estes (Col), Julio Franco (Atl), Troy Glaus (Ana), Todd Greene (Col), Ben Grieve (ChC), John Halama (TB), Roberto Hernandez (Phi), *Todd Hollandsworth (ChC), Travis Lee (NYY), Al Levine (Det), *John Mabry (StL), Ramon Martinez (ChC), Jim Mecir (Oak), Eric Milton (Phi), Mike Redmond (Fla), Desi Relaford (KC), Rudy Seanez (Fla), Aaron Sele (Ana), Ismael Valdez (Fla), Todd Van Poppel (Cin), Bob Wickman (CWS), Tony Womack (StL).

    As per Baseball America:

    For a Type A player, the compensation is the signing team's first-round pick plus a supplemental first-rounder. For a Type B, it's the signing team's first-round choice. For a Type C, it's a supplemental second-rounder. However, if the signing team picks in the upper half of the first round, that choice is protected and it loses its second-round selection instead. Also, Type C players who have been free agents in the past don't yield any compensation.

  • Does anyone else think they just give Greg Maddux the Gold Glove every year despite actually checking the stats? Tommy G. should have earned the Gold Glove.

  • Thursday, November 04, 2004

    Baseball Prospectus' Two Cents

    I missed Baseball Prospectus' Triple Play the other day that had the New York Mets. They had weighed in on the managerial situation:

    The Mets job looks like a dream scenario for Randolph, whose reputation in baseball is without blemish. It's shocking that he has had so few interviews, let alone job offers, over the past couple of years. The jury's out on whether standing down the third-base line as World Series are being won will make you a great manager, but the lack of attention paid to Randolph is puzzling. His hiring would be met with near-universal acclaim.

    So would Jaramillo's; in fact, the only complaint might be that Willie Randolph wasn't hired instead. He is known as a hitting guru (although the Rangers struggled offensively this year, but hush, let's not let contrary evidence get in the way of a good reputation) and players absolutely love him. More important to his chances with the Mets, he is close with Minaya, who trusts him.

    They also muse about the Mets first base situation and gave us this:

    Aubrey Huff (.297): He's not going to be a Devil Ray when they start contending, so Tampa might want to get something for him now. We'd suggest Scott Kazmir, but he's already been stolen.

    Low blow, low blow.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Willie Randolph, Manager of the NY Metropolitans

    Willie is the man. The NYPost thinks it's the Winning Move

    IT'S time the Mets stop acting like "idiots."

    It's time the Mets stop making believe they are some kind of small-market franchise, living in fear of the Yankees' giant shadow.

    That's why it's time for Willie Randolph to be their manager. The coronation is today. Finally, the Mets are serious about New York, serious about winning.

    Yes, hiring Willie is DEFINITELY a sign the Mets have stopped acting like "idiots". He's got Yankee winning tradition in him. They would only be serious about winning if they had a ex-Yankee in here as opposed to "Rudy Who?". The NYTimes suggested that Rudy fit the description of who they were looking for but was not high profile enough. I seriously hope the fact that he was not a household name did not factor into the decision and the best man won. If not, the Mets have not stopped acting like "idiots".

    "I'm looking for a manager who is going to be able to delegate to his staff. I'm looking for a manager who is going to interact with the community during the season and during the off season, a manager who wants to know what's going on in the minor leagues, who interacts with the farm director, who interacts with the Triple-A manager, who travels to the instructional league, who travels to winter leagues. And I'd like to say I'm looking for a guy at the end of the day who has leadership qualities."
    -Omar Minaya

    I'm all for Willie if is the right guy, but only time will tell on that. It is a shame that Rudy may not be with the organization at all to impart some much needed hitting advice for some of the developing young guys like Reyes and Diaz who definitley need to refine their approach to the plate.

    "I've got the best hitting job in the world. Man, why would I want to leave? I'm at home," Jamarillo said.

    The papers still think he may be pried away, but the Mets would have to blow him away to take him away from home. Besides, after being eschewed by Minaya for the spot he really wanted, would he come to the Mets? I'd have to say it would be unlikely unless they pay him manager money, and not new manager money that Willie got.

    In the end Willie, who was Assistant GM in 1993, third base coach 1994-2003, and bench coach in 2004, probably won because of his NY ties and the fact he lives in NY year round. Jaramillio could not offer that since his home is in Texas and will remain living there. Willie will become the 18th manager of the NY Mets and he becomes the first minority manager in New York. I'm glad the entire deal is done and the Mets can move on and start concentrating on player personnel. I'm not sure why they even bothered to bring everyone back since this seemed to be decided weeks ago. Randolph is due to make a bit more than $1.5 million over three years, which is what Jaramillo was offered to remain a hitting coach in Texas in terms of money per year. Are they really prepared to offer the hitting coach more than their newly hired manager? Rick Peterson is making more than the manager, but when he was hired, the manager was making over $2 million per year.

    UPDATE: I have no idea what Rick is getting paid. I thought I knew, but I have none. So pay no attention to the above about Rick.

    * * *

  • Here is a quote for you:

    "I think it's going to be a very aggressive marketplace," Boras says, "because clubs run the risk of not being competitive if they don't add a franchise player to their club.

    "And remember, the owners are making a fortune. They had $4.1 billion in revenues last year. There are going to be plenty of aggressive teams."

