Browsing Archive October, 2007

Throwing Paint on the Wall

The Mets bullpen was a strength in 2006, and was built almost entirely from acquiring parts outside the organization. At the time, it looked like a “let’s throw paint on the wall and see what sticks” strategy. Between the end of the 2005 season and spring training 2006, here were ALL the relief pitching acquisitions of that offseason:

Free Agents

Billy Wagner
Chad Bradford
Pedro Feliciano
Darren Oliver
Yusaku Iriki
Jose Parra
Matt Perisho
Juan Perez
Mike Venafro


Acquired Via Trade

Duaner Sanchez
Jorge Julio
Steve Schmoll

Other
Mitch Wylie (Rule 5 draft)

Wow … that was a pretty damn good offseason rebuilding project, wouldn’t you say? The Mets got themselves a closer (Wagner), a dyamite setup man (Sanchez), a LOOGY (Feliciano), a ROOGY who turned into a quasi-setup man (Bradford), a very useful long man (Oliver), and a project that went right and was flipped for Orlando Hernandez (Jorge Julio). They brought in 13 arms and 6 made significant contributions to the cause.

Unfortunately, the 2006-2007 offseason was not nearly as bountiful.


Free Agents / Waivers

Jason Standridge
Jorge Sosa
Clint Nageotte
Jorge Vasquez
Lino Urdaneta
Aaron Sele
Scott Schoeneweis
Mike Bynum
Jose Santiago
Marcos Carvajal

Acquired Via Trade:

Ambiorix Burgos
Jon Adkins

All together, the Mets went outside the organization for 12 pitchers. Remove Standridge from the list because he elected to be a free agent before reporting to camp. So, eleven. And from those 11, four — Burgos, Schoeneweis, Mota, Sosa, and Sele — impacted the 2007 bullpen. Urdaneta and Adkins both spent time on the ML roster, but only pitched an inning each.

In the end, the Mets came up with one youngster who showed promise (Burgos), two middle relievers who stunk (Mota/Show), one useless long reliever (Sele), and one guy who was very useful until over-exposed (Sosa). Clearly, a vast contrast from the previous offseason. So, how to “go back” to success of the 2005-2006 winter?

Although it’s easy to see the success now, at the time of those acquisitions — even in spring training — it didn’t appear as though the Mets did a bang-up job of assembling a bullpen. Sure, getting Wagner was a no-brainer. But the Sanchez move was widely criticized at the time — most felt that giving up Jae Seo was overpaying. In addition, I’m not afraid to admit I was one of many pundits who wondered why in the world Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver were brought into camp, and I also thought Feliciano was a waste of time (shows what I know!). And as much as it appeared that Kris Benson’s days as a Met were over, very few people thought that Minaya received equal value by obtaining Jorge Julio (and that throw-in, John Maine). Was the Mets’ scouting department really THAT good about mining for unknown talent, or were they just lucky?

Hard to say, but there’s no question about one thing: regardless of whether it’s luck or skill, Minaya and his scouting department must do a much better job of unearthing the hidden gems this winter — in a market that’s going to be twice as competitive. The Mets cannot possibly plan 2008 with the idea that Mota and Schoeneweis will combine for 120+ appearances — which they did in 2007. Further, they can’t expect Heilman and Feliciano to pitch in every other game again. There absolutely has to be more flexibility, and both Willie and Omar must look at the bullpen as an entity of interchangeable parts. You want to assign one man as closer? Fine. One man as the setup / 8th inning guy? Maybe. But the rest of the ‘pen has to be dynamic, with roles AND faces changing regularly. Otherwise, you run into burnout and overexposure — a prime example being Joe Smith. Smith was lights-out for two months because he had an unusual delivery and no scouting report. The more Willie leaned on him, the more the rest of NL assembled information. It didn’t help his arm, either, that he appeared in 40 games before the All-Star break. While we hope that he can make adjustments as the opposition adjusts to him, it’s possible we’ve seen the very best that Smith can attain in MLB. Not to say he won’t some day be a reliable middle reliever, but that the “unknown” factor may have helped him considerably in April and May.

Similarly, Jorge Sosa seemed to be doing something differently at the beginning of 2007 from what he’d done in previous years. Maybe it was a bit more bite on the slider, or throwing it to a different location — whatever it was, it worked for a while, until, again, the rest of the league caught on.

