It’s doubtful Omar Minaya is reading this blog, but it sure is coincidental that just one day after posting my free agent wishlist, there’s been news that the Mets are interested in Mark Mulder. Nice to see the Mets being aggressive on this front … Mulder — if healthy — is a guy who could really solidify the front end of the rotation, especially with Pedro Martinez uttering retirement and the possible losses of El Duque and Tom Glavine.
That’s the good news. The potentially bad news is that Sammy Sosa is considering a comeback.
Before we jump to any conclusions, no team — not even the Mets — has officially expressed interest. However, Omar has been a fan of Slammin’ Sammy since he discovered him as a skinny 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic. Let’s cross our fingers now, before Sosa goes looking to Minaya for a spring training invite “for old times’ sake”.
Meantime, another player on my wishlist, Adam Kennedy, is supposedly interested in the Mets — at least, according to the NY Post. The Post also claims that Staten Island native Rich Aurilia is interested. Hmm … the Mets are now a contender, they have New York dollars … who WOULDN’T be interested in the Mets right now?
Just the same, Kennedy might be a nice fit. The only issues are whether the Mets will have to cough up a too-long multiyear contract and if he can overcome the Mets’ overhyped second baseman jinx that plagued Kaz Matsui, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Kent, and Juan Samuel before him. If indeed he does end up in Shea, and can hit at least .270, his hard-nosed approach could make him a fan favorite — reminding us older folk of, say, Ray Knight. However, if he gets a huge contract and then bats .250, we’ll be calling for his head.
By the way, also mentioned in that chock-full-of-info Post article was that Aaron Heilman still wants to start, and let the Mets’ brass know of his feelings. Let’s hope the Mets don’t stonewall him nor repeat the empty promise of last year. For goodness sake, he’s proven for two years now that he’s a legitimate Major League pitcher who can get big-league hitters out. Even if he’s better than Duaner Sanchez or Joel Zumaya or any other setup man in MLB, that still wouldn’t make him more valuable than a solid, 7-inning, #3 starter — which he might be. Sure he might not be that good, but there’s enough evidence to prove that he might. And before anyone starts with the “he’s a two-pitch pitcher” and “he can’t go through a lineup more than once”, let me remind you that he does have a third pitch, a slider — not that he needs it — and what is there to lose by letting him go through a lineup more than once? Give the kid an opportunity to do what he wants to do, already — he’s earned the right. When a man with his kind of skills has this much determination to do something, how does it make sense to deny him?
I’ve got a bad feeling that Omar and co. don’t like the idea of Mr. Heilman having the audacity to demand his destiny and, in essence, take control of his position in Omar’s plans. As much as I like Minaya, I sincerely hope he doesn’t remain stubborn regarding Aaron’s position and ship him off for spite. Rather, I hope Omar sees this as a sign of a confident, determined, somewhat cocky young man with a fire to prove himself — because these are exactly the characteristics that make a potential ace. With the Mets’ rotation looking worse by the day, it would be nice to see Heilman given the opportunity to straighten a question mark into an exclamation point.
Speaking of question marks, the agent for Orlando Hernandez — Greg Genske — says that El Duque’s preference is to stay in New York. Let’s hope that he and the Mets can get a deal done toot sweet (toute de suite) — before El Duque considers returning to another NY team in dire need of starting pitching.