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

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Playing With the Numbers

With Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado seemingly closing in on signing with their new teams and Omar stating to Beltran that getting him does not preclude him from looking at a guy like Delgado, let's look at the numbers to see if it is really possible.
Carlos Delgado___$14,000,000.00
Jose Reyes_______$500,000.00
Kazuo Matsui_____$7,000,000.00
David Wright_____$320,000.00
Mike Piazza______$15,000,000.00
Carlos Beltran____$18,000,000.00
Cliff Floyd_______$6,500,000.00
Mike Cameron____$6,000,000.00
Tom Glavine_____$10,500,000.00
Kris Benson______$7,500,000.00
Steve Trachsel____$5,000,000.00 ($1M bonus with 160 IP)
Pedro Martinez___$10,500,000.00 ($10.5M in '05 & '08. $14.5M in '06 & '07)
Victor Zambrano__$3,000,000.00
Braden Looper____$3,500,000.00
Felix Heredia_____$2,800,000.00
Mike DeJean_____$1,500,000.00
Scott Strickland___$1,000,000.00
Orber Moreno____$300,000.00
Heath Bell_______$300,000.00 (could be someone else)
Andres Galaraga __$500,000.00
Gerald Williams __$500,000.00 (obviously could be someone else)
Miguel Cairo_____$900,000.00
Eric Valent______$400,000.00
Jason Phillips____$500,000.00
McEwing, Joe____$500,000.00 (obviously could be someone else)
Total Payroll____ $116,520,000.00

With buyouts added:
Ricky Gutierrez___$750,000.00
Richard Hidalgo__ $2,000,000.00
Al Leiter_________$2,000,000.00
Total w/boyouts___$121,270,000.00

I'm sure the buyouts are not getting factored in here, but I just wanted to add that in to prove that it is possible in terms of the financial aspect to bring in both Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado even with that buyout money that was dished out. About $116,520,000 committed to very strong lineup with Piazza's $15,000,000 coming off the books after this season and Tom Glavine's salary either coming off at end of the season or reducing to $6,500,000. That is $19,000,000 coming off with potentially no starting positions to backfill if Tommy returns and Phillips is given the starting in 2006. That means the Mets will be at about $101,520,000 with Pedro's salary going up to $14,500,000 and only some bullpen and bench tinkering to do. Wilpon will undoubtedly take a one year hit, but in 2003 he lost $17 million with a team that went nowhere with a comparable payroll. He has the network to think of and with new talent he will receive a boon in attendance that should help fray the costs if not level them altogether if they can translate that into wins (and it certainly looks like that lineup would put some wins up).

This is 100% completely feasible right now. Forget the fact the network is coming along, but with cheap help on the way as well in pitching and in Victor Diaz as soon as the 2nd half of 2005 and the beginning of 2006, Wilpon can keep the payroll manageable for long time while raking in the money and putting a winning product on the field. It's time for them to step up to the plate and get both Carlos y Carlos on the phone and give the Mets a formidable offense.

For the record, I one of those people not feeling too optimistic about Carlos Beltran coming to the Mets but I have faith Omar will try his best to get it done.

** Does anyone know how to do tables in Blogger? The ones I try do not work and come out pretty messed up.

Coming to a Head

Like a Mt. Everest sized pimple on a 12 year old's face, this thing is ready to explode. Beltran appears to be down to the Mets and the Astros and with the Astros having put forward their final offer on Thursday, one would assume that Beltran is racking his brain at this point. That or Scott Boras is trying to shake more money out of the trees which is probably the more likely scenario. Either way I hope this thing closes out today. I've already pressed the refresh button about a million times in the past two days waiting for some new headlines to come across SportSpyder and I think I'm slowly losing my mind. I am contemplating going incommunicado throughout the day tomorrow to just keep my mind off it and check back Sunday morning to see how things shook out. Whether or not I'll be able to do that is the real question, but much to my chagrin, Steve Popper says that Boras is open to go past tonight's deadline . That would only spell bad news for the Mets in my opinion. If Boras blows past the deadline with what seems like a two horse race, that means another horse or two are seriously in it. Losing a team vying for Beltran is not a smart move unless there is a great reason to do it.

One would have to assume the Mets still had some growing room on their offer at least in years if not dollars per year. What is the difference between seven and eight years at this point? If they really want to get it done, they should lay that on the table at some point tomorrow to try and force Boras and Beltran's hand. At least Omar proved he is good at multi-tasking by inking Miguel Jesus Cairo to backup the infield for the bargain price of $900,000. Not only can it be good to sign anyone with the Jesus in the name, but Cairo has played every position but centerfield and catcher over the past three years and will be a valuable commodity because of that. I just hope Joe McEwing does not own property around here. If it was renting it would sure make it easier on him.

It’s getting hard to know what to believe anymore. Some people think the Astros have the edge and some people think the Mets are ahead. Not only does Jon Heyman think the Mets are ahead, but he thinks the Yankees are still lurking in the background and there are plenty of rumblings the Cubs are about to take it too $112 million.

Let's go Omar. Make this quick and painless.

* * *

  • I could not agree more with Joel Sherman.

    * How often are the Mets going to be vying for an in-his-prime star and not competing against the Yankees (at least not yet)?....There is a Bronx-free opening here no one saw coming.

    * There are no position players in their prime years due up for free agency in the next two off seasons who are nearly as good as Beltran, especially when you factor in the playing of a prime position.

