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

Friday, November 16, 2007

Common Sense Prevails!

The LoDuca lovers (just speculation that he is the apple of their eye) are out in full force. Look, I do not love Yorvit. However, what else was out there? The trade possibilities were uninspiring and the Mets need to hang onto whatever little prospects they have if no one was appreciably better. Besides, you cannot overlook the fact that Ramon Castro, who might be better than anyone they have been looking at or rumored to be looking at, is still around and will get a large chunk of playing time.

Jonathan (Dallas, TX): The Mets have officially signed Yorvit Torrealba. The downfall of Omar Minaya has begun.

SportsNation Keith Law: Torrealba's not a good player - didn't make my top 50 free agents - but what were the alternatives on the market? He's not blocking anyone. They didn't pass on a significantly better free agent catcher, unless you want to roll the dice on Barrett bouncing back (which he will, but there's risk there). In the abstract, it's a bad signing. In context, it's understandable.

If you can name some type of scenario where the Mets make out better, I would love to know. Ramon Hernandez would have been nice, but he was not going to share time with Castro and he would have cost a top prospect and would not have been a complete salary dump. Laird? Is he all that much better of a choice? Shoppach? I'm a big fan of him, but there is still some uncertainty there and he would have cost more talent than Laird even though Castro could be better.

jLuft: So Shoppach can't hit outside breaking pitches. Yorvit can't hit...at all. Aren't there minor leaguers, salary dumps (Ramon Hernandez?), or younger and cheaper players (Shoppach) that would easily be able to equal or beat Yorvit's production and not require a multi-year deal? I don't see how this is a defensible signing. What do you project Yorvit to hit next year with Shea as his home park?

SportsNation Keith Law: You have to give something up in players to get those other guys. And I don't think the Mets wanted to deal any of their better prospects to fill the catching hole when they might want to have them available to go after a big SP.

I think the main thing people are glazing over with this signing is that Yorvit will not be the everyday starter and there will be two guys getting significant amounts of time. I will guarantee that the two headed monster of Torrealba and Castro will put up better numbers than anyone the Mets were looking at. This is not a bad thing at all. Is it a great thing? Shit no, but it is more of an innocuous move that does not deserve as much ire and attention as it is getting. Remember, the key word to this off-season should be prudent. The Mets simply cannot panic as a result of their meltdown and this move was a prudent move when you factor in the other options and Ramon Castro.

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  • Now to second base....

    Andre (GA): Hey Keith, I have a 2 part question: I kinda feel Luis Castillo is too old, almost no power and too expensive to man 2B for the mets. How ready is Ruben Gotay to play there as a regular and is he worth it?? and two with Minaya expressing his desire to trade young talent for an ace pitcher, who do see becoming a trading partner with the Mets and what player might be involved??

    SportsNation Keith Law: The Mets don't feel Gotay is good enough defensively to handle 2b. I think his range is fine, and he needs work turning the double play, but that can improve with work. His bat is ready - I'd take his bat over Castillo's, especially since Castillo is old, slowing down, and getting a little thick. The Mets will kick the tires on any #1/#2 starters made available, but right now only Erik Bedard really fits that bill, and Baltimore would like to make sure they can't sign him long-term before they shop him.

    As Danny stated yesterday and as we have discussed before, a Gotay and Easley platoon would be just fine. No need to go crazy at second if you do not have to and it certainly gives the Mets some leverage. They are not desperate, but it would be nice to upgrade.

    Castillo for longer than two years would be a disaster and Omar should know that. The fact that Houston is looking at Castillo for a long time and are looking to add Cordero as well is mind boggling. When they should be looking at rebuilding, they are looking at bringing in more pieces that will not be around when they are winning. Fucking ponderous.

  • It looks like Jake Peavy and the Padres are going to be talking contract extension and that is upsetting. However, not as upsetting as I thought it would be since I thought he was going to be a free agent after the '08 season, but it turns out he had an option for '09 anyway. The Padres are not poor and Barry Axelrod is not Scott Boras. I fully expect something to be in place prior to the beginning of the season.

  • Wallace Matthews is being a negative nelly again and he did not have to wait long to eat his words.

