Tag: chad cordero

Oliver Perez Signed

Finally, the Mets signed Oliver Perez.

The contract is a very fair three years at $36M. Not too much for the Mets to feel hamstrung in the event Ollie spends more time as Mr. Hyde, and not so little that Perez should feel slighted. And in fact, the three-year contract makes a lot of sense for the still-young lefty, who at the end will be only 30 years old and — if he plays his cards right — could be in line for a mega deal.

Personally, I’m very happy Oliver Perez is back with the Mets. He’s one of the few members of the team who has some style and character, and plays the entire game with passion. Yes, that passion sometimes is his downfall, and he has yet to learn how to avoid falling apart and beating himself when things go poorly. However, it’s part of who he is, and I enjoy watching “colorful” and unique ballplayers.

As we all know, Ollie is as gifted as any lefthander in MLB. Whether he can “figure it out” and get his mental skills to reach the levels of his physical gifts remains to be seen. Should that connection ever occur, the Mets could have the best lefty in the NL, a dominant Cy Young candidate. More likely, he’ll be the same Ollie we’ve known since 2006 — up and down, outstanding at times and awful at others. In the end, that’s OK, because the bottom line is this: he takes the ball every five days, and he goes into the 7th inning the majority of the time. Yes, there are days he can’t get out of the fourth (or third) frame, but for more than half his starts, he’ll get past the sixth. Considering that both John Maine and Johan Santana are coming off surgeries, and the back end is full of question marks, one cannot underestimate the value of an above-average starter making 30-32 starts. It’s easy to forget the days that people like Brian Lawrence, Jose Lima, Dave Williams, and Chan Ho Park took the mound too many times.

With Oliver Perez in the fold, we can assume that the Mets are done assembling arms for the starting rotation — though, I’d still like to see Pedro Martinez brought back on a minor league deal. They might pick up another scrub for the back end, but you can forget Ben Sheets — at this point, it ain’t gonna happen. Hopefully, Omar Minaya will now focus on bringing in one or two more middle relief arms (Chad Cordero?) and a power-hitting outfielder. At this point, I no longer care if it’s a lefthanded hitter (Adam Dunn? Bobby Abreu?) or a righty (Manny Ramirez!) — a strong hitting lefty is still better than anything that Fernando Tatis and Danny Murphy can produce.

Oh, and how about picking up Pudge Rodriguez on the cheap, to platoon with Brian Schneider? He’ll come cheap.

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Marlins Sign Kiko Calero

The Florida Marlins have signed Kiko Calero and Jason Standridge to minor league contracts, and invited both to spring training.

Calero, most recently of the Athletics, is a guy I’ve always been high on and would have liked to have seen the Mets take a gamble on. At one time he was a lights-out setup man, but has struggled with multiple injuries to his shoulder in recent years, culminating with a debilitating rotator cuff tear last March. Interesting that with all the pitch limits and kid gloves applied to pitchers these days, they still suffer career-threatening (or ending) rotator cuff injuries. Makes one wonder what is the point of all the limits.

Standridge is a guy the Mets gambled on a few winters ago
, though he never made it to spring training. He pitched a few games in Japan last year.

I doubt either of these pitchers will make an impact in 2009. But there’s this tiny shred of possibility that Calero can do something, and this is my chance to show everyone how smart I was five months from now.

Speaking of relievers with shoulder issues, when are the Mets going to sign Chad Cordero to a minor league / incentive-laden one-year deal? Really now, what is the hold up?

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Bullpen is Not Done

Congratulations to Omar Minaya for shortening 2009 Mets games to seven innings. Indeed, the one-two punch of “K-Putz” has the potential to be the most effective since the Mariano Rivera – John Wetteland duo of 1996. However, there is still the matter of the innings one through seven.

