From Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden to David Wright, A look at the New York Mets past, present and future.
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The New York Mets finally got their man Tuesday, adding an elite bat in left field, signing free agent Outfielder Jason Bay. The deal is reported to be for 4 years at 66 million dollars with a vesting option for a 5th season, pending a physical. The one time Mets property, is a 3 time all star and posted .267 average with 36 homers and 119 rbi in 151 games in 2009. Over the past 5 years, he averaged 150 games played. Since 2005, he ranks 4th in homers(155) and 5th in rbi(514) among major league outfielders. Only the great Albert Pujols(.697) posted a better slugging percentage with runners in scoring position(.676) in 2009.
Bloggers Opinion: Great, Great day for Mets and GM Omar Minaya. Covered this guy with the Pirates and follow the Red Sox to an extent with several friends residing in the greater Boston area. Excellent offensive player and solid all around player, can field and run the bases as well. Great locker room guy and unlike fellow FA OF Matt Holliday, thrived under the pressure and spotlight of the American League. The Mets work is not done- must sign a starting C(Bengie Molina) and add at least 1 starting pitcher(Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland and Doug Davis candidates) , that said, this is a HUGE move for NY and fills a much needed position in Left.
Hope everyone has had a great holiday season so far… Battling a cold and my shoulder is still about 50%(for me)…. If you know a good surgeon, hit me up here!
The Mets have finalized a deal with ex Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar to a 1 yr deal worth 1.5 million if he makes the club out of spring training. GM Omar Minaya sees him as an 8th inning set-up man for closer Francisco Rodriquez.
No word on OF Jason Bay, who was viewed as the Mets top free agent target. However with inactivity, you wonder how serious he is to coming to NY. Legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons claims Bay would rather play in Beirut than Queens(Radio interview on Christmas eve) while ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks the Mets will focus on SP Joel Pineiro in the pitching market. Olney also believes the team has between 15-22 million to spend and might sign 3-4 solid ML players instead of 1 or 2 big ticket items.
Free agent RHP Jason Marquis agreed to a 2 year, 15 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals Monday. The Long Island native was thought to be an off-season target of the Mets.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark is reporting NY is talking to veteran SP Pedro Martinez about a return to Queens. However, the proud righty is seeking a salary in the Brad Penny range(1 yr/8 million with incentives) and Mets management might balk at this.
No updates on LF Jason Bay or C Bengie Molina at this time.
I still think the Mets will sign those two and add a top 3 starting pitcher, a Joel Pineiro or Jon Garland type. You also see lots of rumors involving 2B Luis Castillo involved.
Media outlets in St. Louis have the Cardinals offering 8 years at 16 million per year. to free agent OF Matt Holliday. Just a crazy offer. Jason Bay is a similiar player(many, including this blogger ,think he is the superior talent-check out their stats vs. AL pitching!) and he is struggling to get 5 yr offers. This is why Scott Boras’ can use dollar bills as napkins at his office. STUPID.
Mets free agent target starting pitcher John Lackey signed with the Boston Red Sox 5 yrs/85 million. That is a big signing but a HUGE 3 team blockbuster offsets that today. The Toronto Blue Jays traded ace Roy Halladay to the Mets chief rival, 2 time defending NL champion, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies then moved mid season acquisition Cliff Lee to Seattle. The Jays received prospects that have yet to be named. BIG day on the calendar for MLB!
The big question? How does this impact the Mets? I think this makes them the favorite to sign LF Jason Bay. The Red Sox appear to be ready to move on & make a trade with their surplus of pitching and maybe sign a free agent or smaller.non-tendered type bat at either 3B or in LF, a Garrett Atkins or Mike Cameron come to mind. I think the Mets will get Bay and add another top 3 starter, a Joel Pineiro or Jason Marquis. 2B is another position they could upgrade with offense(Marlins 2B Dan Uggla?) and they will sign a veteran to spell 2nd year man Daniel Murphy at First. Power hitting 1B Carlos Delgado might welcome a return to Citifield and the Mets are rumored to be interested.
Numerous reports have the Mets making offers to both free agent OF Jason Bay(reported 4 yrs/63 million) and C Bengie Molina(2 yrs,possible vesting option included?). ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports their are signs the club also made a contract offer to FA RH SP John Lackey. New York Newsday refutes this and claims the two sides have not exchanged numbers.
UPDATE: Numerous reports have Bay turning down the latest contract offer from the Red Sox, which is believed to be less than the Mets. Good news for fans in Flushing. I think this will be resolved soon.
The team also signed veteran RHP Elmer Dessens to a minor league deal.
The NY Post is reporting that both P Tim Redding and OF Jeremy Reed will be non-tendered by tonight’s Midnight deadline, making them both free agents. While SP John Maine, key LH set up man Pedro Feliciano and starting RF Jeff Francoeur will be brought back.
Ex Met reliever J.J. Putz signed with the Chicago White Sox , for 1 yr at 3 million.
Notable Non-tenders: NY Yankees SP Chien-Ming Wang, Atlanta 2B Kelly Johnson, Washington OF Ryan Church, Colorado INF Garrett Atkins, Tampa Bay C Dionner Navarro, San Diego Padres SP Kevin Correia — More to follow by Midnight tonight
Not much activity involving the Mets this week. Team is heavily linked to free agent C Bengie Molina as well as OFs Matt Holliday and Jason Bay. Mixed bag on FA SP John Lackey, some media has the Mets in,others out. Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis remain unsigned and have been rumored to be targets. The club has also been linked to former Met and current FA RP Darren Oliver.
