In Case You Missed It: Kevin Czerwinski of MLB.com on MLB Radio

MLB.com’s Mets beat reporter, Kevin Czerwinski, appeared on MLB Radio’s Hot Stove Special this afternoon.  He talked a lot, and we provide a re-cap of the interview…

 

Czerwinski had the following to say about:

 

the Mets minor league system, following last year’s Trade Deadline raiding for RHP Kris Benson and RHP Victor Zambrano

 

“There’s a lot of talk about picking up people from Oakland, or picking up Mientkiewicz from Boston, and you can’t do that if you don’t have people to offer.  Right now the Mets don’t have any talent that’s Major League ready to offer.  The pitcher they do have left, Yusmeiro Petit, is down in AA, he won’t get above AAA, if he even gets that far, this year, and they still haven’t signed their first round pick.  So, they have a lot of work to do.”

 

the Mets’ budget and Minaya being at the helm

 

“The Mets are going to have an increased budget this year, that goes without saying – it’ll probably come in around $100 million, which is about $15 to $20 million more than it was last year.  But, we’re kidding ourselves if we think they’re going to go out and dump serious money on OF Carlos Beltran, or any one of these guys.  I would love to see that happen, and the Mets will certainly talk with Scott Boras and make Beltran an offer,  but I would not be holding my breath waiting for him to wind up in New York – if he does wind up in New York its going to be with the Yankees.”

 

whether not OF Magglio Ordonez would be a good fit for the Mets

 

“If healthy, that’s the big thing.  Mo Vaughn really hurt them, in that they’re all spooked with what happened to him and they don’t want to make that mistake again.  Now let’s face it, Scott Boras is going to want the King’s random for all his guys, regardless of whether or not they’re hurt.  They Mets are going to upgrade – however, your idea of an upgrade, and their idea of an upgrade are two different things.  The Mets just aren’t going to spend that kind of money, that’s not their M.O., I don’t care who the GM is, or what edict the ownership has given him, it’s just not their M.O.”

 

whether Al Leiter will be back with the Mets

 

“Let’s hope not.  And that’s nothing personal, its from a baseball stand point.  The guy averaged 108 pitches an outing this year, and he averages just over 5 innings an outing.  He kills your bullpen, he’s not very effective, his ERA over his last nine starts was pushing 6.00, he’s been on the DL each of the least two years and he’s 39-years-old.  If you have a chance to go out and get Matt Morris, or Carl Pavano or Brad Radke, or anyone else, and spend some money and get a guy you can lock up for a couple of years, why would you bother bringing back Al Leiter.”

 

on a potential deal with Oakland for one of the Big Three

 

“Not right now it’s not.  I could see the Mets offering a package of Yusmeiro Petit and Lastings Milledge, or something like that to get one of these guys.”

 

Troy Glaus playing 1B for the Mets

 

“I spoke with Troy Glaus’ agent the other weekend, and he said he’d be more than happy to play first base if there were no other options at first base, and that’d he love to play for the Mets.”

 

is C Mike Piazza a Met in 2005

 

“I would say: No.  Only because they’re trying to move him, and last week Fred Wilpon came out and I’m not going to let personal feelings get in the way – and in the same breath he said, ‘I want Al Leiter back.’  As much as Piazza’s production has gone down, he’s not a bad guy in the clubhouse – he’s not a great guy in the clubhouse, he’s clearly not a clubhouse presence – ya know, he shows up, looks at his mail, goes to the trainer’s room and sits there until he has to come out and get dressed, doesn’t talk to anybody really, doesn’t pay attention to anybody.  If you’re going to keep Piazza around as a catcher for a year, you can do worse than a guy that’s going to hit .280, hit 20 homers and knock in 60 runs.  And the pitchers do like throwing to him, he does call a decent game.  The only problem is they don’t have enough catchers.  They’re not going to give Vance Wilson the job, they’re trying to unload Jason Phillips, Mike Jacobs – the other catcher in the system – is coming off surgery and isn’t that good anyway, and they traded Justin Huber.  So unless they go out and dump a boat load of money on Jason Varitek, they really don’t have any where else to turn.”

 

Metsblog.com’s Take

 

I love Czerwinski’s bluntness.  It cracks me up.

 

The thing is, in addition to being funny, he is also rarely wrong in his opinions. 

 

A reader on this site once said Czerwinski should be the GM of the Mets.  I would agree with that.

 

Of note, however, was the claim that the team’s payroll could reach $100 million.  Considering it currently stands at roughly $75 million, with Benson and without Leiter, it is hard to imagine them spending $25 million and not landing a Pavano or Beltran.  And yet, it could happen.