    * At his worst, Beltran is an extremely productive player who will be overpaid by a little. And there is the chance that he is about to run off a string of 5-to-8 years of 35-homer, 35-steal seasons with a few Gold Gloves, making him part of a Cooperstown conversation. In other words, he will never be a Vaughn-ian financial embarrassment. And his signing would send out the message throughout the majors that the Mets, armed with their new network, are real players again — that they have credibility.

  • Delgado is at least showing interest in the Mets and has submitted a counterproposal to our very own Metropolitans according to the New York Post. The Newsday maintains that Delgado is leaning towards the Orioles and remaining in the American League.

    If Delgado chose the Orioles over the Mets for similar money, he'll be saying winning does not matter to him. The Orioles are missing one key component to a winning baseball team called pitching. Without it, it is tough to win. When is the last time you heard offense wins championships? You do not hear that in any sport much less baseball. Throw on top that he will still be on a team that that is in the same division with the Yankees and the Red Sox and you have another few years of finishing in 3rd or 4th place.

  • The must have been drunk comment of the day:

    "Think how excited we were this time last year (as Clemens was preparing to sign with the Astros), and nobody even knew Carlos Beltran was in our future," McLane said. "With him or without, we'll have a good team."

    Ummm..no, you don't. No Beltran in 2004 means no playoffs in 2004. Two of the three killer B's will be pushing 40 with the other one missing substantial amount of time due to injury means a pretty weak lineup and no, getting Cruz Jr. or Winn won't help.

    The same article has this tidbit:

    McLane has had a much greater sense of optimism than some Mets officials. One person close to the situation even said it was probably a "long shot" for the Mets to beat out the Astros for Beltran.

  • The Marlins say "why not us?" and throw out a one year offer to Carlos Delgado.

  • 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.
  • Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Ass, Gas, or Grass...Nobody Rides For Free (Housekeeping)

    Part of the Mets problems over the years have been people on their major league and 40 man roster that basically are serving little to no use to the team and are doing more harm than good. If the Mets and Omar are serious about starting this turn around for the franchise sooner rather than later they need to address these problems now. The Mets cannot waste roster space on undeserving players that will not be productive enough like Gerald Williams in 2004 while he was taking up at bats that should have gone to Victor Diaz. We've already recently seen roster casualties like Jaime Cerda and Marco Scutaro amongst others in the past few years. Were they monumental losses? No, but who would not have rather had Scutaro taking up a roster spot instead of McEwing or Delgado in 2004 to serve as the primary backup middle infielder.

    For the people that will not be pulling their weight, they should have no spot on this team. Joe McEwing is making $500,000 this season. The Mets could better use his roster spot on someone that may actually end up contributing to this team or they can perhaps get a utility man like Desi Relaford that would provide a step up. Whether they have to pay his entire salary to be a backup on another team or they just give him his walking papers, the fat has to be trimmed. He's not Minaya's guy so the housekeeping would be just that and Omar needs to shape the team as he wants to. A guy like McEwing should be one year contracts from here on out and his two year contract seems a bit silly now.

    Another person that should be shown the door is Felix Heredia. Roster spots being hogged by one dimensional players certainly gets to me. If a person cannot pitch to a batter from both sides of the plate, then they must be shown the door. The Mets paid $2.8 million this season for Felix and I cannot see them designating him for assignment or releasing him, but if he does not win a spot in the bullpen in spring training pitching against righties and lefties, I'm not sure I see the use for him. Fantastic, he held lefties to a .216 BAA in 2004 and .226 over the past three years. In roughly 20 less at-bats in 2004 Orber Moreno held lefties to a .220 BAA and has held them to a .226 BAA in 2003 and 2004. Unless Heredia can improve upon his .333 BAA pitching to righties of 2004 Omar needs to say good bye. Unless you are the Yankees gearing up for the Red Sox and are in the AL and can waste a spot on a lefty specialist, there is no need for one. Roster spots and 40 man roster spots are pretty important in Flushing these days. Guys who can barely get lefties out better than some right handed relievers already on the team who can get both sides of the plate out better serve no purpose.

    Platoon players are another beast. The Mets have already stated that they do not view John Olerud as an everyday player and the Mets have also been rumored to be interested in him at various points this off season. While he could be valuable glove for this young infield it would be better for Omar to exhaust all available options on players they do view as everyday players. If Delgado is not manning first they should look at Doug M., Kevin Millar, or anyone else who can play 140+ games. I am not a fan of platooning players and while they could sometimes be productive and I’m sure some people are a fan of them, I do believe it is a waste of roster space and a team like the Mets should have learned from 2004 where skimping and trying to get by on a platoon gets you. There is a reason these players are platooning and that is because they are not good enough to play everyday against lefty and righty pitchers. A platoon player is just another one dimensional player that is not an optimal use of a roster spot and a platoon should be the last option.

    Three catchers? That is the question Omar should be asking himself. If you are hedging your bets and assuming that Piazza has zero chance of being healthy, then fine. He still managed to play in 129 games in 2004 and if he does go down Vance or Jason will be able to fill in admirably with Mike Jacobs or Joe Hieptas riding the pine. Taking up a 25 and 40 man roster spot with the extra catcher is a burden in my opinion. The only way I can conceivably condone this is if the Mets go with an Olerud/Phillips platoon, but it does look like the Mets will be traveling minus one catcher come spring training.

    Another form of free loading in my opinion are backup players that can play only one position. I love the Andres Galaraga's power off the bench and teams need a power bat off the bench, but it would nice if a guy backing up first could man the hot corner if needed. Unless they have a plan to maybe use Galaraga on the roster to platoon with Olerud for a combined 80 year old duo, I'd rather have Rich Aurilla or Jose Hernandez. In these days of managers double switching like it is going out of style and their excessive use of the bullpen, it is nice to have as many options as possible. With all that being said, having a power bat that plays one position off the bench is by far the most acceptable form of roster abuse in my opinion. Tony Clark’s homerun every fifteen at bats was a nice luxury to have off the bench, but when you add in a third catcher and McEwing on the bench, there really is not enough space for a one position guy.