    If anyone is being used here, it's the Yankees, but they must know this, mustn't they? Because if they believe they're getting Rodriguez in a room by himself, they must also believe somebody can do a better job of managing this team than Joe Torre. (Oh, wait a minute ... )

    Ziiiiing! Ha ha...he's so funny with that subtle knock at the Yankees. First, Joe Girardi is probably going to be a better manager than Torre in many, many, many respects. Second, A-Rod has signed already.

    The sides still are working on putting together a provision that would allow Rodriguez to share revenue created by his pursuit of the career home record held by Barry Bonds, who was indicted Thursday on perjury and obstruction charges. A-Rod has 518 homers, 244 shy of the mark.

    Well, Matthews is part right I guess because A-Rod's deal has Boras written all over it. It is a bizarre and hard to determine provision. Or at least I would presume it to be hard to determine for a team that already sells out all of it's games and maximizes their revenue.

    "Because he's generating such enormous revenue potential, both to the player and the club, there should be some way for the player and the club to capitalize on that achievement in some fashion," said Gene Orza, the union's chief operating officer. "The devil will be in the details. The minds of men and women in the sport should be able to figure this out."

    Shocking statement from the player's union. Really, take more money out of the owner's pocket and put it into the pocket of a player?

    "There are a few cynics who say, 'Well, he really couldn't get this there,' " Steinbrenner said. "Trust me, he would have gotten probably more. He is making a sacrifice to be a Yankee, there's no question. ... He showed what was really in his heart and what he really wanted."

    Everyone is in save face mode. The Yankees are saying he came crawling back to them. A-Rod is saying he finally had an epiphany. Who gives a shit. Everyone made out and no one is going to give two shits about this come the start of the season much less three years from now. I am just very excited the A-Rod watch is over.

    I think Neyer said it best though...

    We've been reading that A-Rod came back to the Yankees because he's been so disturbed by all the nasty things people have been saying about him. Sorry. I'm not buying that. I think he's come back for the same reason the Yankees have reneged on their sworn promise to spurn all negotiations if he opted out of his old deal: business.

    Rodriguez simply wasn't going to get that $35 million per season that Scott Boras was talking about. Not from the Yankees or anyone else. And it seems he wasn't going to get even $30 million from anyone else. Teams really have wised up. Crawling back to the Steinbrothers is simply good business for A-Rod and his agent.

    The Yankees need a third baseman. They literally have more money than they can spend this winter, considering the thin crop of free agents who might be slotted into the roster. Yes, they look a little silly, negotiating with A-Rod so soon after swearing they absolutely, positively would not. You know what? Nobody's going to care. People say things they don't really mean all the time, and the grown-ups all knew it (even if I didn't). Locking up A-Rod forever is simply good business for the Yankees.

    None of this is about pride, or redemption, or egos. It's about business.

    Just an aside, A-Rod is still a big douche.

  • Jeter is a criminal. So is Bonds.

    Wait. Barry did steroids? Get out of here. I'm shocked. Can we all stop this? Barry did roids and lied about it, but a lot of other people did as well. Sure, not in front of a Federal Grand Jury, but we are talking about baseball and steroids. He impeded a legal proceeding, which is a bad thing, but so did the former President of the United States.

    Now this is all supposed to tarnish his legacy? It should be just as tarnished as it was two days ago, which is marginally and I'm not buying "but now we reeeaaalllllyy know" argument. To act like this is all Bonds' fault it nuts. This steroid debacle was everyone's fault and is similar to the mortgage mess. The mortgage mess is the brokers fault for originating the loans, the investors fault for having an appetite for riskier loans with high interest rates which had driven the entire market, the rating agencies faults for putting those risky securities on par with government bonds, the borrowers faults for not being a more educated consumer (I mean it is only the biggest investment you will make in your life), etc.

    How has Bonds become the fall guy for this steroid era? When the Mitchell report comes out, many, many, many big names will be named and yet everyone wants to vilify Bonds for taking steroids as if he was the only one. Again, cheating in the game of baseball has been around since the first pitch in many forms. For me, I do not seperate forms of cheating. In sports, everyone tries to get a leg up on the competition. That does not make it ok, but cheating is certainly not isolated and certainly not new.

