Tag: kiko calero

Kelvim Escobar Out for the Year

Stunning, shocking headline, I know. We were all counting on the once-nearly-good Escobar to handle the eighth inning for the Mets, but he has suffered an out-of-the-blue setback that requires season-ending surgery.

This wasn’t even going to be given the importance of a post, since we more or less wrote off Escobar the day we heard he couldn’t grip a baseball (and for those who kept the faith, his “weakness” might have sent you toward reality). The idea that he might pitch at all in 2010 was considered a joke, in fact.

But after the official news of Escobar’s impending surgery broke, I received several emails from you, the loyal readership, and felt compelled to address the issue.

So … there goes $1.5M down the drain. To be fair, it was much less painful (pardon the pun) a loss than last year’s J.J. Putz debacle. Had the Mets signed him to be an extra arm, or “gravy”, rather than as “the guy” for the 8th inning, it would have been a logical, safe gamble.

The good news is, the Mets have a backup plan in place named Ryota Igarashi.

Oh, wait … he’s on the DL, isn’t he? So then it must be Sean Gre… never mind. I guess I meant Kiko Calero. Oh shoot, Calero is in AAA because he was signed so late (after it was discovered Escobar could grip a pen but not a ball), and he allowed 7 runs in his last outing for Buffalo, didn’t he? Well, that’s better than Johan Santana did in his last appearance, so there’s that. Luckily, the Mets have Brian Stokes. Er, I mean … Bobby Parnell. No, that’s not right, either … um … who IS the setup man?

Ah, relief pitching is overrated anyway … better to have spent big bucks on second-string catchers and experienced backup infielders.


Final Cuts: Analysis

My apologies for not posting this earlier, but like most of the news out of Port St. Lucie this spring, it took me a long time to understand and extract the logic.

Let’s just run through specific personnel.

Nelson Figueroa (cut) – He’s not a Cy Young candidate. He’s barely an MLB-quality 5th starter. However, he had a spectacular spring, he had a great winter campaign, he had an outstanding


Mets Sign Kiko Calero

Omar Minaya held firm on his minor-league offer to Kiko Calero, and came out the winner in the negotiations.

Calero signed a one-year, minor league contract that will pay him $850,000 plus incentives if he makes the Major League roster.

According to the The New York Times:

Calero was so eager to join the Mets that he was seen walking through the clubhouse before the team had a chance to announce the signing.

As you read a few days ago, I supported an MLB contract for Calero — so for me this is outstanding news and a very smart, low-risk gamble. It is surprising that Calero has been available for this long after a fine comeback season in ’09 — kudos to Minaya for waiting him out.

Next on the docket is Joe Beimel, who would fit right in as a second LOOGY to Pedro Feliciano. It appears that Minaya is sticking to the same strategy of waiting — and several sources report that Beimel is indeed on the Mets’ radar. Hopefully it works out as well — and it might, because every day that goes by is another day lost for a guy like Beimel to make a team. The only risk is that there are at least a handful of teams who could use an extra veteran LOOGY — and one of them could be the Phillies.


Jose Reyes is Not Pregnant

Good news, Mets fans: Jose Reyes is NOT pregnant.

Steve Popper was the first to report that news on Twitter early yesterday, and further blood work evaluated last night confirms it.

Whew! That would have been a major issue for the Mets, who already are without Carlos Beltran for the first few months of the season.

Though, I imagine Jose would have been able to stay on the field for the first trimester … but almost certainly would have been out of uniform by June. Even if he felt great, you’d have to think that his belly would have gotten in the way of reaching down for ground balls — not to mention the weight gain putting a strain on his already suspect legs.

In other good news for Mets fans, Hisanori Takahashi has cleared up his visa problem and can now take the mound in exhibition games. No word on whether he’ll be wearing Ken Takahashi’s old jersey.

Additionally, the Mets signed Kiko Calero — full post coming soon.

But there’s still more to cheer about — Ike Davis hit a grand slam and David Wright hit a homerun in his first at-bat as the Mets pounded the Cardinals 17-11.

Finally, things are looking up for the New York Mets!


Mets Like Beimel, Calero, But Not the Price Tag

According to various reports, the Mets are interested in LOOGY Joe Beimel, but not for the $2M he wants. Further, the team is also looking into Kiko Calero, but he prefers an MLB contract rather than the minor league deal the Mets want to offer.