Lets break down the major moves so far:
1- The 3 way trade involving the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees. Rare trade here that I see this making sense for all 3 clubs. Arizona, who added SP Edwin Jackson, now has 3 very good starting pitchers in a strong NL West. Ian Kennedy also has good upside. The Tigers are saddled with both bad contracts and several free agents. They needed to fill spots on their ML roster and get younger. Austin Jackson is a tremendous talent(5 tools according to my ML scout friends) and Max Scherzer has an elite arm. Phil Coke was a good part of the a strong Yankees relief corps while Daniel Schlereth adds a lefty with power stuff. All 3 pitchers should be on the 2010 Tigers and could start or relieve. The Yankees acquired a great guy and very good defensive CF. He struggles vs. lefties(.183 vs southpaws in 180 ABs in 2009) but will hit 35+ bombs in that park. He can also run and is among the best character guys in the game. One of the more underrated aspects of the 2009 Yankees was the fact that GM Brian Cashman added quality people around mentally soft Alex Rodriquez.(Robin, not Batman) A Nick Swisher, A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira made that club actually likeable. This also allows NYY management to play hardball with both FAs Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. With Melky Cabrera still on the team, they can plug him in LF.
2-Improved Brewers pitching- Club signed both a top 3 starting pitcher(Randy Wolf) and top set-up man ( Latroy Hawkins) to an exciting and improving club. The Brewers drew over 3 million fans in 2009 and with talented youngsters Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder combining for almost 80 homers, pitching had to be a priority. Excellent job by Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin.
3- The Baltimore Orioles made an interesting move, trading for veteran SP Kevin Millwood. The Orioles, who are in full rebuild mode, need a father figure for their young pitching and Milwood filled a similiar role with the Rangers in 2009. The Os shipped out ex-closer Chris Ray, who struggled in 09(0-4,7.27) a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Rangers dump salary(pick up 3 million save 7 million) and the Orioles get an ace who can allow their youngsters to slot under him. Another trade that makes sense for both teams.
Commentary: I wrote in my Detroit Tigers off-season game plan that a question many Tigers fans should ask is how GM Dave Dombrowski still had a job. This trade is an example of why he shouldn’t. Baseball wise, he did well here. But- and this is a big but- the #1 reason Curtis Granderson is no longer a Detroit Tiger is this administrations pile of silly and nonsensical contracts this GM handed out. Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Carlos Guillen and Jeremy Bonderman are just 4 of the awful deals that are almost unmoveable. The Maglio Ordonez option situation(rumored to be ordered by ownership) would be almost manageable if this team did not have these other crazy deals. Most of these players are in sharp decline(Ordonez) or useless(Willis) and this trade gives DD and the Tigers bodies to cover for the financial mess they created. The economic situation and declining attendance at Red Wings games(Owner MIke Ilitch is losing his shirt) does not help. AWFUL, AWFUL situation and very hard for young fans to understand this is a business. Many have asked me over my career why I hate the Red Sox and will never EVER root for them again. Keep in mind, I grew up with the mid 70s Sox teams- Yaz, Rice, Lynn, Lee, Fisk,Evans,etc. The Yawkey ownership and GM Haywood Sullivan refused to spend money and make the moves needed to secure a potential dynasty in the making. I often cried myself to sleep as these dopes ran off my heroes over silly dollar amounts or contract deadlines.(You ever want to laugh, google Carlon Fisk leaves the Red Sox, amazing that the stiff the Sox paraded out to replace him had the same last name as the GM!) I learned at that point that sports is a business, always has been, always will be. Young fans in Detroit just learned that painful lesson today.
No major moves to report regarding your Mets with only minor signings occurting throughout major league baseball.
1- Team signed veteran C-1B Chris Coste and he is now on the Mets 40 roster. Good receiver and not much a bat, could be a mentor to super prospect Josh Thole with the parent club or at Triple A. Veteran Henry Blanco is also rumored to be coming to Citi-Field.
2- The Mets did not offer salary arbitration to any of their 6 free agents- 1B Carlos Delgado, INF-OF Fernando Tatis, OF Gary Sheffield, RP J.J. Putz, INF Ramon Martinez and RP Elmer Desseons. This was not viewed as a surprise to most observers and look for the Mets to add 6-8 new players via trades and free agent signings.
3- Several reports have INF Alex Cora resigning with the club for 1 season. Nothing official as of yet.
4- The Winter meetings start next week and mark this date on your calendar- Saturday December 12th. This is date that teams can non-tender players aka allowing veterans to become unrestricted free agents. With the poor economy and several teams looking to dump payroll, you might see as many as 100 quality ML players on the open market. The Mets must also decide on 3 veterans- SPs John Maine(good bet to return,owed 2.5 mill in 2010), Tim Redding and OF Cory Sullivan.
4- Look for the team to be active in the free agent market. The Mets have been linked to the top OF(Jason Bay and Matt Holliday) as well as all of the top pitchers on both the trade(Roy Hallday) and open market(John Lackey, Randy Wolf, Jason Marquis and Joel Pineiro). I think they sign Holliday and one of those 4 starters minimum.
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