The Mets didn’t get the innings-eating Derek Lowe to plug up the front end of their rotation, and as a result, it looks like another season of starters who struggle to get into, and through, the sixth inning. So even with K-Putz waiting to shut the door, Mets games will still be a crapshoot during the sixth and seventh frames. For one, Pedro Feliciano won’t suddenly evolve from his ideal role of LOOGY — been there, tried that, it didn’t work. Sean Green might be helpful, or he may be another Jon Adkins. Joe Smith is gone. Brian Stokes is back, but can he be as good through 65-70 games as he was in his two dozen appearances of last year? A couple of Rule 5 picks might have a chance to stick — Darren O’Day and Rocky Cherry. Connor Robertson — the guy the Mets received in return for Scott Schoeneweis — might be worse than Adkins. What all these names tell us most is, the sixth and the seventh innings are no more a slam dunk than they were last year.

Luckily, there is still time to rectify the situation. First, there are a number of intriguing free agent middle relievers looking for a new team. For example, Juan Cruz, Brandon Lyon, and Jason Isringhausen are unemployed. 2008 Mets Luis Ayala, Ricardo Rincon, and Matt Wise are waiting for an ST invite. Chad Cordero auditioned for a bunch of teams, and I’m stunned that Omar Minaya hasn’t locked him up yet. Most recently, the Red Sox DFA’d David Aardsma, a guy who I clamored for this time last year.

My favorites are Cordero, Rincon, Ayala, and Aardsma. Cordero because he’s a low-risk, high-reward type, with a strong competitive fire. I like Rincon because he’s just as good as any other available LOOGY, but will come at a fraction of the cost and will require only a one-year commitment. Ayala is another competitor who was misplaced as a setup man/closer last year, but would be perfect as a 6th/7th inning guy. Aardsma is a diamond in the rough, a late bloomer type in the mold of a Dan Wheeler.

Before you laugh about Aardsma’s 5.55 ERA last year, understand that he pitched 24 of his 47 games in Fenway Park, which can have a dramatic effect on a pitcher’s mentality, focus, and performance. Before you write him off, consider his numbers outside of Fenway Park — 23 IP, 15 H, 19 K, 13 BB, 2.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP. Wow. That’s like, as good as Juan Cruz — and Aardsma did that in the AL East.

Obviously, the Mets’ biggest issue right now is located a #3 starter. But in the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a few more cans of paint for the bullpen wall. Cordero would be a nice calculated gamble, and any one of the others would provide ample depth. What the Mets have done for middle relief, to this point, is change the names — that’s not necessarily the same as improving. As we know, change by itself is not always better. Picking up one or two quality arms will complete the bullpen overhaul, and make the ENTIRE relief corps a team strength.

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Dominoes Falling

Teams deciding to whom they offer arbitration was the kindling for this winter’s Hot Stove, and already the dominoes are falling.

Since 24 players were offered arbitration on Monday, teams have been racing to sign free agents and make deals — and the winter meetings are still a week away.

The first free agents to sign are the lesser ones — particularly, the nondescript middle relievers (Doug Brocail), guys on the comeback trail (Mike Hampton), and the non-roster guys with spring training invites (Billy Traber). My guess is the first “big name” free agent to sign will be a shortstop — probably either Edgar Renteria or Rafael Furcal, who startlingly was not offered arbitration by the Dodgers. I understand they’re looking for a new shortstop, but based on all the rumors, it appears that Furcal is banking on a multi-year deal, so it’s surprising that LA would pass on the potential draft pick. Even if Furcal accepted, would it have been so terrible to have Furcal back, possibly as a second baseman (where the Dodgers have another hole)? Guess so.

So how will the dominoes fall for the Mets? We’re hearing that Trevor Hoffman wants to talk to the Mets, and it’s not a bad idea for Omar Minaya to open discussions — for no reason other than to get K-Rod and Brian Fuentes to think again about their outrageous demands. When it’s all said and done, I see the Mets signing K-Rod or trading for Bobby Jenks. To me, J.J. Putz and Brian Fuentes are not fabulous long-term solutions — if the Mets want short-term, then they should sign Hoffman for a year to a.) close in ’09 and b.) teach someone such as Aaron Heilman, Eddie Kunz, Joe Smith, etc., how to close in the future. But I’m not seeing the Mets as getting serious about Hoffman.

My guess is that the first free-agent the Mets sign will be Chad Cordero — as a minor leaguer with an invite to spring training. If they don’t make the announcement this week, one definitely will be made at the winter meetings.