 

It’s going to be a tumultuous off-season. 

Four Locked Up, The Other Undecided

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The News

The Mets and RHP Kris Benson agreed to a three-year, $22.5 million contract.  According to Newsday, the deal also includes a $2.5 million signing bonus and a $7.5 million club option for 2008 with a $500,000 buyout.

The Mets announced on Friday evening the additions of OF Ambiorix Concepion, OF Angel Pagan and RHP Matt Lindstrom to their 40-Man Roster. The Mets 40-man roster is now at 37. Missing from the roster, and thus available in the Rule V draft is LHP Royce Ring, Alay Soler and Blake McGinley. 

He said: Baseball sources have told the Daily News that LHP Al Leiter is “still very much undecided” about his future and is not close to signing with the Mets. 

She said: the New York Post reports that the Mets are “getting closer” to re-signing Leiter.

Multiple reports over the last few days indicate that the Mets have offered Leiter a Leiter a one-year deal worth more than $4 million with bonuses that could add another $3 million to the package. 

The Star-Ledger and Miami Herald claim that, in addition to the Phillies and the Yankees, the Marlins have interest in Leiter – with the Star-Ledger going as far to say the Fish offered Leiter a deal. Also, the Daily News reports that Leiter met with Yankees GM Brian Cashman at a midtown restaurant Friday.

Note: If you would like to submit a question for our monthly mailbag, send us an email to mailbag@metsblog.com

The Notes

If Leiter departs, the Daily News quotes Carl Pavano’s agent, Scott Shapiro, as saying his client “absolutely” would be interested in talking to the Mets.  The paper further notes, however, that Mets GM Omar Minaya has had no contact with Shapiro.

The Nationals’ acquisition of OF Jose Guillen from the Angels now gives the team four outfielders, and, in turn, could make 1B Nick Johnson expendable.  According to the New York Daily News, the Mets could be interested in trading for the former Yankee. 

Ken Rosenthal of the Sporting News writes the following: “The Devil Rays are willing to trade any of their five highest-priced players–IF Aubrey Huff, C Toby Hall, IF Julio Lugo, RF Jose Cruz and closer RHP Danys Baez–but not for cost-cutting reasons. “If we could get the right young player or two and free up money to get another player, then we’re getting two or three for one,” G.M. Chuck LaMar says. Huff is the least likely to depart.”

On November 11, Peter Gammons of ESPN reported that Tampa Bay is “trying to clear salary” and shopping 1B-OF Aubrey Huff and C Toby Hall. However, the following day, in an interview with Metsblog.com, Carter Gaddis, the Devil Rays’ beat reporter for the Tampa Tribune, debunked Gammons’ claims.

According to the Star-Ledger, the Mets offered the Angels C Mike Piazza or OF Cliff Floyd in exchange for Guillen. The Angels were more interested in acquiring more younger, cheaper players for Guillen, who is due to earn $3.5 million next year, and, instead, traded him to Washington.

The Arizona Fall League has concluded, with Mets C Joe Hietpas, OF Wayne Lydon and SP Brian Bannister turning in solid performances…

Player Pos AB H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO AVG OBP
Joe Hietpas C 48 15 3 0 3 0 2 8 0.310 0.380
Wayne Lydon OF 116 33 1 1 12 14 6 19 0.284 0.320
Brett Harper 1B 51 13 3 1 4 0 4 16 0.255 0.309
Player Pos W L IP SO BB ERA
Brian Bannister SP 2 0 14 17 4 3.77
Royce Ring RP 2 2 15 10 5 5.28
Matt Lindstron RP 2 1 15 9 10 4.11
Kevin Deaton SP 0 1 18 5 11 10.31


Metsblog.com’s Take

On Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson missed more than half of last season from a back injury at the start of the season and a broken cheekbone at the end, so his numbers, .251-7-33, were a tad misleading.  The year before, however, he hit .284 – .304 in the two-hole – with 14 homers with a .422 on-base percentage in 324 at-bats for the Yankees.  Additionally he is 26 years old, bats left-handed, is very good defensively, made just $1.25 million last season and has proven he can play in New York.

To say Johnson is patient would be an understatement – he drew 70 walks, versus 57 strike outs, in 324 at-bats in 2003, while hitting equally against lefties and righties.  Additionally, he will put the balls to all fields, with most coming as line drives in the gap.  His ability to get on base, take pitches, draw walks and spray the field make him an ideal number two hitter behind SS Jose Reyes.

He is not a “sexy” player, formed in the mold of a John Olerud.  However, he would be an ideal player to join Reyes, 3B David Wright and 2B Kaz Matsui, to comprise a young, inexpensive and exciting in-field, locked in place for a number of years.  

