From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.
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NBCsports.com recently published their Mets preseason preview. Good stuff here but no big surprises. The Mets should be as good as last year and if anything collapses, it’ll be the starting rotation. Pedro’s hurt, Glavine’s old and the rest is just plain questionable. So the teams hitting might keep them in the race, but it’ll be the pitching staff that wins it for them.
Baseball is more and more becoming an international sport. Mets general manager Omar Minaya is helping foster the internationalization of the sport by heading to Africa of all places to hold a baseball clinic in Accra, Ghana. In addition to Minaya, former major leaguers Dave Winfield, Dusty Baker, Dave Stewart, Bob Watson and Reggie Smith will all be making the trip as well.
This is the largest effort that baseball has ever made in Africa and it’s the kind of thing that you really hope catches on. Not only in Africa, but in other places like China where the Yankees are heading. It’s also very cool that the Mets will be making some of the largest inroads into Africa. Not that there’s a major league ready pitcher or anything over there waiting to be found, but you never know.
With Pedro Martinez’s injury and the age of Orlando Hernandez and Tom Glavine, the Mets need insurance when it comes to the starting rotation. They got a little bit of insurnace by signing Aaron Sele to a minor league contract. Sele had a pretty mediocre year last season for the Dodgers but he didn’t throw nearly as bad as he did from 2003 through 2005. Sele’s last really good year was 2001 when he went 15-5 for the Mariners.
This is a pretty low risk move though. If he doesn’t make the big league club, the Mets aren’t on the hook for much cash. If he shows he might have something left in the tank, then the team could have a bargain on it’s hands.
The Mets must really believe in Willie Randolph because they agreed to a three year, $5.65 million contract extension yesterday. This is an interesting move and while I like Willie Randolph and the helm of the team, I’m also a little skeptical and think this is a big year for the franchise. Yes, the team improved in 2006 but they also had a boatload more talent. Then again, the Mets won the division for the first time in 18 years so it’s all good. I can’t think of any better out there who could handle the team so the extension probably makes sense.
Congratulations to Carlos Delgado. He and his wife are due to have their first child in early April and while this might cause Delgado to miss a few games, it’s perfectly understandable. In the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t matter too much because the Mets will probably win the division by 15 games again anyway. Regardless of what Jimmy Rollins says.
The Mets signed a slew of players yesterday and last night. They finalized the deal with Scott Schoeneweis that I already touched on and they also signed Jorge Sosa to a one year, $1.25 million deal. Sosa had a tough year last season with the Braves Sosa had a very nice season in 2005 before falling off of a cliff in 2006. For $1.25 million though, I think he’s worth a gamble.
The Mets also signed Endy Chavez ($1.725 million) and Ramon Castro ($850k) to one year deals to avoid arbitration. Both are reserve players but Chavez makes for a very nice fourth outfielder. Castro will back up Paul Lo Duca.
The Mets signed Oliver Perez to a one year, $2.325 million dollar deal yesterday and in the process, they avoided arbtitration with the right handed starter. Perez had a very rough season last year in which he went 3-13 with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP but he went 1-0 in two starts against the Cardinals in the NLCS.
He’ll be three years removed from his breakout season back in 2004 but for the price, I think Perez is a guy worth taking a look at. I have a feeling Perez will either be a mainstay in the rotation the entire season or he’ll be gone by the trade deadline.
The Mets shored up their bullpen yesterday when they came to an agreement with left handed relief pitcher Scott Schoeneweis. They’ll be paying him $10.8 million over three years. Schoeneweis split time between the Blue Jays and the Reds last year and after getting traded to Cincinnati, he was virtually unhittable.
This is a versatile guy who’s done it all in his career. Need a closer? He can fill in. Need a spot starter? He can do that too. Primarily he’ll be used against lefties, who hit just .231 against him over his career and over the past three years, left handed hitters have managed just one homerun off of him.
The Mets gave themselves a little bit of depth at catch by re-signing Mike DiFelice to a minor league deal. He’ll be the number three catcher and like the past few years, he’ll spend most of his time at Triple A. DiFelice is one of those career backups you only find at the catcher position but he provides someone solid just in case both Paul Lo Duca and Ramon Castro go down.
Baseball America recently unveiled their list of the top ten Mets prospects. There’s no surprise that right hander Mike Pelfrey tops the list. The Mets number one pick in 2005 was considered the top pitching prospect in the draft but dropped because of signability issues. In the end, the Mets paid big time for the prospects so hopefully he’ll be the stud everyone thinks he is. Pelfrey made four different stops last year and even his two starts at Triple A were good ones. Unless he really shines this spring though, I’d hope he starts back in Triple A for a time. You could definitely see him in the rotation in the second half of the season though.
Coming at number two is outfielder Fernando Martinez. This kid is only 17 years old and he struggled once he got to High A, which isn’t surprising because he’s in over his head with 20 year olds. Expect him to start back up at High A and this time he gets it done.
Carlos Gomez (OF), Phillip Humber (RHP), and Deolis Guerra (RHP) round out the top five.
The overall prognosis for the Mets farm system is they have some studs, but not a ton of depth. Hopefully those studs are the real deal, because if they are, the Mets are good for a while.
The Mets re-signed right handed relief pitcher Duaner Sanchez to a one year, $850,000 deal and in the process, they’ll avoid arbitration with the reliever. Sanchez had a nice season for the Mets last year and while he struck out only 44 in 55 1/3 innings, he held opposing batters to a .223 batting average. He was particularly good against righties, who hit only .179 against him.
The Mets still have three players who are eligible for arbitration. Oliver Perez is the most interesting while Ramon Castro and Endy Chavez both still haven’t signed a contract.
The Mets signed David Newhan to a one year deal. Newhan’s a solid reserve player who can play pretty much anywhere on the field. He was out most of last year with a broken leg. His best year came in 2004 when he hit .311 with eight homeruns in 373 at bats. It’s the only season of his career that he amassed more then 220 at bats in a given season.
Nate Silver touched on a trade rumor that would send Lastings Milledge to the Athletics for Joe Blanton in a BP Unfiltered piece. Silver thinks Milledge has a very fine future and goes on to say if the Mets pull the trigger for Blaton, they’ll be getting ripped off. Good stuff.
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