Also, if the Mets are serious about making a major, impact trade, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Ryan Church, Fernando Martinez, and one of their pitching prospects (Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz) will be dealt. Church’s stock may not get higher, and I’m hearing rumblings that he’s not a favorite in the clubhouse. Further, as much as I discount Mike Francesa’s inane comments, I think New York is not the best place for Church. But most importantly, Church is currently cheap, a good all-around player, young, and the only legit MLB position player of value that the Mets are willing to part with. After all, the Mets are not trading David Wright, Jose Reyes, or Carlos Beltran, probably not trading Carlos Delgado, and will get little in return for Brian Schneider. Dan Murphy’s greatest value is to the Mets, not another organization, at this point. Same goes for Endy Chavez. Church, however, has value to many teams — particularly those looking to cut payroll — and can be very easily replaced with a free agent, as there is a glut of lefthanded hitting outfielders available. The prospect of trading Church is the only thing — to me — that makes sense in regard to the Mets’ inquiries on people like Raul Ibanez.

A flurry of moves will be made starting today and going through the next two weeks. Expect to see at least a few dominoes falling into the Mets’ lap shortly.

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Hot Stove – First Moves

Wow … didn’t take long for the hot stove to heat up. Let’s quickly rake over the first coals.

Mets Pick Up Option on Carlos Delgado

No surprise here — after his second half, Delgado is a bargain at (gulp) $12M. There’s been speculation that he’d be traded, but I’m not seeing it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Mets flipped him, and I think it would be the right move, but it’s rare for this organization to sell high. It will be easier to leave him set at first base and spend the winter looking to fix other areas.


Mets Re-Sign Fernando Tatis

Tatis signed with the Mets for a paltry one-year, $1.7M contract. Great move to lock up a fine RH bat with plenty of versatility. While I doubt he’ll ever again hit like he did last July, he nonetheless proved he still has gas in the tank and fire in his belly. He’ll be a top man off the bench — taking the at-bats Damion Easley is likely to leave behind — and provide insurance in the OF corners in the event the Mets don’t find a legitimate slugger this offseason.

Damion Easley Files for Free Agency
Unfortunately, I think there is little chance of my favorite Met returning, particularly with the quick signing of Tatis. Why? Partially due to his age, and partially because I think the Mets are going to bring in a second sacker, one way or the other. That said, his main tool is as a RH bat off the bench, and that will be Tatis’ job. There are enough teams looking for a veteran second baseman this winter for him to find a job, though, so he should land on his feet. He may find himself in Chicago, with the White Sox, the Dodgers, or the Nationals (all of this is pure speculation — I have no inside track).

Oliver Perez Files for Free Agency

No surprise here. Ollie’s going to the highest bidder. If the Mets don’t sign him early, I don’t think they’ll sign him at all. Considering Scott Boras is his agent, an early signing seems unlikely. Bye bye Ollie, it was fun (regards to Mr. Hyde).

Matt Wise Files for Free Agency

Who woke him up and pulled him out of his cave? Wise never stayed healthy for a long enough time to determine his value. Too bad. Watch him move on to the Angels or Diamondbacks and become a decent 7th-inning guy.

Royals Trade Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs
The semi-annual fire sale is on in Miami! An interesting deal from KC’s point of view, as they flip a middle reliever for a starting first baseman — this deal would suggest that they’ve officially given up on Ryan Shealy. Nunez is only 25, and could step into a setup role for the Fish. Otherwise, it looks like the Royals are selling high, and the Marlins are selling out (yet again).

Chad Cordero is a Free Agent

The Nats cut ties with the reliever, and I can’t believe 24 hours passed without the Mets scheduling a press conference to put a flat-brimmed Mets cap on his head. Is there any other organization where he’ll be as welcome? My bet is on Omar Minaya plunging into the Cordero rehab project, and I like the idea. My guess is he won’t be helpful in 2009, and he may never regain the velocity needed to be a closer, but he has the mentality needed for a reliever and he has age on his side. He may be a valuable middle reliever for the second half.

Ken Macha Hired to be Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers

Ho-hum. The Brew Crew managed to find someone just as boring as Ned Yost. Should be a mildly entertaining puppet show.

65 Players Filed for Free Agency

See the “official” list here. We’ll discuss them here all winter.

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