    Man, who doesn't hate this guy? As an owner aren't you entitled to make money? Besides, the picture is not as rosy as he paints it for these owners. Yes, they have money. They had enough to buy and entire ball club, they are obviously not worrying about having their rent money by the 1st of the month. However, in 2003 (I do not have 2004 information of yet, so there is no way to use the newest data) Major League baseball teams recorded $3,978,000,000 in revenue. Not bad huh? After all that money, there was a total reported loss of $56.03 million between all of the teams. The Red Sox accounted for $ 11.4 million in profit, the Mariners accounted for $17 million in profit, the Indians accounted for a $10.4 million dollar profit, the White Sox accounted for a $12.8 million dollar profit, the Reds accounted for a $11.7 million dollar profit, and the Athletics accounted for $11.2 million dollar profit. Those were the only teams to register over a $10 million dollar profit. Fifteen teams lost money and 14 teams made money, while one team broke even. The total average profit/loss for each major league team is -$1.9 million.

    Owners are doing their part and spending their money. I fully realize this is cat and mouse game between the owners and the agents/players to get the most they can out of the situation. But you cannot expect a business to keep being viable if there is a total average loss. Baseball is by no means in danger like hockey or Japanese baseball and it is largely profitable overall, but there is not much more wiggle room for players to squeeze out more money. The best you can ask for is the teams break even. You want the owners to put as much money into the team as they can without losing money. Overall, that is what is happening and as Scott puts it, most of the owners are not making a fortune from their teams. I'm sure they have hefty paychecks, but they are the owners. Do they not deserve something? It's hard to care about watching super millionaires and millionaires argue about money, but it is what it is.

    So who lost the most money in 2003? The Texas Rangers took home that prize with a loss of $28.5 million followed close by the New York Yankees with a loss of $26.3 million. As for the Mets, they finished with the third biggest loss of $19.3 million. However, their large loss is directly due to their poor gate receipts of $55 million. They only drew 2,140,599 that year and if they can start winning some games, they would make up for that easily. But don't feel so bad for the Wilpon's, that was also the year they were pushing $120,000,000 in payroll. Being that they drew more than 200,000 more people at the gates and they had $20,000,000+ less payroll, I think they did alright this year.

    In case you were wondering who the richest owner in baseball is, it is Carl Pohlad of the Minnesota Twins. His net worth is estimated at over $2 billion dollars.

  • The stars of the Major Leagues will travel to Japan for an eight game series against Japan’s best remaining players. Game one is Friday night with Roger Clemens taking on Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara in the Tokoyo Dome.

    The game to pay attention to is the second one when Seibu Lions 23-year old star Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch against some of the best the major leagues have to offer.

    While we are on the Daisuke topic, he is newly engaged. He is going to get married to a 29 year old Japanese sports reporter, who would not look to bad sitting next to Anna Benson at Shea.

  • Kintetsu Buffaloes infielder Norihiro Nakamura said Wednesday he will make his second attempt to move to the major leagues, this time through the posting system, which is how Daisuke Matsuzaka would have to come over to the Major Leagues.

    Nakamura, who walked away from a free-agent deal with the New York Mets in 2002, will become the fourth Japanese player to use the bidding system after Ichiro, Kazuhisa Ishii, and Akinori Otsuka.

    "I wanted to make a champion out of Kintetsu, but that is impossible now (with the merger with the Orix BlueWave). The deciding factor for me was the merger," said Nakamura, who must now wait for a bid from a major league club.

    Nakamura is a lifetime .267 hitter and will most likely not command too much interest. The Mets not getting him was one of the best things that could have happened. He would have been a colossal bust.

  • Speaking of bust, check out Barbara Bush and look closely:

    It must be really cold.

  • Cameron speaks, Mets.com listens. Mike Cameron lobbied for John Olerud and Carlos Beltran and John Olerud is keeping his options open.

    "I'm open to the possibility, that's for sure. I don't want to get into a situation 'if this happens or if that happens,' but I'm definitely open to it."

    The most curious part of the article was this:

    Don't be surprised if Troy Glaus' name finds its way into the first base mix at some point either. The former Anaheim Angels slugger is healthy and, though his primary goal is to play third base, MLB.com has confirmed there is legitimate interest in Glaus in the Big Apple. Since the Mets and Yanks both have third basemen, the only spot for Glaus would be at first. If the situation were right and all third base options were exhausted, Glaus would be open to playing first.

  • There was a grenade found at Wrigley Field and it was empty and harmless. The police spokesman made a classic quote:

    "It's a dud, just like the Cubs were," police spokesman Pat Camden said Wednesday.

    I'm guessing Pat should not be expecting any free tickets from the Tribune Company anytime soon.

  • The Giants excercised JT Snow's $2 million option. So if he the Mets get him, it will have to be via trade which seems unlikely at this point.

  • Someone should send the terrorist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front a message that they should consider changing their name. They are referred to as MILF for short and if they want to be taken seriously in the US, they better be able to be referred to without a couple people getting a good laugh every time someone says their acronym.

  • Although there was some speculation that Ryan Dempster would be given the closer's job in Chicago, they may pursue Troy Percival. The Cubs also would like to try and bring back Nomar with a one year contract, but the article suggests that he may be willing to play 2nd base for the Yankees, although longtime friend Lou Merloni doubts a position change will happen.

    "I thought that was pretty funny, he's not going to be changing any positions," Merloni said.

  • Carl Pavano was offered a three year $21 million offer from the Marlins. That does not look like it will get it done since he can fetch up to three million more per year elsewhere. The Marlins are going to have to up their offer if they want him to return.

    "Carl is still intent on testing the market. He owes it to himself," said agent Scott Shapiro.

  • The White Sox are looking at Carlos Beltran and Omar Vizquel. If they are going to bring Beltran in, they will most likely have to move either Paul Konerko or Carlos Lee, if not both.

  • The Post suggests that the Yankees may try to get Rudy Jaramillo. Of course! The Yankees are getting Beltran, Johnson, Pavano, Garciaparra, Martinez, and now Jaramillo. If he is coming to NY at all, it will be with his good friend Omar.

