Archive: January 9th, 2009

Mets Sign Tim Redding

Whew! That was a close one! Here it is mid-January, about a month before pitchers and catchers report, and the Mets were STILL without a fifth starter. That is, until a few hours ago, as the Mets came to terms with righthander Tim Redding.

Now all they need to do is find a #3 and #4, and they’ll be all set. Piece of cake!

The Rochester native — who will turn 31 about a month from now — enjoyed his best season in the big leagues since 2003, before the Washington Nationals non-tendered him a few weeks ago. Redding won ten games for the second time in his career and compiled a 4.95 ERA with a 1.49 WHIP for the Nats. He made 33 starts and hurled a career-high 182 innings.
Tim Redding pitching for the Washington Nationals
Although the Mets are more desperate to find a solid #3 to follow Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, I still like this deal — as long as it’s the first of a series of signings. Redding is what we might call a “backup plan” or insurance — similar to when the Mets signed Jose Lima, Chan Ho Park, Brian Lawrence, and Claudio Vargas in recent years. Yes, he ate innings and might have been considered the Nats’ “ace” last year, but I’m not putting much stock into his surprising season — mainly because he’s fooled us before. After winning ten games and posting a sparkling 3.46 ERA as a 25-year-old for Houston in 2003, Redding battled nagging shoulder injuries and never came close to that kind of performance again. He’s a five-inning starter with a decent fastball but questionable secondary stuff. That said, he’s nice to have around as insurance at the back end, and could fit right as a long reliever. In other words, he’s another Claudio Vargas.

With Redding under wraps, does this mean the Mets move away from Pedro Martinez? I hope not. I can see a scenario where Pedro wins the #5 spot and pushes Redding into the aforementioned long relief role — a role that was not properly managed in 2007 nor 2008 yet would have significantly eased the burden on the rest of the bullpen in both years.

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Lucky Dog at Citi Field

Citi Field was recently inspected by a four-legged friend, according to a UPI report and The Daily News.

It is believed that the stray dog was the first member of the general public to run the bases of the Mets’ new infield.

From the Daily News:

The nimble pooch was finally snagged near the Jackie Robinson Rotunda after running the bases and racing up and down the aisles. Her rescuers have dubbed her Jackie.

“She was around home plate, ran up the first base line and ducked into the stands,” said Mike Pastore, head of field operations for New York City Animal Care & Control. “We were going to set up a trap behind home plate.”

Instead, Jackie ran into an enclosed area, and workers closed a gate behind her.

Pastore, Jackie and Animal Control Officer Eli Velazquez – all rain-soaked and exhausted – emerged from the stadium about 11 a.m.

“She was shaking and jumping around. This was probably her first time on a leash,” Pastore said. “But once she calmed down, I was able to pet her.”

The pooch, a brown-and-cream shepherd mix weighing about 40 pounds, seemed scared and hungry. She was brought to Animal Care & Control’s Manhattan shelter for evaluation.

The pup – estimated to be about a year old – could be up for adoption as early as Saturday if she’s healthy and doesn’t have an owner.

One must assume that Jackie’s romp around the stadium is a prelude to the continuance of “Dog Day at Shea” … I for one sure hope so.

Interestingly, Shea Stadium was long known for stray cats — particularly a black feline that ran in front of the visiting dugout during a crucial game against the Cubs in 1969.

Stray black cat dances around Cubs Ron Santo at Shea Stadium in 1969

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