The two questions, however, are: 

1. What would the Mets have to give up for Johnson?

2. Having missed substantial time due to injury, at such a young age, early on in his career, is Johnson worth banking on?

On The 40-man Roster

A player that is not on the 40-man roster is automatically eligible for the Rule V Draft.  If drafted by another team, he must appear on his new club’s 25-man roster the entire year.  If he is dropped at anytime, he can be re-claimed by the team he was initially drafted from. 

In other words, best of luck Royce. 

On Leiter

Not for nothing, but if the option is Pavano or Leiter, which I’m sure is oversimplifying it, I’d be quite comfortable going into next season with Glavine, Trachsel, Pavano, Benson and Zambrano, with the latter locked in place for the next three seasons. 

On YesOrNoToSosa.com

Our posting of the Sammy Sosa poll, comments and webpage were a tremendous success.  So far, 866 people have voted, with 70 percent against the acquisition.  The poll will remain open until tonight.

Tuesday morning we will be emailing the results and comments to editors and writers at all major New York newspapers, and to the Mets public relations and media relations department, including Jay Horwitz, the team’s public relations director.

Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, please forward YesOrNoToSosa.com to anyone you believe has an opinion on the matter.  The more votes we have, the more impact we will all have.

Note: If you would like to write a Fan Editorial for Metsblog, click here: I Want to Write!

The Confidence Rating

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most confident and 1 being no confidence, how confident are you in the Mets upper management?

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For more Mets news, check out SportSpyder.com

OF Guillen Traded to the Expos, not the Mets…

According to the Associated Press, the Angels have agreed to trade OF Jose Guillen to the Washington-bound Expos for OF Juan Rivera and a prospect.

When asked where Guillen could eventually be traded to, Jayson Stark of ESPN said, “I keep hearing the most likely destinations for Guillen are Washington or the Mets.”

Guillen hit .294 with 27 homers and a career-high 104 RBI in 2004.  He is owed $3.5 million next season.

MetsBlog Radio: Interview with Kevin Czerwinski of MLB.com

From
the Sosa rumors to the Piazza rumors to the status of Leiter to the health of
Reyes, there is plenty on the mind of the Mets fan these days…to help sort it
all out, Kevin Czerwinski, Mets beat reporter at MLB.com, joins MetsBlog Radio,
this afternoon, at Metsblog.com

To
listen, simply click the play button below.


Note: Audio will stop if youpost a comment or hit refresh on this page.

YesOrNoToSosa.com: Sound Off

The Smoke

There has been wild speculation that the Mets have interest in acquiring OF Sammy Sosa from the Cubs.

The Fire

It is obvious to everyone that these rumors have tremendous merit.  On the heels of this news, a plethora of editorial content has been pushed forward on whether or not the Mets should acquire Sosa.  Journalists, from ESPN’s Buster Olney to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci to the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch to Ken Rosenthal of the Sporting News, as well as radio talk show hosts at ESPN 1050, WFAN 660 and MLB Radio, have all voiced their opinions against the acquisition.  

Fans have expressed discontent, too…to say the least.

The Reaction

This webpage has been created to give fans an unlimited platform of expression, with only regards to their opinions on the Mets potential acquisition of Sosa.

The Goal

Our plan is to send this webpage to each and every editor and beat reporter in New York City and Chicago, as well as to the Mets public relations and media relations department, by the middle of next week.  

How they each choose to use the remarks on this page is entirely up to them.

The Rules

First, cast your answer to the following question: Do you want to see OF Sammy Sosa on the Mets?

The comments section is currently closed.  However, the poll will remain open until Wednesday, November 24.

The Note

Please forward this page to any one you believe has an opinion on this topic.  Thank You.

The Poll

Do you want to see OF Sammy Sosa on the Mets?

 

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YES

NO

Carm H

Downside, Sosa flops and we pay him for two years. Upside, he plays all season and hits more homeruns than any player in Mets history. I say do it.

Eric

Getting Sosa is probably the worse move Omar can make to start his regime. It seems exactly the wrong message about the vision and goals he is pursuing.
Hopefully he will hear the voice of the fans.

Steven, from Tacoma

I say yes if only its straight up for Cliff Floyd and there is a minimal amount of $$$$ increase.

Pal88

NO to Sosa

William B

I don’t see the issue of getting him as an all-or-nothing situation. He could help or hurt. But IF he fills our RF hole at little cost, that frees up money for another big FA in the OF or at 1B. That’s a GOOD thing…

mrnecio3...

Simply put, if you bring Sosa, please cancel my ticket package. And I don’t want to hear about Latino population coming to see him. I’m in that demographic and I rather see John Rocker pitch for us.