  • Rotation 2005

    Now that is looks like the rotation is set unless something drastic and highly unlikely happens like Trachsel being trade, Leiter not be resigned after all, Zambrano getting surgery and being out for 2005, Benson walking away to free agency, or Glavine being traded.

    I know this is already painfully obvious to people, but I feel the need to painfully point it out again since the Mets are just not making a sound decision here with the rotation.

    Steve Trachsel
    Pre All-Star:
    ERA 3.38 / 9-3 / 112.2 innings / 102 hits / 42 bb / 61 k's / .245 BAA
    Post All-Star:
    ERA 4.80 / 3-7 / 90 innings / 101 hits / 41 bb / 56 k's / .283 BAA

    Ummm, not a good trend.

    Al Leiter
    Pre All-Star:
    ERA 2.40 / 5-3 / 86.1 innings / 57 hits / 46 bb / 51 k's / .186 BAA
    Post All-Star:
    ERA 4.02 / 5-5 / 87.1 innings / 81 hits / 51 bb / 66 k's / .249 BAA

    Tom Glavine
    Pre All-Star:
    ERA 2.66 / 7-7 / 128.2 innings / 107 hits / 33 bb / 66 k's / .222 BAA
    Post All-Star:
    ERA 5.06 / 4-7 / 83.2 innings / 97 hits / 37 bb / 43 k's / .294 BAA

    Kris Benson actually got better after the all star break despite getting a tired arm and lowered his ERA by 0.23, lowered his BAA against by .034 points, raised his k/9, and lowered is bb/9. I think everyone agrees that Zambrano has a ton of upside and the few Mets games he pitched as a Met really showed some promise, but he gets in incomomplete for the 2nd half. How Minaya can come back with the same rotation in 2005 is beyond me. Changes needed to be made.

    The Mets are not a championship caliber team in 2005, and in 2006 Trachsel and Leiter will most assuredly not be around when the team could conceivably make a run at the Wild Card or the division if Omar plays his cards right. The resources are there, now we just need a little bit of intelligence. If 2005 is really going to be a stepping stone year, and the Mets choose not to chase a high priced free agent, then let Heilman get a sink or swim chance in the five spot of the rotation. Glavine will be 39 for the 2005 season, Leiter will be 39 for the 2005 season, and Trachsel will be 34. The Mets had an ideal situation and ability to get younger in the rotation but are seemingly choosing to bring back Al Leiter so he can transition into being an announcer in 2006 instead of getting younger via free agency or taking a look at some guys within. Something has to give and the Mets need to figure out how to get younger. This move also may necessitate the Mets carrying seven relievers again and weakening their bench by taking one of their head count away again. This decision affects the entire team. Look, if Al is being required to be a fifth starter, I'll put him up against any other fifth on any other team and he'll win, but the rotation could get better and the team could be better. $4 million dollar bargain or not, the Mets could afford to bring in one of the better pitchers this off season and despite the follies over the past years, they are New York team and a lot of selling points.

    1) They are big market team with the ability to add payroll.
    2) Despite Dolan's petty attempt at a law suit, the Mets will have their own network and greater revenue in 2006.
    3) Jose Reyes, David Wright, Kaz Matsui, Mike Cameron, Kris Benson, Tom Glavine, and Victor Zambrano will all be here for at least two more years, with some good prospects still on the horizon and flexibility to add some top free agents.
    4) A chance to work with Rick Peterson. Whether you believe he is actually good or not, he has a reputation around the league. He intrigues pitchers and is part of the reason Kris Benson wanted to be a Met in the first place.
    5) An intelligent plan (hopefully anyway). Omar should be able to lay out a path to success with a good nucleus in place above and how the addition of few more pieces this year can help steer the Mets in the right direction and back towards being a respectable franchise for a number of years.

    Unless the Mets are thinking of trading for one of the big three in Oak-town, this is the year to make a move. You have to try and get younger and get someone that can help you 3 or 4 years down the line. Maybe they are just thinking they can bridge Leiter and Trachsel to Soler, Petit, or Humber, but I doubt it. I see the Mets squandering this opportunity to strengthen their rotation for the next few years.

    * * *

  • Where to start with so much news? Sexson's agent says Richie is interested in talking to the Mets and Cameron said he'll move if the Mets can sign Beltran. An outfield of Beltran, Cameron, and Diaz with an infield of Wright, Reyes, Matsui, Sexson, and Piazza? I can dream right?

    "That's what I'm willing to do," he said. "I'm willing to take that risk, moving to right field, having a chance to win and see what it's like to win in New York and see if we can get this thing turned around."

    There is no doubt that Cammy is great team player and one of the rare free agent signings that have worked for the Mets in recent years, but the chances of him having to move are remote.

    As for Sexson, the chances of him coming here are more realisitc.

    "Richie's not intimidated by going to any city and the Mets definitely are a team he'd be a good fit for," Close said. "He's 100% physically, and he's looking to build on his accomplishments. When he's been healthy, you could pencil him in for 40 (homers) and 120 (RBI). I'm sure a lot of teams could find a place for that kind of production in the middle of their lineup."

    I'm not worried about Richie being able to hit them out at Shea. If anyone can do 40 in the spacious Queens park it's him. He is like Hidalgo in the respect that when he hits them, he HITS them. They are no-doubters. But unlike Hidalgo he exhibits some more stability in his offensive output.

  • Read this, and tell me who sounds the best out of the bunch?

    Also, why are the Mets bringing back Collins? Maybe they are looking at him for the bench coach spot. Maybe a Randolph, Jaramillo, Collins, and Peterson staff is what they have in mind and let Willie pick his 1st and 3b coach.

  • From the NYPost:

    An agent who does not represent Boston free agent shortstop Orlando Cabrera got the impression from talking to a Met official that Minaya would like to reunite with his former Expo player. Obviously for the Mets to pursue Cabrera, they would have to move Jose Reyes or Kaz Matsui . . . Minaya said RHP Victor Zambrano will not need elbow surgery.

