Lazy Spring Days
I like Spring Training. It means real baseball is coming back. However, real baseball is still a bit away. Until then, we get games that do not mean much and stats that are very hard to decipher and that are for the most part meaningless. We also just get a plethora of human interest stories, fluff, and nonsense in the papers and on the internet. However, I must carry on.
The two biggest things emerging for me this spring are Carlos Beltran and the Mets rotation depth. I am not calling Beltran soft just yet as it would be extremely hard for me to make that determination. I do understand different people have different pain thresholds and different ways of dealing with things, but this is getting crazy.
"When you have surgery, you lose all the muscle in your quads, everything goes away," Beltran said. "Because the knees are fixed, the sensation of tendonitis I was having, I don't have anymore. But if I don't strengthen my quads, then all the pounding is going to be in the knees, and I'm going to aggravate the knees again."
He is undoubtedly one of my more favorite players in the league to watch. He has the elegance of stripper plying her craft on the pole when he plays and has a tremendous batting eye, the ability to hit for prodigious power, and a spectacular glove. However, we have rarely seen him 100% and he is not afraid to tell everyone about it.
Beltran, 30, was not lacking any confidence when he showed up for spring training and immediately echoed Jimmy Rollins' boast of the previous year by proclaiming the Mets "the team to beat."
Maybe he should have waited to make that statement until he was healthy and able to contribute. As for the rotation depth, I have been giving it more thought. The Mets need to see if Lohse will do a one year deal. Pelfrey might have to be a sacrificial lamb, but they have simply too much riding on this season to not hedge their bets.
There is only upside here and even if the Wilpons go over budget a bit, it will repay them immeasurably. With Lohse, the Mets will have four guys capable of 200 innings, which is just nuts. That should allay any concerns about the bullpen and give the Mets a seven deep staff which means no more Dave Williams, Chan Ho Parks, etc. I cannot say enough how important this is.
Maine, who will be eligible for arbitration next year, did not sign the contract, which calls for a marginal bump, according to the Mets' salary slotting for pre-arbitration players. David Wright and Aaron Heilman also did not sign their contracts when they were renewed in years past. A signed contract could imply a player is satisfied, which could later impact arbitration.
"I'm not even worried about that," said Maine, a 15-game winner who earned $391,000 last season. "I'll still be able to pay off my cell phone bill."
Good to see someone has perspective and if Maine repeats '07 this season, he will be paid.
Maine is hoping the Mets will reach out to him with a multi-year offer before he gets to the arbitration process next off-season. A source close to the 26-year-old starter told The Post preliminary talks already have begun.
"[Maine] loves pitching in New York and loves pitching for the Mets," the source said. "He's not a guy who worries about what other people are doing."
While some people will tell fans to stop crying about these players complaining about their salaries, it is nice to see a guy like Maine around. He may not be ecstatic, but he realizes how good he has it and comes out looking very good after all of this.
"I'm thankful for everything I make in this league," he told The Post. "It's still a lot of money, and I'm grateful to the Mets. That's just the type of person I am. I'm lucky to be doing this for a living."
We here things about character guys all the time and Maine seems to be one of those guys and the Mets will take care of him.
The Mets' All-Star shortstop said he couldn't be happier about following Derek Jeter as the face of the video game's 2008 version, released nationally yesterday.
He is not David Wright when it comes to the media and maybe he makes some bad decisions, but he is a good ballplayer who has a certain style to his game that rubs some people the wrong way. I also just want to point out that Jose Reyes rubs some people the wrong way as well, including his manager.
“Man, it’s a tough situation for me right now because I’m at a point where I feel like the position I’m in, there’s a certain standard that needs to be put in place here,” said Papelbon after his scoreless inning of work in the Red Sox’ 5-3 victory over the Pirates. “I feel like with me being at the top of my position, I feel like that standard needs to be set and I’m the one to set that standard."
Why do the players need to feel like they are battling the owners? Yes, the rake in a lot of money but they own the teams and players get compensated very well for what they do. The owners are not the enemy.