    If this impacts his Hall of Fame bid, it will be a shame. It is widely believed he was a Hall of Famer anyway and I could see how steroids would take a borderline guy out, but he is not a borderline guy. What if it comes out that Roger Clemens took them? Nothing. He will not be vilified and he will be in the Hall of Fame and I wonder why Bonds is getting treated differently.
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    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    10 Things That Need To Happen

    Dayn Perry lays out his ten things that need to happen most in regards to this off-season.

    1. Alex Rodriguez to the Angels

    That is what many people saw as the ultimate destination for A-Rod and there is obviously the great need for offense that the Angels have. However, the biggest priority for the Yankees this off-season should be retaining A-Rod and it looks like that is something they have come to terms with.

    2. Johan Santana to the Mets

    Given Santana's peerless skills and the demand for him on the market, it'll take a lot to get him — say, a package of Fernando Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Philip Humber. Still, nabbing Santana means the Mets would be the power team in the NL. They've got the deep pockets to sign him to a long-term extension.

    If that was the deal on the table, I would do that in a heartbeat. My only fear is that leaves Carlos Gomez as the only to position prospect and he has a lot more uncertainty than Lastings Milledge in my eyes.

    3. Miguel Cabrera to the Yankees

    The Gotham media and Yankee partisans have a long-standing habit of A) Grossly overestimating the team's mid-grade prospects and B) Assuming other teams, when it comes to making trades, will gleefully and deferentially bend over. That's not how things work (at least not since the A's were in Kansas City). You can keep Philip Hughes, Yanks, but getting a player of Cabrera's gifts is going to cost you Joba Chamberlain and Jose Tabata.

    I do not think Perry could have nailed this one on the head any more. Yes, he would be a great fit and yes, the Yankees mid-level prospects are grossly overrated. Outside of their pitching duo of Hughes and Chamberlain, only Cano could be included as a centerpiece for a big time player.

    4. Mariano Rivera to the Tigers

    That would be something else, no? The Yankees lose A-Rod, Pettite to retirement, and Mariano to the Tigers? Dare to dream..... I guess that would mean Joba is definitely back in the bullpen for the time being until Humberto Sanchez gets healthy, which could be 2009.

    5. Miguel Tejada to the Blue Jays

    A package of young arms centered around Ricky Romero (plus the salary relief) should be enough for the O's.

    He would be nice there, but Romero is basically a non-prospect these days. I used to love him back in his Long Beach days, but he is simply in the Jeremy Sowers arena when it comes to being a prospect. I just do not see a great fit unless the Blue Jays want to pony up Adam Lind in any deal which would probably get the Orioles attention.

    6. Torii Hunter to the Dodgers

    That would certainly seem like a good fit if they fail to get A-Rod because they need to add some serious pop. It could also be argued that he would be a better fit overall than A-Rod if they give Kemp, LaRoche, and Loney full time spots from day one.

    7. Francisco Cordero to the Cubs

    Signing Cordero not only gives the Cubs a huge upgrade at closer, but it also deprives their chief division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers, of their best reliever.

    I don't know much about #2 since he is not going back to the Brewers anyway and they give the Brewers their first round draft pick, but Cordero makes any team instantly better so it is hard to argue with the Cubbies really making their solid bullpen into a tremendous one.

    8. Jon Garland to the Brewers

    For the Brewers to trade anything away for one year of Garland would be curious. If they planned to chase him as a cheaper alternative to Ben Sheets that is one thing, but they certainly wouldn't be well advised to trade for him to make a run at the playoffs in '08. The Brewers have a good thing going and are on their way to being a contender for a while. They would be better off trading Sheets for a younger arm that could contribute down the line.

    9. Geoff Jenkins to the Indians

    Have we dropped off this precipitously already? The 9th most important move is for a role player?

    10. Bartolo Colon to the Phillies

    This is a smart deal for a team that needs pitching badly. There simply is not much out there and the Phillies need to get creative. In regards to getting creative, the Mets should definitely seek out Freddy Garcia and see if he can give anything in the rotation or the bullpen in the second half of the season.

    Overall, I think Dayn Perry did a good job here in objectively evaluating talent needed in trades and definitely targeted good fits.

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  • Why would Posada rule out the Mets at this point?

    "We're working on it, we're working on it with the Yankees," Posada said, noting that the two sides are close to reaching an agreement. "We're going to hear from the Mets [tomorrow]."