    Some more dead weight the Mets can trim is Jeff Duncan and players like him on the 40 man roster. I love the speed and the fielding skills, but his extreme lack of ability to hit the ball is a problem. Duncan just turned 26 this past December and will be at AAA again this year hitting in the .250s with no power at all. You could make the argument that he is insurance for centerfield, but I think Wayne Lydon can be considered that as well. No need for both of them and at this point Lydon looks like a better prospect. It is hard to see Duncan developing into major league player at this point and Lydon still may turn out to be a Juan Pierre type guy who hits a lot of singles and steals a ton of bases. If the Mets had a 40 man spot open for Duncan, then I would be all for it. However, they could have lost McGinley, who I consider more important at this point while protecting Duncan. If the Mets left him exposed to the Rule 5 draft and someone thought Duncan was worth the shot to put on their ML roster for the entire season, go for it. He is one guy that needs to be removed off the 40 man roster and he probably will be removed once spring training ends and the Mets have to finalize their 40 man roster.

    I do realize that in the real world there will be players usurping roster spots that are not optimal simply because of the lack of options. However, trimming the fat is place to start to getting this organization moving in the right direction with all the pieces involved being able to contribute capably to the success of this team. It is hard to build a winner without depth in all areas of the team. There are plenty of options out there for a team that could afford them and going on the cheap with band aid solutions should be put out to pasture. It's not that it is about wasting money either, but making good personnel decisions and bringing McEwing back was not one for example. Sometimes it is hard to let certain guys go and a guy like McEwing who plays hard and does everything you ask of them are tough to all out cut. It seems unfair and disrespectful to them, but these types of things have to be done. Omar trimmed some fat by not asking John Franco back and I'm sure that was more of a tough decision for other people in the front office than Omar since he is not Minaya's guy. If the Mets want to be serious about this season and contending, they need to get the bench up to snuff and not waste roster spots. They have to add more quality and it starts by making room for some acquisitions and players who can help.

    By the way didn't Franco say he had plenty of teams interested in his services?

    * * *

  • Ricardo Zuniga did not get the memo about Piazza and first base.

    Baltimore signed Rafael Palmeiro to a $3 million, one-year contract extension, and the Mets play Mike Piazza at first base, although he is mentioned in trade rumors.

  • According to the Houston Chronicle, this Beltran deal is going to come down to the wire.

    "That report that he's signed with the Mets is bull," a person close to the negotiations told the Chronicle.

    Despite all that, the word around Mets.com is that the Mets seem to be leading the Beltran sweepstakes.

    One prominent Major League executive, who asked not to be named, did say on Wednesday that he believed Beltran would be signing with the Mets, another indication that word of Boras' intentions is getting around.

  • Steve Phillips speaks out:

    "You can certainly see multiple reasons why they need to be aggressive," said Steve Phillips yesterday, "even if it goes against some of the practices of the organization. It's an awful lot of money you're paying -- or I should say overpaying -- but in New York you go for it. I give them credit."

    Should Steve Phillips ever talk about anyone overpaying? At least this time the Mets will be over paying for a guy on the right side of 35, which is very unlike most of Phillips acquisitions.

    "If they get him he's going to make them a better team," Phillips said. "But I don't see him with the personality to be a marquee guy ... With the Mets, he's expected to get them out of the gate right from the start. If he doesn't, he could disappoint people and if the boos start, it could be tough on him."

    Wright has the personality to be that clubhouse leader if Beltran does not. The boos will not be coming if wins show up on a consistent basis. If they lose, everyone is getting booed. Beltran is no Vlad or A-Rod, but Beltran is still a special player.

  • Some useful tax information in regards to the Beltran deal though I do not think it will play a major part in the negotiations.

  • Miguel Cairo for backup infielder? According to the Daily News, the Mets are interested and it is not a bad idea either. He performed well for the Yankees on '04 and would be a solid reserve and good insurance since he's proved he could handle a starting job already.

  • An anonymous source throws Beltran under the bus painting him as a selfish, short tempered, and thin skinned player.

    "He has always played for himself," the scout said. "He is not a leader. Teammates respect him for his ability, but he is not a guy they rally around. I'd be worried that his personality is going to become an issue in New York. He's not going to like it when the press asks him why he's not hitting. He's going to bite back."

  • According to John Heyman of Newsday:

    The Yankees "definitely are players for Beltran," according to a source familiar with their thinking.

    A source familiar with their thinking? What in hell does that mean? Someone who is familiar with spending tons of money? That does not sound very reliable. It is not even the infamous unnamed club executive, but it is a person familiar with their thinking. I think all of us are familiar with their thinking and that is spend, spend, and if that does not work, spend some more. So yeah, they could be in it.

  • The New York Times gives a quick look out everyone's favorite team's finances.

    Surely, the Yankees must be rolling in cash thanks to the 3.77 million fans who went to Yankee Stadium last season, the $64 million in rights fees from the YES Network and sponsors like Adidas.

    But a closer look at the private finances of baseball's most successful, envied and valuable team reveals that it may not be making money.

    I've read the Forbes articles and I've had this argument with a Yankee fan at my work. I've told him that the Yankees lose money every year and he tells me they make like $80 million in profit. While I cited my source as Forbes he said he had one too, which I assume is his head since he could not remember. Amazing how some people refuse to believe the reality of things. Yes, they make the most money out of any MLB team, but they still have finite amount of revenue that is rather maxed out at this point.