    What? Please do not move Reyes to open up room for Cabrera. I'm not even too interested in moving Kaz for Cabrera. Not only does he get older, but more expensive. Use the extra money elsewhere please!!! No Sammy and no Orlando. Unless Kaz is getting traded for some young stud pitching, no move makes sense.

  • Jeter winning the Gold Glove? Now I've heard it all. He finished 4th in fielding %, 6th in zone rating, 8th in assists, 5th in double plays, 8th in range factor, 4th in terms of least errors, and first in put outs. Hmmm.....

  • BA had the National League East Draft report card and here are the highlights:

    Best Pro Debut: RHP Gaby Hernandez (3) was named the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League's top pitching prospect and won the ERA title, going 4-3, 1.03 with a 64-12 K-BB ratio in 53 innings. SS Sean Henry (20) made the GCL all-star team after hitting .282-4-30 with 10 steals. RHP Michael Devaney (23) used a three-pitch mix to go 5-0, 1.95 at short-season Brooklyn.

    Best Athlete: OF Brahiam Maldonado (10)

    Best Pure Hitter: 1B Mike Carp (9)

    Best Raw Power: OF Caleb Stewart (22)

    Best Defensive Player: C Aaron Hathaway (4)

    Best Fastball: The Mets still expect to sign RHP Philip Humber (1), the third overall pick, but it might not happen until spring training. He hit 97 mph while at Rice, a tick ahead of RHP Matt Durkin (2). Hernandez has the best command of his fastball, and he already touches 94 mph with sinking, riding action at age 18.

    Best Breaking Ball: New York ranked Humber's 12-to-6 curveball as the best breaking pitch in the entire draft. Among the players already under contract, RHP Scott Hyde (7) has a hard slider.

    Closest To The Majors: Once he signs, Humber may not need much more than a year before he's ready to help the Mets.

    The One Who Got Away: RHP Brad Meyers (14)

    Assessment: After trading their two most advanced pitching prospects in ill-advised midseason deals, the Mets at least can take solace in adding Humber, Durkin and Hernandez. The pitchers in this crop are much more impressive than the position players.

  • Looks like some other teams besides the Mets have been drinking their stupid juice. Both the Rockies and Marlins are potentially interested in acquiring Sammy Sosa.

    Speaking of Sosa, if you want to throw up, read this article.

  • The Mets have made it clear to the Angels that they would be interested in taking Jose Guillen off their hands.

  • Carlos Delgado is apparently interested in playing in Baltimore so he can have some glorious numbers. Who cares about winning right?

    "Baltimore, we are most significantly interested in," said agent David Sloane, who represents Delgado. "It's a great place to hit. Hitting in that batting order is very interesting to us."

    The Mets need to stay far away from this guy.

  • Looks like Bowa is going to be the bench coach of the Marlins.

  • Looks like Everyday Eddie will be the closer of the Mariners in 2005.

  • Tuesday, November 02, 2004

    A Few Players To Keep An Eye On

    The Mets have some needs to address in 2005 and outside of the available free agents, there are a few guys of note that may become available for the Mets to acquire.

    Octavio Dotel
    Octavio Dotel is a nasty pitcher that sports a mid to high 90’s fastball with a lot of life. He is a dominating pitcher at times and excelled in the set up role for Houston in 2001, 2002, and 2003 setting up for Billy Wagner. When he got his promotion to full time closer in 2004, he was a bit of a let down and was not quite as dominant. His hits, BBs, and homeruns allowed were all up and his ERA was over a full run higher than it was in the previous three years. His K/9 was still spectacular striking out 12.87 batters per nine innings and has averaged over 10 K/9 in every year except his 1999 rookie season with the Mets. He is due to receive a substantial pay raise over his $2,800,000 salary in 2004 and the money conscious Athletics will most likely feel inclined to move him or release him all together. He did not perform as well as they hoped he would by blowing six saves in twenty-eight tries while posting a 4.09 ERA. With the emergence of Huston Street and Jairo Garcia, Octavio is a player that does not appear to be fitting into their plans next year for the always money conscious A's. I just do not think that Beane will have trouble finding a taker for him, but his price tag and his struggles as a closer may make him less attractive to many teams that would like him to set up. He would look great as a set up man for Looper and be a huge step to making the Mets bullpen 100% more effective in 2005.

    JT Snow
    Outside of the one time rumbling of the Mets looking into Richie Sexson for 2005, there are not many real obvious choices for the Mets and their first base situation. I’m not sold that Cliffy would not be a decent choice for this position, but the Mets have an apparent desire to get a first baseman who would not be a liability at first. Cliff has not played first since his rookie year in Montreal and would obviously have some rust. JT has an option for 2005 that is worth $2 million dollars that would have been guaranteed with a 450 PA. However, since he did not meet that criteria, the Giants have to wonder how much they want him. He is still a bargain, but was used as a platoon player for the Giants and only registered 47 at-bats vs. lefties. For a platoon player, San Francisco may deem his contract too much for a platoon player and they may choose to pursue a guy who can exclusively be their first baseman. While Snow did not hit well against lefties, he still hit .255 against them which is not the worst in the world and had hit .338 against righties in 2004. JT brings the obvious stellar glove to first base and that is what the Mets are looking for at first base. He has never had a fielding % below .993 and is as solid as they come at first. If the Giants choose to pass on him, then the Mets should at least consider him for a one or two year stopgap. Even if they exercise the option, the Mets should explore a trade if nothing else presents itself.

