What's that? No, it's not the measurement of some misshapen woman, but it is the age of the last three free agent signings by Omar Minaya. Of course, it is no cause for concern since two are bench players and the other is a premier closer. Valentin provides some pop and versatility, though not much average. It would have been better if he was invited to camp on a Minor League contract, but I assume they went down that avenue. Giving a 47 year old Julio Franco two years might be a questionable move, but we have seen him beat the shit out of the Mets in his time with the Braves and is only getting $2 million over those two years. Being what type of player was brought in to be and the role he will assume, I have no problems with the signing.
The team is pretty much come together save one more move in the rotation, which is no sure bet to even get done, and some bullpen moves. The bench and the starting lineup should be for the most part set and things look pretty solid. The bench is looking deep with either Nady or Diaz coming off the bench with Woodward, Valentin, Franco, etc. and the starting lineup looks like it could match up against any team not located in St. Louis. Whether or not the Mets upgrade the rotation is gravy, though I would still like them to bring a #1/#2 aboard. The rotation is deep, but not spectacular, and they can make it as far as Pedro's arm is going to carry them. The Dallas meetings were not as eventful as we had all wished as the idea of netting any relievers from the Royals has shriveled up with the signing of Elmer Dessens to a two year deal and Javier Vazquez's price tag is too hefty right now to justify bringing him on board to hope he regains his pre-Yankee form.
I can only hope Omar does not make a move just to make a move as this team has the look of the team to beat right now. They have their ace, they have their big bats, they have their speedsters, they have a potentially devastating 8th and 9th inning combo, and hopefully they have something to prove.
What's up next? Well, we are certain he is going to try and move Matsui and Benson while bringing in a top of the rotation starter and at least look at Manny again. If Tejada somehow lands in Boston, one would assume Boston would soften their stance and their asking price for Ramirez in order to clear payroll for Tejada's $12 million per year. Add Tejada in the equation and Cliff Floyd, who would presumably be involved in any deal for Manny, their lineup is probably better off. Interesting to think about, but Miguel could heavily factor into Boston and Manny and how much they are seeking. It's hard to extract value back for one of the best RBI men of all time, but the team trying to acquire him has to have limits on what they can give up since nothing is ever enough.
Of course, the Orioles could try a straight up swap if Manny would agree to play there, but I'm not sure he would and I am assuming Matt Clement would be eyed by the Orioles in any deal since they are prerpetually looking for pitching.
A big sticking point in the Ramirez discussions was that Boston is asking for players who are virtually untouchable, although Stoneman doesn't like to use that word.
Ervin Santana is staying. Brandon Wood will remain in the Angels' farm system. The Red Sox want both and at least one more high-level prospect.
There is a breaking point to this and if the Red Sox want to move Manny, they have to understand they cannot extract equal value. It ain't happening.
Schilling is the veteran pitcher who credits Clemens with inspiring his career. During an off-season in his brief time with the Astros, a young Schilling encountered Clemens at a gym in Houston. After watching Schilling go through what passed for a workout, Clemens approached him and chewed him out.
"He said I was wasting my career and I was cheating the game," Schilling has said in telling the story of that consequential meeting. "He was right."
I know the Rocket is in great shape an all, but shouldn't he be a bit slimmer?
With Franco and the switch-hitting Valentin joining Ramon Castro, Chris Woodward, Victor Diaz and Tike Redman, the Mets' bench seems all but complete. But a Mets official suggested the team might not be done and portrayed it as unlikely that right-handed hitting outfielders Diaz and Xavier Nady would be on the major-league roster.
Both of them gone?
Rondon was a solid, hard-throwing relief prospect and I'm sorry to him get away, but it is hard to get upset about Minor League middle relievers.
San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou was asked who he thought the early favorite was in the National League.
"The Mets," he said. "They got started last year. They are a serious threat to win. They are so much better in every aspect."
Yes Omar. We know we have to play the games but at least a product is on the field that people think is good.
"You win games on the field, you don't win them on paper," Minaya said. "We have too much respect for the other teams."