  • Stephen Drew could be headed to the draft again and would most likely be available by the time the Mets 9th slot comes around. I know he will be expensive, but he would sure look nice at 2nd base once Kaz's contract expires. Also, without another year of school as leverage, the ball would be in the Mets' court in terms of negotiations.

  • Ask BA speaks some truth:

    On paper right now, they have as good a chance as any team of winning the 2005 World Series. But they're not a lock by any means, and for a $200 million-plus payroll, they still have a roster with a shocking lack of depth if a serious injury strikes any position.

  • Wednesday, January 05, 2005

    Et Tu Brute?

    Baseball Prospectus jumps in on the act of Met bashing. Over the years it has quickly become one of the American baseball writers favorite pastime.

    Here's what Omar Minaya had to say when the Mets signed Pedro Martinez:

      "That kid that we don't know about, that Pedro Martinez that you don't know about, I don't know about, okay, that might be in the marketplace down in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. That kid's father, or that kid, you know what he wants to be today? He wants to be a Met."

      There are two big questions we need to ask ourselves when we hear something like this:

  • Is it true?

  • If it's true, does it matter?

  • Well here is what I have to ask, what difference does it make? It was a speech that was made and it could be a belief that he has. Odalis Perez may not be a kid, but he certainly is interested in the notion of him pitching in the same rotation as on one of his heroes from his homeland so I do think there is some credence to the notion however small it may be.

    Is it true? Pedro Martinez is far from the only Latin player in the game, even if he is one of the most prominent. On account of Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez, there are a lot of Latino boys that want to be Angels or Red Sox. And as for "that kid's father," it's a good bet that there are a lot of fathers who, on account of Roberto Clemente, raised their kids to be Pirates.

    Very good observation there. Pedro is in fact not the only Latin player in the game and it is very possible that young kids dream of being an Angel or a Red Sox player just because of Vlad or Manny. However, Pedro is a pitcher and would be more likely to be able catch the attention of young Latin pitcher rather than batter so while the comparison has some validity, it is also a bit like apples and oranges as well. I'll agree the kids will go to whomever is willing to sign them. It is after all their way off their island and their chance to make a lot money. It is obvious they will not wait with baited breath for the Mets to come calling, but I could tell you there were not as many New York Mets fans in the Dominican Republic before they picked up Pedro and Omar was the GM.

    They seem to think that Pedro Martinez is worth $53 million over four years, while an uninteresting American player with exactly the same skills and track record might not be. This is a poor mode of thought, whether or not Martinez is worth the money.

    What? What the hell does that even mean? When the was there an uninteresting American pitcher of the same stature of Pedro Martinez on the free agent market? Pedro was the best free agent pitcher available on a market that has fetched more money for free agents than anyone thought. If Carl Pavano, who is a career sub .500 pitcher that only posted a sub 4.21 ERA twice in seven major league seasons in the National League, is worth $10 million per year, Pedro Martinez, who is far and away a better pitcher, is worth $12.5 million per year. Boston set his price per year and the Mets simply had to overpay to get him.

    The Yankees are popular because they win. OK, because they win, and because they have a rich tradition...of winning. The Yankees win, and make a stir; the Mets see this, and don't realize that the stir is a byproduct.

    As Rob Neyer wrote in his Big Book of Baseball Lineups, "People will come to the ballpark for two things, and two things only: free stuff, and baseball. Winning baseball." If the Mets want to be kings of New York, they don't need to be louder than the Yankees; they need to be better.

    Really? Another fantastic observation. Us in the area know this because we witnessed it first hand in the 80's. Also, how do you know that the Mets do not understand the stir is a byproduct? Did you ask them? As for trying to be louder, that is laughable. They are trying to win. The Pedro move did get them some attention in the rags of NY, but it also improved the staff.

    You need to go no further than these questions:

    Are the Mets better with Pedro Martinez? Yes.
    Is Pedro Martinez the best pitcher at this stage in his career than the Mets have had since Doc Gooden? Absolutely.

    This entire piece kills me. The Mets and Omar are trying to build a winning team and trying to string together a good number of winning seasons and they get ridiculed for it. Omar has done nothing but good things so far as the Mets GM. They understand how to get people into the park and that is producing on the field. That is a goal that are trying to get achieved. They will get ridiculed for getting Beltran by people saying they overpaid or are still a lot pieces away. Martinez is sure a place to start in terms of improving the team and Martinez and Beltran or Delgado would be a great place to start in terms of improving this team. They have the money, they have the luxury that other teams do not have of overspending to get things that they need without compromising their future.

    I hope the Mets read this crap that goes around about them and I hope they get mad and prove everybody wrong. I have only read it in one place that the Mets could be competitors in the NL East with a acquisition of one big bat in any sort of media or non-blog baseball website. I know I'm not crazy. I can look at the NL East and reasonably size up the Mets chances against if they get a big bat. There is no team in this division without huge question marks.

    * * *

  • Baseball Prospectus was gracious enough to point out Kaz is not as bad as many people think with a sort of back handed compliment (It's not great, but it's not a failure). They also allude to the idea that Jose is problem in itself. His plate discipline is less than desirable and they point to his 12.7 VORP in 2004 as a big negative. They at least mention that fact he has his injury problems which contribute to the problem but his VORP in 2003 was 21.7, which was left out. It is unfair to judge Jose on a injury riddled season. Before you start trashing him, let him try and have a healthy season. It is plain to see Jose has a ton of talent and better glove and arm than Kaz. Jose belongs at short and Kaz belongs at second...end of story.