At the same time, the Mets should learn from that “unknown” phenomena (if not via watching Smith/Sosa, then by seeing how their veteran hitters struggle against rookie pitchers — i.e., the Wandy Rodriguez Effect). In other words, pinpoint four or five “AAAA” arms who you can bring up throughout the season — maybe each for two months at a time — to eat up innings and “show a different look” as Willie says. For example, Steve Schmoll has been out of MLB long enough that most batters have forgotten him — use him as a sixth-inning guy for a month or two. But then plan to replace him with someone else by, say, mid-June. And have another guy ready to come up in August. Something like that, where you have “mystery” pitchers who can provide some valuable innings until they’re exposed. My guess is you can find some borderline minor league pitchers, and/or import some cheap arms from the AL (Mike Myers?). Yeah, it would be nice to find three or four Duaner Sanchez’s, but those guys simply don’t exist (or are not available, or are closers). So you have to get creative with the available supply.

So what does that mean for this offseason? As I suggested in the previous post, it means the Mets need to throw more paint on the wall. Bring in a minimum of 15 guys from outside the organization, and perhaps as many as 20. Try to mix in guys with unusual deliveries (Myers, Byung-Hyun Kim), one lethal pitch (Jorge Sosa slider), and relatively “unknown” minor leaguers who show something of promise. Get them all into spring training, give Rick Peterson plenty of caffeine, and hope for the best.

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End of the Torre Era

No, it’s not Mets news (necessarily), but it’s the biggest news in baseball … and sports for that matter.

Proof? The Cleveland Indians might clinch their first World Series appearance in 60 years tonight, but not one sports columnist, talkradio jockey, or other pundit is mentioning their potential elimination game tonight against the Red Sox. So I guess it’s OK to give the un-rehiring of Joe Torre some play on MetsToday.

Though, we’ve already glossed over the potential domino effect of Joe Torre not returning to pinstripes in 2008. Now that it’s reality, and after having thought about it for about a week, I’m not so sure that a new Yankee manager will affect the decisions of Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. The way I see it, both players may be upset that Torre’s not returning, but in a few weeks any disgruntlement will likely wear off. Plus, after losing Torre, I can’t imagine that Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners would allow either Posada or Rivera walk away as well.

First, there is public opinion — to which George Steinbrenner is sensitive. He knows that the majority of Yankee fandom is not happy with the Torre decision, but also knows that there are enough ambivalence to get through the situation. Steinbrenner is justified, after all, by the $225M payroll — as much as anyone loves Joe Torre, a logically thinking individual has to know that the Yankees’ success over the last dozen years was more due to the willingness to spend money than the “genius” of Torre.

But if Torre leaves AND Mo Rivera and Jorge Posada also walk away? That’s not going to fly with Yankee supporters. If anything, Rivera MUST be retained — he is after all the greatest closer in the history of baseball, and god forbid Boston gets their dirty paws on their beloved, legendary icon. Further, I believe the Yankees will do just about everything necessary to retain Posada as well — partially because he’s nearly as beloved as Rivera, and partially because, as we’ve seen, there isn’t a suitable replacement on the market. For the Mets to obtain either of these Yankees, they would likely have to make an unbelievable, fiscally unsound offer — and that’s not the Wilpons’ style.

Now, what about the vacancy in the Yankees dugout? I’d thought that Don Mattingly was a foregone conclusion, but the words of Brian Cashman suggests otherwise:

“There may be some surprising names that show up of people expressing interest that you wouldn’t even think about. To be quite candid, we have not started a process of looking for a new manager.”

Hmm … surprising names, eh? Well what the hey … if it’s NOT going to be Mattingly, then who? And if they are serious about the position being one that has to be incentive-driven, then whomever they hire to replace Torre MUST also have the postseason bonus bucks written in — otherwise the Yankees are true scoundrels. It’ll be a few weeks before the “official” list of candidates surfaces. In the meantime, here is my wildly uninformed prediction of potential successors (if it’s not Donnie Baseball):

Bobby Valentine
Yes, he’ll wear out his welcome — and most of his players — within two years, but he’s the closest thing to Billy Martin available. And whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit he’s one of the best in-game strategists on the planet. Any doubts (or short memory)? Simply take a look at the 2000 Mets team he guided into the World Series. And yes he’ll be a media nightmare from the Yankees brass’ perspective, but his hogging of the spotlight will take the pressure off the players.