    It is called leverage. Posada makes tons of sense to the Yankees, but not to the Mets and he will ultimately end up back in the Bronx. The rumored deal is not done officially just yet, but it will be any day now.

  • If Lowell walks, the Red Sox would undoubtedly check into the possibility of A-Rod coming to Boston. In 2007, the New York Yankees spent $189,639,045 and the Boston Red Sox spent $143,026,214. With the Yankees set to lose a substantial amount of payroll, the Red Sox might overtake the Yankees as the team with the highest payroll. The Yankees have not been anything but #1 in that category since 1998. Would John Henry have to rethink this "Evil Empire" tag that he gave the Yankees?

  • Joel Sherman muses about some third sacker options for the Yankees. I actually like the idea of Scott Rolen in pinstripes despite the obvious injury concerns, but the Cardinals need offense badly so they may as well just hang onto him since they probably will not extract all that much in terms of value from trading him.

  • 'Twas a close one in the NL, but the AL was a landslide. You can argue all day about Braun and Tulo, but what Braun did was mesmerizing.
    Tulo was good, but what Braun did was extremely rare and extremely impressive. He kept pace with the universe's best player during one of his top three best seasons in the history of his eventual Hall of Fame career.

  • The ESPN bloggers had some interesting stuff on an uninteresting daythe other day.

    First, Neyer did a quick piece on Mark Cuban.

    I got my turn, too. I asked him what's happening with the Cubs. He said, "I'm tryin'."

    I asked if he really thought the owners would let somebody like him own a team. He said, "I'm tryin'." And then it was on to the next guy.

    Like a lot of baseball fans -- and maybe every Cubs fan, and baseball writer -- I'd love to see Cuban own a team. I just don't think will happen

    During the Q&A portion of Cuban's appearance, he said, "I'm a ready-fire-aim kind of guy."

    Read that again. I thought Cuban misspoke. Wouldn't you know it, the next question from the audience was, "Mark, did you misspeak a minute ago when you said 'ready, fire, aim'?"

    He smiled and said, "Let me think about that ... ready, fire, aim ... yeah. That's right." Another smile (that might be more accurately described as a #@%&-eating grin).

    When was the last time the owners allowed a ready-fire-aim guy to join their little club?

    I've spoken about how much I would love Cuban to own a big league team, but I do not think the Cubbies should be that team. They are already a team that spends money and has resources. However, a team like the Pirates or some other small market team would greatly benefit from the likes of a Mark Cuban who would truly do what it takes to make that team competitive.

    Second, Keith Law laid out who he thought should win the AL and NL Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year Awards.
    Law was behind David Wright as the MVP, which we know will not happen.

    NL MVP
    1. David Wright
    2. Chase Utley
    3. Jake Peavy
    4. Albert Pujols
    5. Matt Holliday
    6. Chipper Jones
    7. Hanley Ramirez
    8. Brandon Webb
    9. Jimmy Rollins
    10. Prince Fielder

    Likely winner: Rollins

    I'm tilting at a windmill here; voters will say the Mets didn't make the playoffs and therefore Wright can't be the MVP. Of course, in those fateful 17 games when the Mets went 4-13, Wright had a hit in every game, had multiple hits in eight, had eight extra-base hits, and in total hit .397/.451/.575 over that span. Yeah, it was all his fault.

    Utley probably would have won the award hands-down had he not missed three-plus weeks due to a broken hand, and he would have passed Wright in total value anyway. But with Utley out and the Phillies still winning, the voters needed someone else to fall in love with, and Rollins was sitting right there on the other side of second base -- think of him as the "rebound MVP candidate."

    He obviously hit the AL and NL CY Young winners as he laid out Sabbathia and Peavy and his choice of A-Rod is going to be correct since he carried the Yankees for so long.

    He also just missed on Tulo, though it was close enough to give him a pass on and hit the Pedroia on the head, though he curiously thought Jeremy Guthrie should have won it.

    He also had a quick bit on Brian Bannister.

    Bannister is an interesting story and deserves to be on the ballot, but among him, Guthrie and Matsuzaka, he's the one I most expect to experience a sophomore slump. He had some extraordinary luck, and in general pitchers who don't miss bats or get groundballs end up giving up a lot of hits and home runs.