  • Who wants to bet that Buster will put out another story after completely reversing fields yesterday and say the Yankees will be all over Beltran like white on rice?

  • According to ESPN, Scott Boras has stated that every interested team has submitted their offer on Carlos Beltran. It is unclear whether one of those teams are the Yankees, but one would assume it is unless they are considered a team no longer considered in Beltran's service.

    Bernazard said the Mets weren't worried about competition from the Yankees.

    "Pedro [Martinez] was not supposed to sign with us, and he's going to play with us," Bernazard said.

    I like this Tony Bernazard guy....I just hope he does not wake a sleeping giant that wears entirely too many turtlenecks with any comments.

    Joel Sherman's article this morning says the Mets offer is for 6 years $105 million and that the Astros and the Mets are the only two teams with offers submitted. Omar also told Beltran that the Mets would continue to pursue either Carlos Delgado or Sammy Sosa if they signed him. Sherman also stated he expects the Yankees to submit an offer, but the contract value will be between the Astros and Mets as they will not outbid anyone. They expect him to take less money if he wants the privilege to play in the Bronx. Also, according to the Daily News they are unwilling to pay anyone more than they are paying Derek Jeter. Here is an interesting quote from the article:

    "I think Beltran goes to the highest bidder," said an NL West executive who did pick the Mets as his top choice, "and I now believe the Mets will be the high bidder."

    According to Sherman's article, the Cubbies and Tigers are not going to get involved in negotiations at this point.

  • Michael Schumacher is the man. According to Forbes he made $80 million in 2004 and it is great to see him donate $10 million to the the Tsunami relief effort, which as much money as Coca Cola and more than a third of what Germany has pledged so far (Germany is saying they will increase their aid as I write this).

    Kudos to Taiwan for keeping up with the big boys by having their small island pledge $50 million to China's $60 million and Japan is as generous as usual when it comes to donating money towards disasters.

  • The New York Times, who broke the story about the Yankees passive behavior last Monday night, still says the Yankees are concentrating on the man with the magic Mullet. They have until Friday to complete a contract extension with him for two years at the bargain price of $16 million per season.
  • Tuesday, January 04, 2005

    Welcome to Buster Olney's Yankee Talk

    I'm not sure why I keep reading Buster Olney's chats. I guess I read them for the same reasons people like to catch a glimpse of a car accident. I am also not sure why they try and mask this as a baseball chat when the majority of the questions pertain to current Yankees, ex-Yankees, players the Yankees are chasing, or teams that directly relate to the Yankees (i.e. Boston). It is basically Yankee talk until someone begs Buster to throw in some arbitrary comment about a small market team.

    Roger (Chicago): Buster - Do you think the Mets will make anymore trades or signings to strengthen their bullpen?

    Buster Olney: (1:09 PM ET ) Roger: You'd think they would. Let's say, for argument's sake, that the Mets are successful on this Beltran thing (and I don't think they have any chance). But if they sign Beltran for $17-18 million annually, with Pedro locked up at 13-14, that really doesn't leave a lot of cash left to fill many other major holes. You mentioned the middle relief, and they still don't know what they'll get out of Reyes at short or Matsui at second, and they don't know who their first baseman is going to be. I thought they'd be more aggressive on addressing the middle relief, but they haven't...

    It would be nice for the Mets to make some bullpen moves, but if someone can tell me anyone out there that is a good pickup, I am all ears. Steve Kline would have been nice, but no one is crying about that one. Besides, the Mets are going to hope four or five of the ten or so people in the organization can fill those holes with nothing better out there. Someone please tell me who they need extra cash for to aggressively chase to place in the bullpen? Ron Villone? Rob Nen? As for their many other holes, I believe we are referring to one outfield spot and first base. They can afford to fill those as they are a sizeable amount of money away from $100 million at this point. Why must people insist the Mets are not in the largest media market in the world with their new network debuting in 2006. They are not the Kansas City Royals here. Finally, what do Reyes and Matsui have to do with anything? If one goes down they are shit out of luck anyway. What money do they need to earmark for positions already filled? Why does he think Kaz is such a question mark? Yes, it's a new position, but the guy was regarded as one of the best shortstops on the planet before he came to the states. It is reasonable to assume he will field good enough. Besides, that is why they brought in Woodward amongst others and have Keppinger and Garcia. They are there to fill those needs if need be.

    Also, Buster repeated the sentiments that he does not think the Mets have any chance in the Beltran hunt. For weeks the Mets have been rumored to be interested. At the very least he could have called them long shots. But now, he comes out singing a different tune. I would be happier and respect him as a journalist more if he simply admitted that Mets are going to be at least team that has a shot because that was true fact. They were willing to spend and with a Boras client, that means they have a chance whether it be one in million or a five to chance, but there was a chance nonetheless. If you believe reports that the Mets offered Beltran a contract worth $17 million, then that would cost the Yankees $23.8 million if they simply matched the offer when you add in the luxury tax.

    Ben (Rochester, NY): Can you tell me where Carlos Beltran will be playing in 2005? I'm dying to know this!

    Buster Olney: (1:26 PM ET ) Ben: I think it's going to be the Yankees, but really, it depends on what Carlos Beltran wants in his life. Does he want to be comfortable, play in an easy-going place where he knows the players? Then he'll re-sign with Houston, for much, much less money than he might get in New York. But if he wants the cash, if he wants a chance to win every year, if he bends to the desires of the Players Association, then he's going to take the biggest offer and I think that's going to come from the Yankees, in the end. Omar believes he proved everybody wrong by signing Pedro Martinez, and maybe he'll do that for the Mets with Beltran. I just can't see Steinbrenner every letting himself get outbid by the Mets; George would overpay by $20 million or $30 million to maintain domination of the Mets.

