Archive: October 15th, 2007

Mets Vulture Over Yankees?

Tuesday is the big day for the New York Yankees braintrust, who will be having a big pow-wow in Tampa, Florida, to decide the fate of Joe Torre (among other things).

From the Mets’ fan’s point of view, the question is, do we care?

I think we should have a vested interest in the developments. After all, the ousting or retention of Torre could spark a domino effect.

For example, if Torre stays, that likely means that both Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are re-signed. Both longtime Yankees are “Torre guys” and may be more inclined to stay in the Bronx if they know Joe will be captain of the ship in 2008.

In contrast, there’s a bit of a chance that Alex Rodriguez will be inclined to LEAVE if Joe Torre returns. Contrary to popular belief, Torre is not exactly on A-Rod’s Christmas card list. OK, that’s probably not true — a phony baloney like A-Rod should have 90% of MLB on his holiday list. But one must wonder if Alex has yet to forget Torre penciling him into the eighth spot of the batting order in a postseason contest. The greatest player (ego) in the history of baseball, batting 8th in one of the most important games of the season. Talk about a slap in the face.

Not that the Mets will pursue Rodriguez — but where he ends up could indirectly affect the Mets.

For example … let’s say the Red Sox want to sign A-Rod but want to shed some dollars. Like, Manny dollars. Omar Minaya will be on that one-year, $20M like white on rice. Or what if the Orioles decided to enter the bidding? Surely they’d look to deal Miguel Tejada, who might consider playing second base in New York. I’m reaching here, I know … but this is what makes the Hot Stove season so much fun.

On the other hand, if the Yankees choose to oust Joe Torre from the managerial position, how will that affect other personnel?

If he’s offended by the removal of Torre, perhaps Jorge Posada would like to come to Flushing. We’ll be happy to have him catch the inaugural first pitch at Citi Field in 2009 as well, for the princely sum of $30M over two years. How about it?

Similarly, his late-inning batterymate could really stick it to the Yankees by putting on the Mets’ orange and blue. And setting up instead of closing. He does have that restaurant to look over, after all. A three-year deal is not out of the question for the greatest reliever of all time.

In addition, if Torre was let go, the first call I’d make would be to Larry Bowa — who would be ideal as the foil to Willie Randolph in the role of bench coach. At the very least I’d ask if he wanted to replace Don Quixote … er, Sandy Alomar, Jr. … as third-base coach.

And what the heck, let’s bring Torre back to the Mets as well, as a TV analyst.

Oh, I know … we hate the Yankees and don’t want to have anything to do with them. But, Willie Randolph was a Yankee for a short time (almost a quarter century in pinstripes, in fact), and personally, I have no problem with Mo and Jorge coming this way.

We’ll see what the story is on Wednesday …


Schilling to Phillies?

Curt Schilling pitching for the PhilliesWell that’s a picture I don’t want to see again.

Before Curt Schilling was a big-mouth pitcher making cross-country headlines and competing for Cy Young Awards with the help of bloody socks, Curt Schilling was a big-mouth pitcher no one listened to because he toiled in Philadelphia for a very bad Phillies team. He looked to be a future star in Philadelphia while in his mid-twenties, winning 30 games in 1992 and 1993. However he won less than twenty over the next three years combined, and appeared on his way out of town before having a breakout year in 1997, pitching 254 innings and going 17-11.

The Phillies were an awful team back then, with a starting lineup comprised of guys like Rico Brogna, Marlon Anderson, Gregg Jefferies, Desi Relaford … oh wait, better description … um, the second-best pitchers to Schilling back then were hurlers like Paul Byrd, Robert Person … oh, never mind, take my word for it … even with a bunch of ex- and future Mets, they stunk!

Anyway, Schilling was dominating from then on, but was the only man on the Phillies staff who resembled a Major League pitcher, and they finally traded him to Arizona at the deadline in July 2000. From there you probably know the story — combining with Randy Johnson to beat the mighty Yankees in the World Series, pitching for the Red Sox with the bloody sock, calling out steroid abusers, blah blah blah.

After the World Series, Schilling becomes a free agent. He was asked recently about whether he’d consider returning to Philadelphia, and here was his answer:

“You have to put that my first choice is to stay here (Boston),” he said during batting practice last night. “But if it doesn’t work out, the Phillies are absolutely on the short list of places we’d want to go.

“There are probably still some people in Philadelphia who would rather not have me back. So we’ll just have to see how it goes.”

Lovely. Let’s hope that a) there are enough people in Philly who don’t want him back; b) the Red Sox want him back; or c) the Yankees are willing to open up the wallet for him.

Yes, the guy’s a pain in the neck and getting older, but he can still throw the ball with the best of them on some nights. He’s still one of the top ten or fifteen guys you’d want to start a postseason game. And at age 41 next year, he should still be able to give a team 150-175 innings, maybe 10-12 wins.

Sounds a lot like another 40-something year-old free agent pitcher, doesn’t it? Would you take Schilling or Tom Glavine if given the choice?

There is one side effect of the Curt Schilling signing with the Phillies — it could possibly keep them from signing Mike Lowell to play third base. Not sure about you, but I don’t want to see the Phillies getting either of these current Red Sox.


Bullpen Candidate

After a year of “retirement”, Keith Foulke would like to return to MLB.

And why not? With the state of bullpens across the NL and AL, he’s likely to get a guaranteed 7-figure contract simply for showing up to spring training in February.

Foulke’s agent announced the comeback late last week:

“He is definitely going to play next year,” Foulke’s agent, Danny Horwits, said by telephone. “He just needed to get healthy.”

Keith Foulke pitching for the Boston Red Sox in 2004According to Horwits, the Red Sox will be the first team called to gauge interest. One would suspect that Foulke, an Arizona resident, would also be interested in the Diamondbacks. Whether either of those clubs would be interested in him is another matter.

Foulke turns 35 this Friday, but has a full season of rest. He recently had bone spur removed from his pitching elbow and will begin throwing in November. The surgery reportedly is not serious and requires a short rehab period, so he’s expected to be ready in time for spring training.

If he’s healthy, he would have to be a candidate for consideration by the Mets. His effectiveness as a pitcher spiraled downward immediately after the magical 2004 postseason — a period when he pitched in 11 of the 14 Red Sox playoff and World Series games, covering 14 innings and 257 pitches. That’s a lot of work in a short period of time, and likely had something to do with decline. He may not be the most talented closer of all time, but he’s a tough competitor and known to have pitched through pain.

A longshot, perhaps, but I’ll take a chance on him before bringing Guillermo Mota back.