    Doug Mienkwo203jldjlfaouo9er24niner
    Doug would be a player of the same mold as JT Snow being a solid fielder. He is six years young than Snow and may become available via trade this winter. Doug is also a bit more expensive than JT Snow at $ 3.75 million in 2005. That will be presumably too much money to pay a backup guy when you also have two first baseman on the roster already. The Red Sox should ideally look to dump Doug and acquire a much cheaper defensive replacement if they even want one anymore. Doug’s bat has been streaky over the years, but if he can put up .260-.270 with 10 homeruns while playing a gold glove first, he’ll be just fine in the 8th spot of the order. He should not cost much being that he has made it clear that he does not like his role as a backup and his lousy batting performance will surely not drive his price up. He may be a perfect fit for the Mets if they fail or choose not to land a Sexson type player to anchor the young infield.

    Jose Guillen
    The Angels had a payroll of $112 million this year they will be looking to shed some money to get below the $100 million dollar mark. They will be losing $16.5 million just by not trying to retain Troy Percival or Troy Glaus, but whether or not they will try to retain Glaus is up in the air. They have Dallas MacPherson ready to step in at 3b and Kasey Kotchman ready for 1b. They still need to strengthen their rotation and they still need to sign Jared Weaver. They still have Garett Anderson and Vlad Guerrero in the outfield as well as Jeff DaVannon and Chone Figgins that can play the outfield. Also, it is well documented that Guillen and the Scoscia have some issues that came to a climax when Guillen was suspended with the Angels in the playoff hunt at end of the season. More than the $3.5 million he is due in 2004 with the $300,000 buyout for a $4 million option in 2005, they may want to ditch him for team cohesiveness reasons and throw his offensive contribution to the side.

    The thing that gets me about Guillen is the fact that he played for the A's during their playoff run in 2003 injured. He broke his hand on Sept. 14th and played with the A's until their loss to the Red Sox in the playoffs. He is definitely an enigma and a tough call if he is available.

    Manny Ramirez
    Boston had the second highest payroll in 2004 behind the Yankees who were light years ahead of them. The Red Sox payroll was at about $130,000,000 and figure on them pairing it down to about $110,000,000. Giving up Manny would give them wiggle room to deal with all of their upcoming free agents and player with options. All 18 of them.

    x-team option
    Terry Adams, rhp; Mark Bellhorn, 2b; Ellis Burks, dh; Orlando Cabrera, ss; x-Alan Embree, lhp; Ricky Gutierrez, 2b; Gabe Kapler, of; Curtis Leskanic, rhp; Derek Lowe, rhp; Pedro Martinez, rhp; Ramiro Mendoza, rhp; Doug Mirabelli, c; x-Bill Mueller, 3b; Mike Myers, lhp; Pokey Reese, 2b; x-Mike Timlin, rhp; Jason Varitek, c; Scott Williamson, rhp.

    There are obviously a lot of guys that they are letting walk away, but the Red Sox need to sign two starters (Pedro may be one of them) and give Varitek a raise. They could conceivably move Ramirez via trade and eat some of his salary which is much more realistic than a team picking up the approximate $80,000,000 he is due over the next four seasons. Moving Manny would allow them to make a bid for Carlos Beltran which I'm sure they would be interested in doing. However, after the World Series MVP, I just cannot see them letting Manny hit the road and I think this one is long shot.

    Carlos Lee
    Why the White Sox have rumors floating around that they would like to move Carlos Lee is beyond me. I know they are looking to keep their payroll around $65 million and they are looking to make some big additions. Kenny Williams floated around the idea of acquiring Randy Johnson. Lee, who is due to make $8 million next year and would certainly help create some room for a large acquisition, but he may also be needed in the centerpiece of the deal. The White Sox have depth in their outfield in their minors which factors heavily into Lee being available, and maybe they think his back to back 31 homerun seasons and his 212 RBIs in two years put him at the height of his worth and need to maximize their return before they cannot afford him and let him walk after 2005 or he falls off in production. Outside of his first year, he’s knocked at least 24 homeruns per year and at 28 years old, if he is available, the Mets need to keep an eye out. Although, after Williams accused Jim Duquette of tampering with him making comments about Magglio Ordonez during the season, who knows if Williams has a desire to deal with the Mets.

    Adrian Gonzalez
    If you were going to trade Scott Kazmir, it would have been nice to try and use him to get Mark Texiera from Texas, but that ship has sailed. But now the Rangers are stuck with a young first baseman in Texeira who has a major league contract and pounded 38 homeruns in 2004. Adrian Gonzalez has not much more to prove in AAA and the Rangers need to figure out what to do with him. They need pitching and could decide to move him due to concerns about his lack of power in 2004 in a power position at 1b. He can field with the best of them and would be a welcome addition to the Mets being a sweet swinging and sweet fielding left handed first baseman on the right side of 23. The power will come back to him, but he is only two years removed from a serious wrist injury.

    Aubrey Huff
    Owner Vincent Namoli had the lowest payroll out of any major league team registering a bit about $33 million. Aubrey Huff is due to get a raise in 2005 to $4.5 million and a raise again in 2006 to $7.5 million. Huff hit 23 homers in 113 games in 2002, 34 homeruns in 162 games in 2003, and 29 homeruns in 2004 in 157 games. He has a .295 career batting average and has been the Devil Rays best hitter over the years. Why would he be available? Well it is a long shot, but when you are a tightwad like Namoli, anything is possible although very unlikely Huff will be going anywhere. Besides, Upton may not be a fit for short and may have to shift to third base, where Huff played most of his games in 2004. The D-Rays are also tossing around bringing back Tino or bringing in Carlos Delgado if they can be had for a bargain. The way I look at it, they still owe us for Kazmir anyway.