    If nothing else, Omar should lay a big fat offer on the table to raise the Yankees counter offer. If he truly does end up on the Yankees it will be nice to have the Mets drive up his price close to $20 million a year (close to $28 million with the luxury tax) for the Yankees so their already ridiculous payroll can look as ridiculous as possible. It's not exactly a win win situation for the Mets but it is close enough.

    The funniest question of that day goes too...drum roll please....

    Justin (NYC, NY): Not enough Yankees talk yet, so I have to ask. What about Beltran/Delgado? And will they be able to move Kevin Brown? Will Giambi be back?

    I hope he did not write that with a straight face.

    The best question of the day goes too...another drum roll please....

    Taylor (Lafayette, LA): Will somebody please blow up the entire Yankee's organization?


    Mike (Morgantown, WV): What about God Buster? Can't he strike them down or something?

    It had to be tie between Taylor and Mike since it was really a two part question. I'm with you Taylor. Blow it up. Blow the entire damn thing up.

    * * *

  • Some good clean Simpsons fun for any fans of the Simpsons. If that was too much wholesome fun for you click here. Much better...

  • As the plot thickens in the Beltran race, Roger Clemens said he would only return to the Astros if Carlos Beltran is resigned. That would certainly motivate Houston to get this deal done at all costs.

  • One this that stands out in this NJ.com article is this:

    "Omar showed me a lot of respect, a lot of commitment," Martinez said at his introductory press conference less than three weeks ago. "Not only that, he didn't show up with a lot of people. He showed up himself, went to get me in the Dominican. ... That's the reason I'm here, to help Omar win a championship and help the city of New York and the Mets to actually get a championship."

    People seem to like the guy and want to play for him and as a result, play for the Mets. As much as I think Jim Duquette will make a good GM, he does not seem to have these traits right now. Players dedicate themselves to Omar and that is a good thing for the Mets.

  • The Angels are now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. How's that sound?

    "I don't believe there's a compromise on the name," Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle said. "They're trying to have it both ways with the silly name they chose."

  • It's Not Like The Times Has Been Known to Make Up Stories Before.....

    I'll believe this when it actually happens.

    "Someone told me the other day, if they get Johnson they wouldn't go after Beltran," the official, who refused to be named, said. "Even the Yankees have to have a limit."

    Could just be the Yankees bluffing and trying to lure everyone into a false sense of security, but the rumblings have been around for a while both ways. We’ve read plenty of times that even the Yankees have a limit and we’ve read plenty of times that they will outbid anyone for Beltran’s services.

    One things for sure, there will be a lot of I told you so's being thrown around when all the dust settles.

    Beltran's becoming a victim of a Yankees budget wouldn't simply be the most intriguing story of this off-season; it would be the most stunning development in years. It would also crush Scott Boras, Beltran's agent, who is counting not only on the Yankees' interest but also on what would be a rare instance of the Yankees and the Mets directly competing for a player.

    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in while and the Mets have looked like the Stevie Wonder of squirrels the last few years.

    Monday, January 03, 2005


    Some ominous news from the mailbag.

    What's happening with Phil Humber? Are the Mets going to sign him? Also, if the Yankees are out of the Carlos Delgado sweepstakes since they signed Tino Martinez, does that make it more likely that the Mets will stop going after Beltran and get more seriously involved with Delgado? -- Zeke L., Queens, N.Y.

    Thanks for the weekly Phil Humber question, Zeke. The negotiations have stalled, and there really appears to be no end in sight to the standoff between the two sides. Humber wants big money, more than the Mets are willing to offer in terms of a bonus. It's gotten to the point that if the situation isn't resolved soon, Humber will miss part or all of Spring Training and be set back even further in his development than he already is.

    As for Delgado, it is true that the Yankees may no longer need his services, but don't expect the Mets to dive into that pool just yet. The Beltran situation could play out one way or another this week, because he has to make a decision on the Astros by Saturday. Minaya is worrying about Beltran first, and Delgado, if he's still available, will be addressed if and when the Beltran negotiations are completed.

    Crap....nuff said. Miss all or part of spring training? Give the man the same deal as Verlander. I have no idea if the Mets offered a similar contract and he just turned it down, but he is certainly not worth more than whatever he got. Tim Stauffer was drafted the year before with comparable skills in the 4th slot and was offered less before he took a lot less after exhibiting some honesty and coming out with his injury instead of hiding it from the Padres. Humber would look nice in the Mets system, but all this money stuff is ridiculous. I hope his buddy Neimann signs soon so everyone can really gauge how much Humber should be worth. Let’s hope this gets done by spring and he should not forget he was the fourth highest rated pitcher coming out of college and maybe the fifth highest rated pitcher overall when you add in Homer Bailey, who was the best high school pitching talent.

    Sizing Up the Competition

    With the Beltran sweepstakes coming to a head this week and the Mets news relatively show it seemed like a good as time as every to do a Beltran primer and look at all the teams rumored to be interested and what they can offer.

    The Houston Chronicle points out some accomplishments by Carlos Beltran.

    Beltran's postseason excellence caught the baseball world's attention, and he has 12 Major League Baseball and Astros franchise records to show for it. He holds the postseason record for consecutive games with at least one run (10), consecutive games with a home run (five), postseason runs (21) and League Championship Series runs (12).