Bobby Cox
Here’s a crazy idea if you ever saw one, huh? Bear with me … first, Braves GM John Schuerholz has stepped down, which could affect what Cox does. Cox only played two years in the Majors — with the New York Yankees, so there’s a tie-in of sorts. The Yankees have the money and the wherewithal to get “the best” of everything, so why not try to pry away arguably the best manager in baseball of the last 15 years? And hey, why not bring in the “best” pitching coach in baseball, old pal Leo Mazzone, while you’re at it? The 67-year-old Cox probably will only manage another 2 or 3 years, and would be the ideal tutor for bench coach Mattingly. It makes great sense: Mattingly, with no managerial experience, would have an immense task to a) follow Torre’s legacy; b) be expected to get to the World Series; and c) do a & b as a first-year manager. Better to groom him another year or two under a genius, and let the legend of Torre fade away, before pushing him into the fire.

Joe Girardi
A lot of Yankee beat writers seem to be high on Girardi leading the Bronx Bombers. I’m not seeing it any more than Tony Pena. I get the feeling the Yanks want to bring in a BIG name, and though Girardi is known, he’s not “big”. For this exact reason, I don’t buy into the notion that Trey Hillman is a serious candidate.

Larry Bowa
His managerial review is mixed; critics feel his Phillies underachieved, supporters say he wrung everything out of them. He’s a candidate because he’s been around the Yankees for two years and gained the respect of players and management, and because his fiery disposition is the exact opposite of the calm Torre — and maybe the Yankee brass wants an “excitable boy” to put the pressure on their perhaps too-relaxed players. And before you dismiss his .522 winning percentage and second-place finishes, consider that Torre had a similar resume before donning the pinstripes.

Tony Pena
He has previous managerial experience, and though his career .410 winning percentage is abysmal, he put together an unbelievable 83-79 record for the 2003 Kansas City Royals — which was essentially a collection of trash. I think he’ll be considered to satisfy the Yankees’ need to interview one or more minority candidates. Along that line of thinking …

Don Baylor

A former Yankee, though hardly a legend and not . His record as a manager was very “eh” — under .500. But he does have a very nice-looking visual presence — what with those broad shoulders and chiseled facial features — and could fit right into the do-nothing, monotonous, stoic role that Torre made famous.

Cito Gaston
He was widely heralded as one of the best managers in baseball after winning back-to-back World Series Championships with the Blue Jays in the early 1990s. But after a 72-87 season in 1997, he never got another job. Why? Maybe ten years is too long to be out of the hot seat, but he could be a long, long, longshot.

Any other wild ideas to throw out there, before the “official” search begins? Post your candidates below.

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State of the Bullpen Address

As we continue to prepare for the Hot Stove Season, let’s take a look at the current state of the Mets’ bullpen. Following is a list of legitimate bullpen candidates who will be under contract with the New York Mets after the free agency filing period has commenced.

Solid (meaning, not injured and not likely to be starters)

Billy Wagner
Aaron Heilman
Pedro Feliciano
Joe Smith
Scott Schoeneweis
Guillermo Mota
Willie Collazo
Carlos Muniz

Questionable

Duaner Sanchez
Juan Padilla

Potential

Mike Pelfrey
Philip Humber
Jason Vargas
Adam Bostick

Longshots

Steve Schmoll
Eddie Camacho
Matt Durkin
Ryan Cullen
Tim McNab
Eddie Kunz

Notes: Aaron Sele, Dave Williams, Brian Lawrence, and Jorge Sosa are all free agents. Jon Adkins and Lino Urdaneta were granted free agency. Ambiorix Burgos underwent Tommy John surgery and is gone until 2009.

OK, after assessing bullpens around the National League in 2007 (What Went Wrong: Bullpen, Bullpen Part Two), we’ve come to the conclusion that a team needs an absolute minimum of TEN relief pitchers to get through a summer. But that’s only the part of it. If you go team by team, and check out the statistical splits for the pitching staffs “as a reliever”, you’ll find that nearly every NL squad used between 17 and 25 (or more) people as relievers. Yes, maybe 4-5 of those people threw only an inning or two, but the bottom line is, a team must have unprecedented depth in their bullpen simply to get through the grind of a 162-game season.