Without question, Beimel is the best lefthanded specialist available on the free agent market. The Mets have been seeking such a LOOGY to pair with Pedro Feliciano ever since Scott Schoeneweis crapped the bed. Two million dollars is not a huge commitment for someone with Beimel’s skill set and experience — compare it to the 3-year, $10.8M insanity-driven deal handed to the aforementioned Schoeneweis. Considering that Beimel would likely appear in 70-85 games, the Mets will get more value on the dollar for him than for the $2M given to utilityman Alex Cora. So the question is, if the Mets need Beimel, and Beimel is interested at a fair price, what’s the delay?

As for Calero, I can understand the trepidation — sort of. When Calero is healthy, he can be “lights-out”, but staying healthy has been a problem in the past few years for the 35-year-old. With the Mets already dealing with injury issues this spring, they’d ideally sign a more durable pitcher.

At the same time, Calero was outstanding in 2009, appearing in 67 games and setting career bests in innings (60) strikeouts (69), and ERA (1.95), while posting a stingy 1.10 WHIP and allowing only one homerun. There’s no guarantee he’ll repeat those numbers, and he did spend 15 days on the DL in June with a shoulder inflammation. But you tell me what makes more sense: giving $1.25M guaranteed to Kelvim Escobar — who threw 5 innings last year — or Calero?

What’s hurting the Mets in these negotations, of course, is Escobar’s status (and the fact that Brian Stokes was dealt to the Angels). Both Calero and Beimel deserve MLB deals regardless, but have the upper hand as long as the Mets have neither a legitimate setup man nor a reliable second lefty.

It is at this point that I would like to hear from all the people who, back in November, didn’t think it was a “big deal” that the Mets wasted $2M on the aforementioned Cora. Additionally, I want to hear from those who supported the Stokes – Gary Matthews trade, which cost the Mets another $1M – $1.5M net. The argument was that a measly $1M or $2M shouldn’t make or break the Mets’ season. Yet here we are in a situation where the Mets are desperate to plug holes in the bullpen, there are two worthwhile, fair-priced solutions available, but the Mets don’t seem to have the financial flexibility to get the deals done.

Put it this way: if Matthews and Cora get on the field often enough to truly earn their pay in 2010, then something (once again) went horribly, horribly wrong for the New York Mets. In contrast, if Beimel and Calero are signed and earn their salaries, two roles in the Mets’ bullpen were filled quite efficiently and effectively. You tell me which is more likely to have a significant impact on a successful season — overused bench players or effective relievers?


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?


Minor League Free Agent List

Baseball America has listed the 561 minor leaguers who filed for free agency on November 6th.

This list will take a while to sift through, but on first glance, I’m intrigued by:

Flamethrower Jose Capellan;
Free-swinging, AAAA outfielder John-Ford Griffin, though he bats left and has no use for the Mets;
Onetime Met Jason Anderson, who throws about a thousand miles an hour;
Former top pitching prospect John Van Benschoten, who shares my birthday and Thurman Munson’s alma mater;
Former Yankee prospect Sean Henn, a big lefty who may blossom late;
Victor Santos, a kid I recruited out of high school and coached;
Kiko Calero, who appeared healthy in 2008 and would be paint for the bullpen wall;
Joel Guzman, once the crown jewel of the Dodgers’ organization;
Victor Diaz, the former Met who hit 25 homers and drove in 107 runs in AAA last season.

These are the Mets’ minor leaguers who filed:

RHP: Josmar Carreno (VSL), Nate Field (AAA), Nelson Figueroa (AAA), Joe Hietpas (AA), Casey Hoorelbeke (AA), Tim Lavigne (AA), Ruddy Lugo (AAA), Ivan Maldonado (AAA), Tim McNab (AAA), Brian Rogers (AA), Jose Sanchez (AA), Jose Santiago (AAA), Sendy Vasquez (Hi A)
LHP: Eude Brito (AAA), Willie Collazo (AAA)
C: Salomon Manriquez (AA), Gustavo Molina (AAA), Salvador Paniagua (AA)
2B: Andy Green (AAA), Peeter Ramos (AA)
3B: Abraham Nunez (AAA)
SS: Anderson Machado (AAA)
OF: Brian Burgamy (Hi A), Ambiorix Concepcion (AA), Casey Craig (Lo A), Victor Mendez (Hi A), Val Pascucci (AAA), John Rodriguez (AAA)