    If you were reading my site in 2006, you know my thoughts on Bannister and they are echoed by Law above. However, I think he might have given the Mets that extra win they needed to sneak into the playoffs and Omar's deal is a horrific one in hindsight (in fairness to Omar, a healthy Burgos might have notched that extra win as well). Going forward is another issue. I fully expect a significant regression in 2008 for Bannister and his 2007 will be a distant memory shorty.

    There is always a chance he is one of those guys that just gets it done no matter what scouts say, but I just cannot see that happening. He should be a good 4th or 5th starter in the bigs, but that is really nothing to cry about losing.

  • From Mr. Neyer:

    Doug, Nashville, TN: What happened in 2006-7 that would make it into a new edition of BASEBALL BLUNDERS? Thanks. PS: Tell those coming for the meetings to make it to the Loveless Cafe. Best biscuits in the world.

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: The Brewers didn't handle Ryan Braun particularly well, and Willie Randolph is widely held to have mismanaged his bullpen down the stretch. That said, I don't think either of those would merit a whole chapter.

    It seems Willie's inabilities have circulated into baseball circles which is a good thing when it comes to getting someone a bit better than him at the helm.

    Kalyan (Minneapolis, MN): I have to say Rob, Willie Randolph's mismanagement of the bullpen wasn't just down the stretch, it was all season long. If we're struggling at the All-Star Break we need to fire him.

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: Really? Didn't the Mets have a fantastic relief ERA through the spring? Anyway, I think talk of firing is premature. But assuming he made some mistakes last summer, we'll see if he learned from them. Some guys never do.

  • The Mets appear to be ready to trump everyone for Torrealba.

    The Mets have zeroed in on Torrealba, who played for the National League champion Colorado Rockies, and could offer him a multiyear deal worth as much as $5 million annually, which would be a hefty raise from the $1.075 million he was paid last season. The Rockies remain interested in retaining Torrealba — the Florida Marlins are suitors, too — but have reportedly capped their offer at $7 million for two years and would not match what the Mets would give him.

    While not ideal, he is certainly more attractive than LoDuca in my estimation for the simple fact he is 29. I think there is probably more to him than was seen in 2007 and he will not cost any talent. However, a guy like Gerald Laird still might be a better choice, but he would cost some talent (however little, it would still be talent) for someone that is better defensively, but not all that much better overall.

    Besides, if the Mets bring back Castro, things would be all good. The Mets appear to be set to give him more playing time and he could very well be better than anyone they are looking at on the market and via trade, but Torrealba would provide a solid alternate (though expensive) option should he not be be able to handle increased playing time.

  • I have not used the term Sugar Pants in a while much to many people's happiness, but this quote outlines why David is Sugar Pants.

    "It was more to say hello and he wanted to tell me to be prepared to be the third baseman in 2008," Wright said Monday while visiting sick children at NYU's Medical Center. "That's what I took from it and that's how I'm going about my business."

    "I wanted to let him know that in no way, shape or form does he have to go through me about anything. His job is to make the trades, sign the free agents and I told him that I want to win, first and foremost. But as far as talking about changing positions, talking about Alex Rodriguez, his name did not come up once in the conversation."

  • Not good reports on Kunz.

    The Mets have four pitchers on the Scorpions: lefties Adam Bostick and Eddie Camacho and righties Eddie Kunz (the Mets top pick in 2007) and Carlos Muniz.

    Here's the take from Deric McKamey, advisor to the St. Louis Cardinals and author of the soon-to-be-released, third annual "Minor League Baseball Analyst" (available through BaseballHQ.com or via Amazon):

    "I like Bostick a little more than Camacho. I think Bostick can be a swing-man or two-inning reliever. Camacho to me is a LOOGY (lefty one-out guy). Muniz is going to have trouble getting lefties out, so he's a ROOGY; and you don't see too many of those in the majors."

    "As for Kunz," McKamey continues, "I'm not as big a fan as some scouts. He throws 89-to-94 with a slider in the low-80s and a developing change. His command is an issue, a big problem for a short reliever. He struggled with his control for Oregon State even. I see him as a notch below an Aaron Heilman, more of a seventh-inning guy."

    An American League East scout in attendance at a recent AFL game agrees with McKamey. "I can't believe Kunz was a first-round pick. I think his ceiling right now is Aaron Heilman and not many players reach their ceiling." Technically, Kunz was a first-round sandwich pick (42nd overall).