    Alfonso Soriano
    With Alfonso due to make near $10 million in arbitration this off season, the Rangers may choose to move the overvalued second baseman. He still boots a lot balls, though not as many as Kaz, and had a bit of trouble hitting when he was not in Arlington could be moved for pitching. Pitching is a glaring hole for Texas they would like to fill with some young, cheap, and capable arms.

    Paul Konerko
    For the same reason that Carlos Lee is available, Paul Konerko is available. Konerko is due nearly $9 million in 2005 and did nothing to hurt his trade value by knocking 41 homeruns last season. With Frank Thomas returning next year and being un-movable, Konerko may be their best shot at freeing up the payroll they need to make the necessary additions to the White Sox.

    Hee Seop Choi
    Although Paul DePodesta said that the Dodgers have not given up on Choi after a disappointing stint with the Dodgers next year, anything is possible. The power hitting lefty first baseman has problems hitting lefties and two teams already passed on him in the Cubs and Marlins. If the Dodgers bring back Finley and choose to use Werth in the outfield as a cheap and capable player to give them payroll flexibility, they may use Choi to fill some other needs on the team like catcher. They failed to convince Charles Johnson to come over and they traded their top prospect Koyie Hill to land Finley. Outside of Jason Varitek, defensive oriented catchers Damian Miller and Mike Matheny are available, but I would assume Matheny will stay with the Cardinals. Choi still has value and may be able to net them something decent in return.

    Shawn Green
    The Dodgers would love to move Shawn Green and some of that monstrous $16 million he is due in 2005 so they can try and bring back Perez, Beltre, Finely, and Bradley as well as freeing up room for Werth or Choi. The Dodgers are also going to need to pursue a catcher as well and ESPN had floated the idea that the Dodgers may be interest in Jason Varitek’s service. If they are going to make those types of investments, they need some payroll relief.

    Jay Gibbons
    After having two solid years in 2002 and 2003, Gibbons struggled in 2004. With the Orioles looking to add a first baseman and another outfielder, both of whom are going to be big names, Jay may become available. He made $3,000,000 in 2004 and is probably due a raise in 2005. Gibbons may be moved for some pitching help and to free up some payroll. Gibbons can play first and right field and would sure be in intriguing pick up. Camden Yards is definitely a left handed hitters park, and Shea may very well eat him alive, but is worth a look.

    Ben Broussard/Josh Phelps
    With Travis Hafner at DH/1B and Michael Aubry at 1B on the horizon, someone may be moved to fill some holes. Ben Broussard and Josh Phelps are both 1B/DHs that are young and inexpensive. Phelps would seemingly have more upside and more desirable to keep, but that may be the exact reason he may be the one dealt. One of these guys could be on the block since.

    Preston Wilson
    Preston is available like he is every year. The Rockies would love to move him again and with one year left on the contract and the Rockies happy to eat money on unwanted contracts, he may be someone that a team takes a chance on. It should not take much to get him but he had in injury riddled 2003 and is not really a dependable option.

    Todd Helton
    Todd is sick of losing and his mammoth contract is going to tie up the Rockies payroll until 2011. Helton is, and will continue to take up 20+ % of their payroll and despite Dan O’Dowd not being public about it, he would love to free up Todd’s contract from the books. Although if he was not in Coors, he would not be the monster that he has been in his career, but he would still be a solid hitter. The Rockies would have to pick up a lot of salary to make this one work, but they got rid of Hampton and Walker, and only Helton remains in Colorado with no hope of winning anything ever in that city.

    Eric Hinske
    After a big rookie year, the Blue Jays inked Hinske to deal that gives him $3 m in 2005, $4.33 m in 2006, and $5.63 m in 2007. He has not lived up to the standard he set his rookie season, but still has some value. He may not cost too much due to the fact the Blue Jays just want to rid themselves of his salary. They already solicited the Reds since they need a third baseman, but Hinske may be able to be moved to first base or a possible C/IF backup if all else fails and provide some pop off the bench if he fails.

    Javier Vazquez
    Although the team insists that they have not given up on him, we all know it is whether Steinbrenner wants him back or not. He may be used to try and lure the D-Backs to surrender Randy Johnson or maybe could be used to pry a veteran lefty from the Mets that would fit the criteria of a playoff tested and seasoned veteran left handed starting pitcher. Although a trade is unlikely, it warrants some attention by Omar Minaya to see if the Yankees have seen enough.

    Eddie Guardado
    Eddie has a mutual opt-out in 2005 and 2006; club options for $6m in 2005 and $7m in 2006; $1m bonus for 60 GF in 2004 and closer role in 2005 & 2006. So needless to say, the Mariners wanted no part of this and declined his option. I was making this list up last night, before Guardado’s news broke, so I just left him here despite the fact he is a free agent. Everyday Eddie is tempting, really tempting as he would go a long way to lock down the bullpen. I think he’ll be looking for a closer job, but may be persuaded for the right price to set up in 2005 with the offer to win the job in 2006 and 2007.

    One of the Big Three
    Billy Beane is set to deal one of the Big Three before the season starts. Billy wants some payroll flexibility to bring in a big right handed bat to offset their lefty oriented lineup. At this point they would not mind bringing Dye back. They also have Joe Blanton ready to step into the rotation and Rich Harden to supplant whomever Beane wants to deal in the Big Three. Beane would love to be able to deal Mark Redman, but he is not the most desirable starter in their rotation. Beane’s favorite is Tim Hudson and he would love to sign him beyond 2005, but he is not willing to let him walk away like he did Tejada and Giambi while getting nothing in return if he cannot get him to sign and extension. They will not be cheap which is why the Mets may not be the best trading partner.

