Archive: February 8th, 2008

Free Agents Still Out There

We have Johan Santana in orange and blue, but there are still some fairly prominent pitchers (or at least, prominent names) out there ready for the taking.

In particular:

– Livan Hernandez
– Kyle Lohse
– Freddy Garcia
– Bartolo Colon
– Shawn Chacon
– Byung-Hyun Kim
– Ron Villone
– Odalis Perez

Livan looks to be headed to the Nats, so he’ll have to wait at least another year to re-unite with half-brother Orlando. Lohse could be a nice fit as a reliever, but he’s holding out for starter status. Chacon might not be worth signing to an MLB contract, since we’re not sure he’ll be better than, say, Joe Smith or Matt Wise. Still, there’s that Aaron Sele / Darren Oliver role that may or may not be filled by Jorge Sosa. Villone, Kim, and Perez could all be brought in on minor league deals. I still like the idea of signing Garcia for end of the year / 2009 insurance.

In addition, these veteran bats are still out there:

– Ryan Klesko
– Kevin Mench
– Mike Piazza
– Reggie Sanders
– Preston Wilson
– Mike Sweeney
– Kenny Lofton
– Shawn Green
– Tony Clark

Sweeney would be a sweet pickup if he doesn’t mind playing second fiddle to Carlos Delgado. It likely will never happen, but a Sweeney/Delgado platoon would be pretty impressive. Plus, Sweeney can don the catcher’s gear in a pinch. Other than my Mike Sweeney fantasy, Mench appears to be an ideal fit, as has been stated by many of you here. Clark or Sanders might be good choices, though with so little roster room we don’t want to get caught into another Julio Franco situation.

While Omar Minaya has stated that the Mets are set to go into spring training — presumably meaning no more acquisitions will be made before pitchers and catchers report next week — let’s pretend he’s still open to signing a veteran or two, either to a minor or major league deal. Who do you think could help, from the lot that is still available? (BTW, the above list is incomplete, so feel free to add on.)


Live From Mickey Mantle’s

Last week Gotham Baseball Magazine launched their radio program, “Live from Mickey Mantle’s”, on BlogTalkRadio. There were some technical difficulties, as is to be expected the first time out — especially when using cutting edge technology such as internet radio. But overall it was a strong first show and hosts Mark Healey and Mike Silva are going at it again tonight at 6pm.

If you get a chance, be sure to tune in as they have an interesting show planned. Among the guests include the first DH in MLB history, Ron Blomberg, who will talk about his book “Designated Hebrew” (that’s NOT a joke, it’s a real book and Ron wrote it with help from longtime baseball writer Dan Schlossberg). In addition, Marty Appel will be talking about HIS upcoming book about former Yankee great Thurman Munson — who some of you know is my all-time favorite player (how could a diehard Mets fan also love a Yankee? if you never saw Thurm play then you wouldn’t understand).

The show will be broadcast live at Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant (that’s where they get the name!) at 6pm on BlogTalkRadio. But if you can’t tune in then, no biggie — you can download the show anytime afterward and listen to it at your leisure (that’s what I usually do).


Down On Pedro

So there’s supposedly a video of Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal involved in a cockfight in the Dominican Republic. I haven’t seen it, and don’t want to. I’ve been struggling with the issue all day, because on the one hand I’ve truly enjoyed rooting for Pedro since he became a Met but I also hold animal rights in high regard. Anyone who has visited this site for a while probably knows how I feel about animals.

And while I don’t want to make MetsToday a platform for animal rights — that’s not what the site is about — at the same time it’s impossible for me to address the issue. So I’ll simply go on record here and say I’m EXTREMELY disappointed in Pedro’s participation in a cockfight. While I understand that cockfighting is part of Dominican culture, that doesn’t make it right. The way I see it, animals don’t have a choice — unlike human boxers, who have the free will to decide whether or not to go into a ring and beat each others’ brains out. As human beings, with the ability to reason and no inherent need to force animals to kill each other, I see no logical reason to put roosters in a ring together. It serves no purpose other than to satisfy sick, selfish desires to witness violence and/or feel the thrill of winning dirty money.

If you see no problem with it, that’s your issue and I don’t want to hear about it — I find it abhorrently offensive, inhumane, and completely against our purpose as human beings on this planet. It’s bad enough that we’re so stupid as to kill each other with bullets and bombs — but to force animals into the same sick arena for temporary thrills is inexcusable. And yes I understand Darwin’s theory that the “only the strongest survive” and I do know that animals kill each other in nature. But there’s nothing “natural” about pitting two animals against each other in a ring while wild-eyed idiots scream at the top of their lungs, throw down filthy bills and drench their libidos with cheap whiskey.

As a result, it’s going to be hard for me to root for Pedro as passionately as I did in the past. While it’s true no one’s perfect, and certainly there are plenty of players who have committed violent crimes of equal or worse proportions (Elijah Dukes, Julio Lugo, Delmon Young, Brett Myers, etc.), it’s extremely bothersome to find out that one of “our own” is guilty of such misgivings. I’d be less disappointed if Pedro were included in the Mitchell Report, because at least he was doing something to himself, rather than being part of hurting someone else.

I’ve said my peace, and put my opinion “on record”. That’s all I wanted to do — bring some seriousness to an issue that too many people dismiss as irrelevant. My hope is that Pedro and/or the Mets understand that some of us find this kind of behavior unacceptable, and help spread the message that inflicting pain on other, vulnerable creatures is NOT cool. Such actions do nothing other than show how dispassionate, selfish, and ugly the human race can be.

Pitchers and catchers report in less than a week …