    If true, you have to wonder what is going on with the Mets and their scouting.

  • Tom Glavine is inching closer to becoming a Brave again, which we all expected.

  • The Red Sox do not appear to be willing to budge on their three year offer to Mike Lowell. Inevitably, the Yankees are not wasting time jumping into the fray, but Mike Lowell's chance to use the Yankees as leverage might evaporate pretty quickly. The Yankees have warmed a bit to the idea of bringing A-Rod back because they would be in trouble without him.

    The New York Yankees are getting close to re-signing third baseman Alex Rodriguez to a multi-year contract that would pay him as much as $290 million, multiple baseball sources told MLB.com as the owners gathered here Wednesday for the final quarterly meetings of the year.

    As long as A-Rod gets a contract above his $250+ million and the Yankees pay less than $30 million a year, everyone saves face.

  • Youlk finally shaved that disaster on this chin.

  • Lastly....for Jake.

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  • Monday, November 12, 2007

    Random Tidbits 11-12-07

  • Tampa Bay's problems will not be solved by a new stadium alone, but I truly think it will help. Ground was broke in 1986 on what is now Tropicana Field and it was finished in 1990. Though many people will point to Shea as being the worst in the bigs, it is clearly the Rays home. Since it was originally designed in the mid 80's, it stands to reason that it is a disaster.

    Anything designed in the mid-80's that is used for baseball was a horrific disaster. The Orioles home was the beginning of state of the art baseball venues and they broke ground in 1989. Unfortunately, Tropicana Field was not meant solely for baseball and they need something better. Also, I love the new ownership's desire to make them a regional team. Most teams are limited to rather close surrounding areas for the most part, but they are trying to capture a much larger area the way Red Sox have all of New England. Can they do it? Probably not, but I give them an 'A' for effort. I doubt they will ever be a powerhouse in regards to media revenue, but they should certainly be able to pack in their proposed 35,000 seat stadium with some winning teams.

  • Culture corner....

    If you have not seen Into the Wild yet, do it. It was a solid offering and Eddie Vedder did a great job on the soundtrack.

    Bon Iver's album For Emma, Forever Ago kicks so much ass I have trouble describing how much ass it kicks. Bon Iver dishes out some insanely good folk music that even the kids will enjoy. Skinny Love and For Emma are two of my favorites, but the entire album is just amazing. It is truly one of my more favorite albums in recent years.

  • Reason leaking into media?

    A Yankees package of Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes and a prospect might not get it done for Santana, agreed a second major-league official. The Twins already have a plethora of young pitching, so their focus is on offense.

    Cabrera, while defensively solid the last two years, put up a below-average .327 on-base percentage and .391 slugging percentage in 2007, his most complete big-league season.

    Yes! Finally some sanity. Cabrera is nothing special and if he was, Hughes and him would have probably gotten it done. However, the Twins need hitting. If they trade Johan and do not get any productive bats back, the trade would be just about pointless and would make draft picks more valuable. Cano is a better start to a package as the article states, but they would certainly need more.

    If they trade Santana for a bunch of solid players like Cano, Kennedy, and a lower level guy with upside, Garza to the Mets (fingers crossed) for Gomez, and Nathan for some more solid players, they would be rather well positioned for the future, no?

  • I have a hard time believing Kevin Kernan is serious in the first few paragraphs of his article. He is suggesting the Mets add $45,000,000 to their current payroll in '08 and $50,000,000+ in '09 and beyond in addition to whatever else is on the field. In the process, he also put a guy at short who's time to play short was up years ago.

    Look, having those guys would be fun, but this is not some alternate reality where money has no bearing. Simply stated, that would be impossible for the Mets to field a competitive team in the long term without seriously hemorrhaging money and please keep that "but this is New York" bullshit to yourself. That is going to be 30% to 40% of the Mets payroll for a looooong time and the team magically gets older in the process. That is a perfect recipe to become the aging Yankees of '01 through '06.

    He does redeem himself by targeting a more realistic player for a better plan in Dan Haren.

  • Beltran may of had an off year in '07, but he was still pretty productive. Carlos and Wright both earned the Silver Slugger award for their respective positions.