    Shawn Chacon
    Shawn Chacon is on the trading block after he was moved unsuccessfully to the closer’s role. He can be used out of the pen or in the rotation and is still going to be relatively cheap after this year’s arbitration hearing. Dan O’Dowd has stated this is not a salary dump and he will be looking for some talent in return. Though he has some upside, one has to wonder how much someone will part with for a guy who’s ERA was approaching 7.00 last season.

    * * *

  • Leyland thinks Omar was calling him, Omar thinks that Jim was calling him, sounds like this one is not happening. A bit fishy to me and after that little bit of confusion, it just does not seem that he is being treated as a legitimate candidate. Maybe they thought the Phillies job was a slam dunk, but man.

  • Posada for Johnson? Posada is way overrated. He bats in the .260 range hits 20 homers and is not great or even average on defense. He has a low CS% and lets balls fly by him like it's his job. Although the D-Backs asked for him last year, they traded for Koyie Hill and plan to use him as the catcher of the future.

    The article also says the Yanks could possibly use Posada to get Hudson if Johnson falls through. I cannot see this happening and I cannot see Billy Beane being interested in taking on MORE payroll to dump Hudson's $6 M. Posada is due $17 M over the next two seasons with a $4 M buyout after the 2006 season. The Yankees would have to pick up almost all of this to make sense. He will have even less numbers hitting in Oak-town and will not have as many stars surrounding him in the lineup. Posada is not worth much outside of Yankee Stadium. Figure on .250, 15 homers from him in Oak-town. Billy is smarter than this.

  • The Orioles and Phillies are going to try and get into the Beltran sweepstakes.

  • The D-Backs are going to try and convince Randy Johnson to finish his career as in Arizona. But first they are going to have to make sure Sexson comes back and to do that they may need to add one more big free agent to make Richie happy. They are willing to add payroll if they need to do it to make it happen.

  • Some more Daisuke Matsuzaka info for those of you who want it. He is not a free agent, but has been rumored to have a desire to come to the major leagues. Basically his current team would need to post him like Kaz Ishii was a few years ago. Then a team has to pay for the right to negotiate with him. I guess the real question is whether his team would be willing to ditch him after they just won the Japanese World Series. But if he does get posted, the Mets still need to look into him.

  • Kendry Morales? What is going on with the 21-year old Morales? Mum has been the word and his agent repeatedly said, "We hope to have a deal in play by the end of the week"..."then end of the month"...etc. If the Mets stepped up to the plate and made an offer, the young switch hitter with tremendous power would be theirs. Two years ago in the Cuban League, his last full season, Morales hit for a .324 average and set rookie records with 114 hits, 21 home runs and 82 RBI. Make a move, please so I can stop writing about it.

  • Monday, November 01, 2004

    Matt Clement Should Be On Met's Radar

    Matt Clement may not be a household name, but he has some great stuff and a live arm. In the right situation in the right town he could be a big name and an all-star. In 2004, Matt averaged a little over six innings per start and logged 181 innings in 30 starts. Clement had a K/9 of 9.45, a WHIP of 1.28 and a BAA of .229 which is great for a guy who pitches in a hitter's park half the time and in a division with Minute Maid Park and the offensive power-house Cardinals. Early in his career he had a bit of an attitude problem and did not have a grasp of how to pitch or control his pitches. He always had good stuff, but was posting some pretty astronomical ERAs during his first four seasons. He has since figured it out and possesses a lively mid-90's fastball with some movement as well as three other pitches. Most importantly for the jinxed Mets he has had a very injury free career thus far.

    I know some people are skeptical about Clement being he is 30 years old right now and will be 31 next season, but the fact is that he has not logged many major league innings. He only has 1156.1 major league innings and has plenty of more miles on that arm of his. He is also going to presumably be a good value for any team that inks him. For better or for worse, people are in love with wins and losses when it comes to pitchers. Unfortunately for Matt, he was 9-13 due to piss poor run support from the Cubbies. Only Randy Johnson, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, Ben Sheets and Odalis Perez received less run support than Clement in the NL. When you look at the entire Major Leagues, Clement's 4.03 runs would be good for the ninth least runs a game in support for a starting pitcher. When it comes to contract time, those nine wins will mostly have a negative effect on his price tag. He could be a bargain for a such a talented arm. While speaking about being a bargain, Matt also should be a guy that would not cost any compensation draft picks since the Cubs are not likely to offer him arbitration. The Cubbies already have Prior, Zambrano (the real one), Maddux, and Wood on contract for 2005 with some lofty aspirations to land Beltran. The Cubbies will be looking to move a cheaper guy like Glendon Rusch, who performed admirably this past season, Ryan Dempster, Sergio Mitre, Angel Guzman, or some other prospect into the fifth spot instead of inking Clement for $6 to $7 million per year. I also like the fact that Matt has the ability to get both lefties and righties out. Over the past three years, Matt has held righties to a paltry .215 average in 1,146 at bats and lefties to a Jason Giambi-like .233 average in 1,026 at bats. This guy can flat out throw the ball.

    The Mets were supposed to have picked up two guys this past trading deadline that threw in the mid 90's, but when they showed up, one guy had a tired arm and was sitting at 91/92 mph and the other topped out at 92 and headed to the DL. Even when those guys were throwing that hard, they were not strikeout pitchers. It is time the Mets got a strikeout pitcher so they can stop having their defense exploited. The Mets need a pitcher who can pick up his teammates by striking people out. Although some people would rather see the fifth spot in the rotation be awarded to Aaron Heilman or Ginter, I think Clement is going to be too big of a bargain to pass up with such a arm. Like Zambrano, I think Clement has the ability to be the Mets #1 starter. A little work with professor Rick could do wonders with him. Unlike Victor Zambrano, who can be fixed in 10 minutes, Matt does not need a lot more work. He is already successful and has shown flashes of being dominating. The numbers he could post at spacious Shea could send him to the top of the crop in terms of Major League pitchers. It just makes sense on a financial level and fits in with the idea that the Mets need to re-stock their farm system by trying not to lose draft picks via free agent signings. With Pavano garnering most of the attention and most likely headed to Boston if he even leaves the Marlins, which is sounding more unlikely by the day, and bigger names like Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe out there, the Mets just may find themselves in a war with a team like Cleveland, whom is the only team being vocal about an interest in Clement, vying for his services. I like those odds and I like the idea of Matt Clement at Shea. Whomever gets Clement is going to get a steal.