    He shares the single postseason record for home runs (eight with Bonds in 2002); extra-base hits (11 with Bonds, 2002); total bases (47 with Troy Glaus in 2002); and consecutive games with extra-base hits (seven with Devon White in 1993).

    Although he has played in only one postseason series compared to five each by Astros icons Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, Beltran is easily the franchise career postseason-record holder for home runs, RBIs, runs and total bases.

    Aside from the postseason, he did pretty well in his short stint with the Astros in the regular season.

    In his span with the Astros, Beltran led the team in runs (70), home runs (23), slugging percentage (.559), stolen bases (28) and extra-base hits (47).

    Beltran, who has had 100 RBIs and 100 runs in five of his past six seasons, is the only player in baseball history to compile four consecutive seasons with at least 20 home runs, 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

    As the article also points out, Scott Boras has made elegant binders to remind people of Beltran's accomplishments so far and the milestones he may accomplish like the 500 homer / 500 stolen base club. Where he will go will the next question. He claims he wants to get paid but being on team that is built to win for the next decade is paramount over anything.

    That certainly makes the situation a bit more interesting. We all know he has an affinity for Houston but Jeff Bagwell will be usurping a substantial amount of payroll until 2007 and Andy Petite is making a whole lot of money and needs to come a long way to prove he's worth the $26 million he is still owed by the Astros. They may only have Clemens for one more season and they will have to bring back Oswalt in two years and Lance Berkman after one more season. They lost Wade Miller and have just about no help on a farm system that included John Buck and Jason Lane that was ranked 29th out of the entire majors. They no longer have them in the farm system and have Taylor Buchholz and Carlos Hernandez as their most promising young pitchers. Buchholz's first exposure to AAA was not encouraging and still has a lot to prove. He never posted below a 3.29 ERA above Rookie ball and has a 2.69 career K/BB ratio with a 1.26 career WHIP. That is not exactly a dominant minor league pitcher and while he is still solid pitching prospect, he is nothing to put your future hopes on. As for Carlos Hernandez, he has yet to stay healthy and was largely unimpressive in his short stint in 2004. What about the fact there are no income taxes in Texas? Well whatever team outbids the Astros will need to do it by a million dollars per year or they will simply have to offer the same but add another year to the contract. That would only be a deal breaker if the Astros and whomever they are bidding against had the same number of years and the same amount of dollars.

    The Cubs can certainly offer a chance to win for the long term and a cozy park to hit in while boasting the best farm system out of any team rumored to be interested in Beltran. It is said that pitching wins championships (just ask the 2004 Yankees) and they have plenty of pitching on the major league and minor league level as well as a pretty good outfield prospect in Felix Pie. The did lose Andy Sisco and Francisco Beltran over the past year, but they are still the atop everyone supposidly pursuing Beltran in terms of the farm system. They resigned Glendon Rusch for their fifth spot in the rotation for $2,000,000, they brought in Henry Blanco for $1,350,000 per year to be Greg Maddux's personal catcher, picked up Ryan Dempster's option, got Garciaparra for the bargain price of $8 million, got Todd Hollandsworth for $900,000, Neifi Perez for $1,000,000, Todd Walker for $2,500,000, and need one more outfielder to solidify their team. Basically, signing Beltran brings them up to roughly $100,000,000 for this season and they lose Sammy's $17 million in 2006. They certainly may be able to afford Beltran but it is unclear how much the Cubs are willing to spend and if the Tribune Company is willing to go the extra mile or just take their chances on Magglio or settle for Jeromy Burntiz since they have a capable center fielder already. They certainly could be a nice fit and would have a pretty athletic outfield with Corey Patterson and Carlos Beltran roaming Wrigley with two young infielders in Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in the infield who can produce 120 homers amongst the four of them for years to come.

    Then there are the Detroit Tigers. I'm not even going to get into this one since it is obvious they would have to significantly outbid everyone and actually get close to the 10 year / $200 million number for him to go there. Their team, while certainly improved since 2003, is a few arms and a bat away from being competitive in the AL Central and have failed to bring in any more marquee names after Troy Percival was signed early this off season and signing Derek Lowe will not be their answer to being a serious contender in the Central even if they added Beltran. They still have I-Rod as their main attraction and the willingness to spend some cash, but they would have a long way to go before they can get Beltran. Their farm system is not exactly strong even though that have few nice arms down there. If they sign him, it would certainly be a cold day in hell and Beltran would not be basing his decision on being a sustained winner.