My rough estimate is that the Mets need to have at least 20 arms to call upon over the course of the 2008 summer. Think that’s a high number? Consider this: 15 Mets threw at least one inning in relief in 2007 — which was the lowest total in the NL. There’s no question their bullpen was overworked this past season, and much of it had to do with the reluctance to change bodies.

I think we’ve already beaten this to death though — if you disagree, and think the Mets can go into 2008 with a similar bullpen plan (six bodies filling set roles from April to October), then stop reading this article. Also check to see if any of the starting pitchers from the 1980 Oakland A’s are available.

So, let’s assume the Mets’ bullpen needs to be 20 deep. Of course they’re not going to carry 20 relievers on the 25-man roster. Figure on El Duque, Mike Pelfrey, and Philip Humber throwing out of the bullpen here and there, and we’ll bring it down to 17. That means you’d have at least 7 on the Major League roster, and another 10 in the minors.

Now look again at the current pitchers under contract. There are 8 “solids”, 2 “questionables”, and 6 “longshots”. That’s 16. If you add all four “potentials”, you’re up to 20. So there’s already enough depth in the organization, right?

Sure, if you want to finish in third place. There are too many doubts and question marks regarding the 20. For example, will Sanchez and Padilla be healthy? We hope so, but who really knows? Will any of the “longshots” really be a viable option? Maybe only one or two. Will the Mets convert any of the four “potentials” from starting to relieving? Not our call.

Further, who’s to say that all of the “solids” break camp healthy? Any of them — after being abused in 2007 — could easily come up with tendinitis or something during spring training. Finally, are we truly happy with the skills offered by Mota and Schoeneweis?

I don’t think it’s out of the question to bring 25-30 potential relievers into spring training. Doing that, though, will require that the Mets acquire at least 10-15 pitchers between now and February. My guess is that Omar and co. will be scouring the minor league free agents as much as the MLB FAs, as they’ll be much cheaper. Not sure when that list is released, I believe it’s in early November. When it does become available, we’ll give it a thorough review.

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Boras is Not Idiotic

There’s been much ballyhoo over last week’s comments by John Schuerholz in regard to his opinion of the value of Alex Rodriguez and the demands presented by Scott Boras.

Specifically:

“I think it’s obnoxious . . . for someone to suggest that this is a valid salary level for a professional athlete, no matter what kind of voodoo economics they can do in analyzing the books of MLB, it’s absolutely asinine . . .

“When he presented us with that kind of offer with Andruw Jones, we found it so ridiculous and obnoxious we didn’t even respond. It didn’t even rise to the level of requiring a response. It’s just idiotic.”

Piles of people are roaring with approval of Schuerholz’s brash words for the “evil” Scott Boras and his outlandish demands. Boras is the bad guy, isn’t he? He’s terrible for baseball, he’s ruining the game, he’s greedy, he’s crazy, etc. After all NO BALLPLAYER should be making $30 million in one season. It’s ludicrous. Doctors save people’s lives, they don’t make that kind of money. Teachers do much more for the world than a baseball player does, yet doesn’t make that kind of money in ten lifetimes, much less one year!

Boras = Bad Guy. Boras’ Demands for A-Rod = Idiotic, Asinine.

Huh. Sounds more like sour grapes to me, coming from a guy whose boss refused to part with profits for the last four years. If Ted Turner were still running the Braves, and not some faceless conglomeration of corporate accountants with an eye specifically on the bottom line, I wonder what Schuerholz would be saying? I wonder what he’d be paying?

From 1999 to 2003, the Braves’ payroll jumped from $75M to over $106M. Immediately after Ted Turner gave up controlling interest, that payroll went down, down, down — as MLB profits went up, up, up. Their 2007 payroll was down to $87M, and figures to keep dwindling after Andruw Jones and his “asinine” demands leave town.

But who, really, is the idiot here? Is it Boras, for taking full advantage of the American way of free enterprise and capitalism? Is it Schuerholz, for getting into a situation where the Braves will pay $35M between now and the end of 2009 for Mike Hampton (or another way to look at it: $50M over three years)? Or is everyone “asinine”?