    * * *

  • At this point though, with the Mets seemingly a lock to bring back Al Leiter for the 2005 season, it looks like an extremely distant possibility the Mets will take advantage of some of the available pitchers this year. Intent on letting Leiter retire a Mets, he will get one more year at Shea. This is a problem for me and it is tough because I do like Al Leiter. At 39 years old, he is just not as reliable as they Mets would need him to be. He walked 97 batters while striking about 117 for a horrendous K/BB ratio of 1.21. With him being a year older it does not figure to get any better. If the Mets were smart, they'd figure out how to get younger in the rotation. Whether that is by moving Trachsel or by just walking away from Leiter, it has to be done. Both cannot be in the rotation next season. Shit, I'd even say let Benson walk in favor of Clement whom I believe is much better. I just do not see the Mets making the right move when it comes to the rotation. If they are going to go on the cheap by bringing back Leiter for $4M, they better spend to improve the lineup with a big bat and get someone at first base that resembles an actual first baseman. That is something the Mets have been missing since the days of John Olerud.

  • Some great news from the NYPost:

    The Mets have expressed some early interest in free agent shortstop Chris Woodward, who hit .235 with one homer and 24 RBIs for Toronto this year and could be valuable in a reserve role.

    Don't be surprised also if the Mets look at Marlins free agent reliever Billy Koch. The hard-thrower enjoyed his best season with the A's in 2002 under pitching coach Rick Peterson's tutelage and could be a possible set-up man candidate.

    Chris Woodward? As far as I'm concerned Danny Garcia would do just as good a job if not better. Pointless move, although not that big of a deal. As for Kotch, I'd rather stay away from him. However, if he is going to be a cheap, low risk move, and it is a low enough salary the Mets would eat, then with a lack of bullpen options available in the free agent market this off-season it is not the worst thing.

  • From the Daily News:

    The Mets will have rotation insurance with Cuban defector Alay Soler, who impressed Tuesday in his Dominican Winter League debut, allowing one hit and striking out 10 in five innings for Leones del Escogido, including fanning the first six batters he faced.

    Maybe the Mets still can get their big three with Soler, Humber, and Petit?

  • Wally Backman is the new D-Back manager.

  • Troy Glaus is apparently uninterested in moving from 3rd base to 1st base. The Angles have also decided to let him walk and he would certainly be intriguing for a few reasons. If Beltre is too expensive for the Dodgers, they could go with the slightly less expensive and still young and talented Troy Glaus. As far as Beltre goes, who is on the market for an expensive 3rd baseman like him? Outside of the Dodgers, I'm not too sure there really are many teams that could afford him. The Mets should at least glance at both of these players and gauge their interested on moving to first base.

  • Joel Sherman attempts to scare the pants off Mets fans with this bit of info:

    Like how about Pedro Martinez in Flushing? An AL executive who speaks with Mets GM Omar Minaya said, "I bet they'll try. But if you were Pedro, why would you go to a bad club like the Mets?" Good point. But an NL GM said Martinez is going to have difficulty finding a three-year market at more than $30 million. If the Mets really are in go-for-it mode (which I personally think they should avoid), then would you rather spend $21 million over three years on Kris Benson or be the high bidder for Pedro?


    Like how about Shawn Green as a Met? The Dodgers want out of his contract and an NL GM said Green has grown disenchanted in L.A. The AL executive who confers with Minaya said the Met GM is determined to "make a splash," which is why you are hearing Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa. If those fall through, watch for Green.

    Joel Sherman suggests that the Mets may be taking a look at Pedro. Are they really that desperate to make a splash? This seems to be more of Omar's "outside of the box" thinking. Just think about a lineup of with Sosa and Martinez. Two expensive stars past their primes who are extreme primadonnas. What a cohesive group they would make the clubhouse.

  • Putting Kleenex and Baby Ruth's on the man's grave? Nothing is sacred anymore. Taunting and overweight guy with candy bars.

    "The Boston Red Sox are the greatest team in the history of baseball. Now, we're going to dominate the league."
    -Orlando Cabrera

    Easy Orlando, You may not even be in Boston any more.

    "Cliff Floyd and Manny in the same outfield?" yelled Kevin Millar, who played with Floyd for the Marlins. "I could be a defensive replacement."

  • The Boss wants a seasoned lefty? Well, You can take Tom Glavine and all his salary for Dioneer Navarro + another solid prospect and that would be fine with me. In that case, I'd take Leiter back for one year and the Mets can free up money and another rotation spot for a free agent or maybe in a long shot one of Billy Beane’s boys.

  • Baseball America's list of Minor League Free Agents is out. One name that interests me is Graham Koonce, a power hitting left-handed 1b from the Oakland Athletics farm system. He may be worth taking a flyer on. He is a bit old, but has hit 24, 34, and 22 homeruns in consecutive years. He does not hit for a high average, but he manages to sneak out quite a few walks. He had a career high of 133 in 2002 and followed that up with 98 in 2003. In 2004 his walks, homers, and average were down from 2003, but he is an extremely low risk, high reward player. Being that he'll be 30 next season, he should not have many suitors and could provide a contingency plan of sorts in case nothing works out for the Mets at first base for one year or until something better (cough, cough Kendry Morales, cough, cough) presents itself.