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

Friday, January 07, 2005

Woulda Shoulda Coulda

With all this talk about the Yankees being a dynasty and them being the most popular sports team on the planet, it really makes me wonder.

What could have happened had Dwight and Darryl stayed out of trouble and the Mets managed to keep the team Darryl away from LA and kept the duo together through the 90's. Would the Mets be seen in the same light today? Gooden had a stupefying 119 wins and 1391 K's by 1990 when he was 25 years old and seemingly had a sure fire Hall of Fame career ahead of him. He struck out 278 batters before he turned 20 years old in his first major league season. By 1990 Darryl had 252 homeruns before he turned 29. Between 1984 and 1990, the Mets posted a .588 winning percentage and won 666 games to 466 loses. Two hundred more wins than losses is a great seven year run. You get the feeling that if things played out different, things would have been a bit better throughout the early 90's into today. The Mets solid three year run in 1998 through 2000 aside, things have been pretty bleak around Flushing. Sometimes I hate reality.

The Mets finally got their ace that they have been needing. Now they just need to get their young, electric outfielder and things will start to look up again for the foreseeable future.

But getting that young, electric outfielder is far from over.

"They're sending messages to anyone who will listen that they're out," a baseball official said of the Yankees yesterday. "Is it a smokescreen? I don't know. But I think they're legitimately out of it."

I just do not know what to make of it. I still want to believe it for my own personal and greedy reasons that the Yankees are really out of it, but the Yankees are like women. They simply cannot be trusted.

"If George is involved, we don't know it," one team executive said.

As for them lying the weeds, waiting to pounce, it just does not add up. The murmurs are that the Yankees do not want anyone to know their true intentions. But I ask, why the hell not? Since when have the Yankees made a habit of not letting their intentions known? Since when are the Yankees not willing to get into a bidding war? If anything, by the Yankees saying they are interested may make some interested parties drop out simply for the fact that they cannot compete dollar wise or could not offer the ability to go to the playoffs every single season. The theory of the Yankees playing coy with everyone is perplexing to me to say the least. Besides, what does laying in the weeds do for them? Drive down the price? At this point, the Mets are so entrenched in their negotiations and their desire to land Carlos, they are more apt to keep upping their offer if someone matched theirs. They would up it in years and dollars because they are fixated on bringing the star to Flushing. If the Yankees made their true intentions made known weeks ago, the Mets may have not even tried to get involved as heavily as their did. That's all impossible to say now, but for some reason I think things would be playing out differently had the Yankees said that he is their main target all along.

"We haven't made an offer," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It doesn't mean we will and it doesn't mean we won't."

The rumor is that George may not want the Yankees offer to be shopped around and used as leverage. The Yankees scared of being used a leverage to get more money out of another team? That is rich. I think the Yankees are confusing themselves with the Mets and the Mets are confusing themselves with the Yankees by going after 3 of the top 5 free agents available. The Yankees are not usually used as leverage, but they are usually the trump card when it comes to negotiations. When was the last time they were every outbid for a major free agent by any team? It makes sense for them to make their intentions known from the beginning to scare competition away already accepting defeat to the almighty Yankees and their infinite payroll.

Is Boras driving Beltran to sign with a specific team?

One advantage the Astros have is the absence of a state income tax in Texas. To match a Mets offer, the Astros would not have to give Beltran as much money. But while that might work for Beltran, it wouldn't for Boras. Five percent - his fee - of $75 million is not the same as 5 percent of $100 million, whether it's in Texas or New York.

For some reason I think this is of significant interest to Mr. Boras. His commission on $75,000,000 is $3,750,000, on $96,000,0000 it is $5,000,000, on $100,000,000 it is, $4,800,000, and on $120,000,000 it is $6,000,000. But at his point, the Astros offer is supposedly up to seven years $105,000,000, which certainly closes the gap on the Mets offer to one that is palatable for Beltran and Boars. But, if Carlos wanted to sign with a team to just be happy and not for every last dollar, I doubt he would of recruited the services of Scott Boras. Boras is known for one thing and one thing only. That is to get the most money for his clients. He is the MLBPA's bestest friend in the entire world and the most hated man amongst baseball owners and team executives. I've even read that Boras has made outlandish claims like he invented the question mark. The bottom line is, if Beltran was looking for happiness, he'd probably have a different agent and he would have be an Astros a long time ago.

This entire theory of the Yankees playing it as a team in weeds is a really curious notion to me. However, one thing is 100% clear to me. If the Yankees somehow end up with Beltran, it will just reinforce my theory that good things happen to bad people. As for the Astros, they still scare me a lot and their latest offer is pretty solid if it is true.

* * *

  • If you have not read Jayson Starks' new article on the Yankees, read it. Here is a little taste:

    Once again, we've been directed by the Citizens for Competitive Balance to write the Randy Johnson column everyone but YES network subscribers have been waiting for:



    Well, the '60s haven't gotten any more recent since then -- and you can look that up. But the 2005 Yankees, as currently constituted, will include (gulp) 13 players born in the '60s, a total of 19 players who will be 30 or older by Opening Day and (barring a Carlos Beltran signing) an entire starting lineup of guys who will be 30-something by the end of July.

    We've never commissioned the National Athletic Trainers Association to do an exhaustive study of this, or anything. But one thing we still feel safe in saying is:

    Old guys get hurt more than young guys.


    Yes, friends. Cartilage is, in fact, good. That's one of our mottoes in life.

    We bring that up because the amount of cartilage currently found in Johnson's right knee would be approximately ... uh ... zero.


    The journey from the National League over to the American League doesn't look particularly perilous, in theory. No native guides, body armor or special inoculations are required by law before you embark, so it would be easy to conclude it's not that big a deal.

    Pavano is coming from one of baseball's most pitcher-friendly ballparks (Florida's Pro Player Stadium), where he pitched in front of one of the best defenses on earth. You might also want to note he has won more than 12 games exactly once in his career.

    Wright, meanwhile, is leaving a team (the Braves) that sprinkles all new pitchers with special Cy Young miracle flakes. So no wonder he won nearly as many games last year (15) as he had in the previous five seasons put together, stayed healthy all year and had an ERA (3.28) more than two runs lower than his lifetime American League ERA (5.50).


    We all admit that Randy Johnson is one talented human being. But he can't play first base. He can't play second base. He can't catch line drives in the gaps. He can't clone himself. And he can't perform orthopedic surgery in his spare time.

    Which is one way of saying that this team did, in fact, have other issues heading into the winter besides its lack of left-handedness on that pitching mound.


    These Yankees are definitely the best team 207 million George Steinbrenner bucks can buy, all right. But in the long and glorious history of baseball, not one $207-million baseball team has ever won a single World Series. That's a fact.

    OK, so it's also a fact that there has never actually been a $207-million baseball team before this one. But that's beside the point. Sort of.

    If the Yankees have proved anything these last few Octobers, it's that there can be such a thing as having too many big-name, big-dollar players on one team.

  • Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    John Lopez says the Astros and Drayton MacLane will get their man and Beltran will remain in Houston simply because they have no other option.

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