Here’s the way I see it: back in the 1970s, when Reggie Jackson signed an “outlandish” million-dollar contract, he justified it by saying “I put fannies in the seats.” He was right — he did. People PAID to see Reggie Jackson. People turned on the TV to see Reggie Jackson. People bought T-shirts and jerseys with his name on it. They bought “Reggie” candy bars, for crissakes! And when a guy can bring in revenue, doesn’t it make sense to give him a fair share of the proceeds?

Without question, Alex Rodriguez puts fannies in the seats, and adds significant value to a team. I’m not necessarily on board with the arithmetics of Boras’ “voo doo economics”, but you have to agree that A-Rod = revenue.

However, what about Chris Woodward? He made $850,000 in 2007. How about Aaron Sele? The Mets paid him a cool million. Did you, or anyone you know, EVER turn on the TV to see Chris Woodward hit? Do you think anyone (other than his parents) bought a ticket to a Mets game to see Aaron Sele?

Yet, their million-dollar (or nearly million-dollar) salaries are dismissed by everyone. No one talks about Miguel Cairo getting a seven-figure contract, because, in relation to the A-Rods and Andruws and the Chippers and the Beltrans, it’s chump change. The value is lost because of the astronomical salaries around them.

But tell me: how many teachers make $850,000 a year? How many doctors make $2.5M, which is what Bobby Kielty raked in to be a fourth or fifth outfielder for the Athletics (before being released!). Why is there such an uproar about the salary demands of an uber-superstar, the greatest baseball player of all-time, yet not even a squeak about Jose Mesa making more money in one season than most of us will see in a lifetime?

I did some browsing at Cot’s Baseball Contracts and picked a few players at random and their salaries (you can click on their names to see their stats on Baseball-Reference.

[TABLE=27]

Again, remove yourself from whatever you think about $30M for a baseball player. Look at these guys independently as the bench warmers, has-beens, and valueless players they are in relation to their exorbitant salaries. If need be, compare one of their salaries to YOURS … in fact, compare one salary for one season to your salary over the next ten years. Do you honestly believe that a backup catcher or a middle reliever is worth more money than what you can give to this Earth over the next ten years?

Now again, who is the idiot?

The owners, for allowing utility infielders and fifth starters to make in excess of three, four, five, six, seven million dollars or more in a season — or Scott Boras, for trying to get top dollar for one of the few guys who can “put fannies in the seats” ?

There was a time I also believed that Scott Boras was the devil, but that thought has changed considerably. What I realized is this: the owners have the dough, so if they don’t spend it on an A-Rod, or an Andruw Jones, or some other star, it will go in their pocket. Say all you want about the Yankees spending $225M on payroll, but at least they are pushing their profits back into the business. Can the Braves say the same? Or are they talking about how much money the shareholders will be getting as a result of their outstanding fiscal management of the baseball operations this past quarter?

Boras is constantly looked upon as the bad guy … and yet we’ve never heard a report of him putting a gun to an owner’s head to agree to a contract.

Are the salaries for baseball players insane? Absolutely. Is it Scott Boras’ fault? Hardly.

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The Funny Pages

If you didn’t start reading MetsToday until late in the season, you may have missed some of the more comical images and posts.

I’ve taken the liberty of picking and choosing some of the archives from the 2007 season.

Enjoy …

Choker Selection

Willie’s Skill at Jenga

Planet Randolph


Public Service Announcement (Moises Alou on a milk carton)


The Fatal Flaw

The Time Has Come

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Why So Orange?

Series Preview: Mets vs. Brewers (Prince Fielder & donuts)

Series Preview: Mets vs. Phillies Phinito (Sal Iovine cartoon)

Mets Game 149 (Sal Iovine cartoon)

Plus, a few from last offseason:

Ten Reasons Tom Glavine is a Turkey

How Glavine is Screwing the Mets

Let me know if I’ve missed any of your favorites.

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Needs and Luxuries

One of my favorite baseball sites — MLBTradeRumors — recently covered the Mets in their “Needs and Luxuries” series (hat tip to Micalpalyn and Isuzudude for inspiring this rebuttal).

Take a look at that post and then come back here. I’ll wait …

OK, so nothing earth shattering regarding the “current” Mets lineup — although it’s about 99.9% that Moises Alou will be back and you can plug him into the leftfield spot where Carlos Gomez is currently listed.