    As for the Yankees, their farm system sucks, but who cares? They have no use for their farm system except to trade them mid season to bolster their club in whatever area they failed to take care of with their enormous payroll. To fill that need they have managed to retain Eric Duncan in spite of the Randy Johnson deal and he will be fodder to fill in whatever hole they have come the trading deadline. I'm sure everyone is hoping he has a breakout season in 2005 to pump up his value. If Carlos is looking for a sustained winner and a shot to be in the playoffs year after year, he's found his place. George has the dedication (or deep pockets...whatever) to win but the Yankees have some negatives. Forget the fact he will not even be the marquee name, but their all business persona seems to suck the life out of players and seems to diminish the fun they are having on the field (i.e. Jason Giambi). This past off season you could see the Red Sox were seemingly having more fun and it comes across on the field and while watching the game on TV. Also, plenty of other stars have been there and have been turned into junk whether it be under the pressure or just on off year. Ask Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras if they would sign there again. A bad year could have the boss stating in the NY newspapers "this is not the guy we thought were signing" just as he did with Hideki Matsui in 2003. There is no room for error and everything will be magnified while with the Yankees much more than any other team including the Mets. The question that everything boils down to is whether or not Carlos thinks he will be 100% comfortable in the eye of the storm? Not only that, but their pitching staff is far from a sure thing. Outside of Johnson, the entire staff could have ERAs over 4.50. Mussina is way overpaid and underproductive at this point, Pavano and Wright have only posted under a 4.21 ERA three times in a combined 15 years of major league service and could be in for a very rude awakening in the AL East pitching against some highly charged offensive teams in small ballparks, and Kevin Brown is an unmitigated disaster. Their rotation could be a huge letdown. The Mets rotation may very well end up looking much better by the end of the 2005 season. There is also speculation of how high the Yankees will be willing to go with their payroll. I played around with some numbers in my post on Friday and it boils down to whether or not the Yankees are willing to go to $220 million for 2005 and 2006 and who knows how much in the years beyond that as their luxury tax just keeps getting steeper. For every dollar they are over this season it is taxed at a whopping 40%. A $16,000,000 deal for Beltran means an additional $6,400,000 in luxury taxes. The Yankees have yet to formally make an offer but could be waiting for the final hour to make an offer to trump everyone else’s or may simply be waiting past the 8th on the idea Beltran and Boras are waiting for their offer and will simply have Houston drop out by making Beltran choose past the deadline of the 8th. Who really knows? One thing is clear though, this team does not need him. They finished 1st in 2002 in runs scored, 4th in 2003, and 2nd in 2004. They may want him in an effort to get younger since they stand to have no starter under 30 in the field, but they surely do not need him and whether not a team truly needs them is something that may be important to him.

    That leaves our Mets. It has been documented time and time again why they would be a fit in various places. They actually need him in addition to wanting him, they are a very multi-cultural clubhouse and front office may be enticing as the Mets are the only team chasing Carlos that can offer that, they can afford to be big players in the free agent market year after year which is only something the Yankees can offer outside the Mets of the team pursuing him, they have some young major league ready stars in Reyes, Wright, and Diaz which is something that only the Cubs can boast in terms of surrounding him with youth, they still have some solid minor league talents on the way, and he could be the marquee attraction which is something every other team but the Yankees cannot offer. Signing Beltran would be business as usual with Yankees. The Mets could certainly build around him and have the youth to in Diaz, Wright, Reyes, and Milledge to support him in the field and have one of the best pitching staffs in the NL with Humber, Petit, Hernandez, Durkin, Hyde, Keppel, and Soler on the horizon in terms of arms. With money to spend in the free agent market, a new network, and a core of young and solid prospects on the way, Beltran can help be a huge part in a Mets team that could be on the cusp of being competitive for ten years and being competitive as soon as 2005 in a weak NL East. Believe it or not, the Mets have the rotation to be in every game and if they address their offensive needs, they can make some noise.

    If I were Beltran the Cubs would be first on my list. If they actually submit an offer and are in the same ballpark in terms of their contract offer they are such a perfect fit and a ideal landing spot for him due to their young core of players on the team now combined with the strongest farm system out of any other interested team, the fact they play in a large market, and the friendliness of Wrigley to hitters (problem is no one knows if they will actually submit an offer). After that, I'd truly pick the Mets. The talented youth they have and the ones on the verge of contributing, their TV network, their need for his marquee name as a main attraction, and their multicultural organization are terrific fits. Omar can turn this team into a sustained winner and I'll guarantee the Mets will be more competitive than the Astros in 2007 through 2014 with or without Beltran while the Astros will be struggling. Next would be the Yankees if they actually submit an offer. For the only reason they are competitive every year like Beltran wants but a lot of their players will all turn geriatric pretty soon (a lot of them are geriatric already too) and they will have Mt. Fuji size contracts that cannot be moved. Maybe Carlos will be looking for a more youthful and energetic team. As for the Astros, they will not be contenders year in and year out. They've had great run of not finishing any where less than 2nd place since 1994. But they are starting to look really old and will need to shell out huge dollars to keep Oswalt and Berkman when the time comes and it is coming soon. The Astros would have two or three good chances at being a playoff team if they sign Beltran, but they need to revamp their farm system and keep some soon to be high priced players while replacing two future Hall of Famers in Bagwell and Biggio. The Tigers would be last on my list for obvious reasons. Call me crazy, but that's how it would shake out for me and I do realize I'm a bit slanted towards my favorite team, but that is the way I see it and that is how I see everyone being a fit for Beltran in terms of his desire to be competitive for a long time combined with an atmosphere that he make be comfortable in.

    Besides, the Mets have a wild card in Omar Minaya who is the only GM that can speak to Beltran in his own language. Believe it or not, that matters to some people and it could help in this case. Beyond that, Omar seems to have the loyalty of many players who have been part of the organizations he has been in and remains loyal, albeit a bit too loyal in some cases, to them today despite some bad years and remains optimistic in their abilities. He has also publicly came out and stood behind his new second baseman in Kaz Matsui saying he deserves another chance to prove he is the player everyone thought he was instead of throwing him under the bus like Steinbrenner did to Hideki Matsui in 2003 despite all the adjustments he had to make. Or the way he could not wait to get rid of Contreras despite the adjustments and difficulties he was going through. Baseball is a business, I understand that. The business is to win and along the way you will hit some bumps in the road and have some disappointments with some players but there are ways to handle things with tact. I may be naive, but loyalty and honesty are still important to some people and I do not know Beltran and I do not know how those things weigh in his mind but I can say with a lot of certainly Omar will back is man now and seven years down the line no matter what and remain loyal. That cannot be said for the team and the front office in the Bronx.