Beyond that, here are my opinions:

2B (Ruben Gotay)

I would be incredibly surprised (though equally thrilled) if Gotay is the starting second baseman come spring training. If the second baseman is not Luis Castillo, then I assume that Omar Minaya will look at Mark Loretta, David Eckstein, and Tad Iguchi as possibilities. I also strongly believe that A-Rod’s winter decisions could affect what the Mets do — not saying the Mets will sign A-Rod, but that his decision may create an opportunity to obtain someone else (i.e. Julio Lugo). I don’t think Freddy Sanchez is an option, simply because the Pirates seem to be high on him, and he’s fairly cheap. Though a new GM could have different ideas. Mark Ellis is an interesting possibility, but I think he’d only come East if he were part of a blockbuster that includes Danny Haren or Joe Blanton.

Catcher

If LoDuca doesn’t come back, then I’m betting the house that either Jorge Posada, Ramon Hernandez, or Miguel Olivo come to the Mets. I doubt Barrett is a consideration, and don’t see the Indians trading Shoppach when they want to transition Victor Martinez to 1B. Gerald Laird would be a nice pickup but I’d be surprised if Minaya went after a “no name” for such an important position on the diamond. That said, Bengie Molina is not out of the question.

Starting Pitching

We’ve been beating this to death. The Mets absolutely must sign a horse. If there’s a trade, I hope it’s Blanton and not Garland. D-Train is intriguing, but likely will cost too much. Nate Robertson is also interesting, if he can be pried away for a reasonable package. We’ve already discussed Schilling.

Relief Pitching

‘Cisco Cordero likely won’t be signed, especially if Milwaukee’s alligator arms reach into their pockets for some dough as has been suspected. We’ve covered Mo. Percival is a guy I was telling Omar to sign back in January, but he wasn’t reading my blog. He could be part of a rebuilding project, but they’d need to get a few more additional arms.

Luxuries

Have to strongly agree that the Mets’ greatest luxury is money, and strongly disagree that the Mets’s second luxury is prospects. The way I see it, Omar could put the future of this organization into a tailspin if he uses up too many of the minor league chips. My guess is there will be ONE major deal over the winter that involves names such as Pelfrey, Humber, Gomez, Milledge, Carp, FMart, Mulvey, etc., and that no more than three major prospects get sent away — they simply don’t have the depth to trade any more.

Final Comments

I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that Milledge is the rightfielder in 2008. Methinks he could be on the West Coast as part of a deal to get a big arm, and the Mets will sign or deal for another short-term corner outfielder. Just a hunch.

Also, although in the past bullpens have been “built on the cheap”, every team in MLB is desperate for relief arms, and that theory no longer applies. The Mets will have to be either incredibly lucky — like they were in the offseason prior to 2006 — or spend a combination of dollars and trading chips to get a few decent arms in the bullpen.

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Cleaning House

As a follow-up to the previous post, let’s go one step further.

Let’s pretend that today in Tampa the Yankee “braintrust” (ha!) decides not to bring Joe Torre back as manager.

Now let’s pretend that the same braintrust believes they have the perfect replacement. He’s a “winner”, a longtime Yankee from their Championship teams, has already managed a MLB team to the postseason, and has already proven he can manage under the microscope of the New York press.

And they won’t have to pay any relocation fees, because he lives in Upper Saddle River, NJ.

They hire Willie Randolph.

What an amazing coup for the Yankees — an ultimate backstabbing and move of disrespect on their crosstown adversaries.

For Randolph, it would be an ultimate fantasy. First, he returns to the Yankee pinstripes. Second, he’s blessed with the highest payroll in baseball history. Third, he gets to stick it to Omar and the Wilpons for making him sweat about his job in the early days of October. Finally, he gets to re-hire Rick Down to be his batting coach.

Now imagine just for a moment that this happens, and Omar Minaya turns right around and hires:

1. Tony LaRussa, the best manager in baseball

2. Leo Mazzone, the best pitching coach in baseball

3. Rudy Jaramillo, the best hitting coach in baseball

4. Larry Bowa, the best third-base coach in baseball

… and then goes and signs

1. A-Rod, the best player in baseball

2. Mo Rivera, the best closer in baseball

OK, we all know that Willie’s not going to the Bronx, and LaRussa probably can’t handle the New York media. And A-Rod probably wouldn’t move to rightfield to play in Flushing. Just throwing it out there for meaningless discussion — the possibility of the Mets bringing in “the best” of everything.

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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 …

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