Ndk5

Yes, if the price is right.

csbmets1

I don’t want Sosa. If we acquire him than nothing has changed with this team. I thought by bringing in Omar he would steer this team in the right direction. We could’ve got Duquette to make the same move under Wilpon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BridgeG...

They need to be smart and go after young stars.

dolbash

We’re a rebuilding team and Sosa is a one, maybe two, year played. Why devote a position to him when we have long-term needs? Especially at that price.

Sarcastico1

It befuddles me that every executive that comes to take over any NY franchise feels that NY fans will not stand for a rebuilding process..Isiah Thomas, Scott Layden, Glen Sather, Steve Phillips, Grunfield, etc..New York is one of the smartest sports towns in the world with one of the most loyal fan bases around. We have a young nucleus. Stop living in denial and build for a brighter future. Go for Beltran!

Jay

No way. Why?

Sosa’s OPS 2000-2003: 1.174, .993, .911, .849. Salary 2004 = $17 million

Victor Diaz’ OPS 2003: .850. Salary 2004 = $300,000

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. – Aldous Huxley

Fastball

No! Sosa is a shell of the slugger he once was. Moving from hitter-friendly Wrigley to Shea at his advancing age, I expect he wouldn’t hit any better than a Floyd/Diaz combo next year. And why give Randolph the headache of managing a prima donna? Sosa = just another George Foster/Mo Vaughn.

Brett Taranda...

I can’t even fathom having to give a reason! Isn’t it obvious??? We will make Sosa’s life miserable! And in turn he will make Willie’s life miserable!

itsmetsforme

Getting an aging, shrunken perhaps post-roids Sosa instead of investing in youth and talent in the outfield–to my mind, this would be a major negative turning point, not only in Omar’s regime, but in recent Mets history, on the scale of not retaining Olerud, re-signing Rey Ordonez, getting Moo Vaughn, passing on Arod, signing Glavine, missing out on Vlad, etc. Just when we thought it was safe to hope again, it looks like the realities of mediocre management will crush our spirits again. It just hurts to see it coming.

EddieJ300

What happened to our youth movement?

Brian B

One year, YES. Two years, NO!

Ian, from Hoboken

Mets management consistently misunderstands its fan base. We aren’t Yankee fans. We will support the team through a rebuilding process. We want a team with young guys from our minor league system, a few savy veterans tossed in, and absolutely no more over-priced former all-star hired guns.

Don

Note to Fred- this isn’t real estate- you can’t buy old, decrepit players and hope somehow they magically come back with the market.

J in FL

Before I want to see the Mets win, I want to see them regain credibility among their fans, among the media and among MLB Players and Officials.

Ian C

Because, to paraphrase that magnum opus of baseball movies, Little Big League, you can’t manage like a fan. So Omar needs to let go of the Ghost of Sosa Past and get with the future. 

robscott

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

DaveG924...

Sammy Sosa is a once great athlete who has been on a serious decline for the past three years. He’s old, half as large as he used to be, and as he recently showed, a selfish man who whines about his spot in the batting order and puts himself before his team (and if you think his numbers at Wrigley have been on a decline, just wait’ll he gets into the batter’s box at Shea).

Blue Monday 88

Here’s an idea — build a team around the youth of the organization — and try not to trade them away for a hot lunch — and try not to trade for an aging overweight obnoxious diva. Hey, why not get Star Jones to play then?

Senor Mike

Acquiring Sosa is a repeat of past mistakes: specifically trading 1 problem (a declining former star) for a bigger problem (a more expensive former uber-star). Even if the money washes – which I highly doubt it would – I see far more harm than good coming from his acquisition. Specifically in the clubhouse and from fan feedback.

Jim A...

Some real simple math:

Sammy Sosa + Mets uniform = MONUMENTAL DISASTER

Don’t do this to the team, to your fans, or to your new rookie manager. Leave Sammy right where he is in Chicago, OK?

Dave J

WE DON’T NEED A STEROID-PUMPED CORKED-BAT-CONVICTED HAS-BEEN CLUBHOUSE BRAT! IT’S EMBARRASSING TO MET FANS THAT SOSA IS EVEN BEING CONSIDERED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LifelongMetsfan

Pleas God no, I’d rather have Hidalgo.

Gary

No Sosa, no way.

Steve 5

If Omar wants to move Floyd, trade him to an AL team and take back salary – don’t make the situation worse by bringing in a “name” player like Sosa who will hurt this team more than help it.

Greg247

Omar…
Three words:
REMEMBER MO VAUGHN.
Use your head man.

ramsey

SAY IT AIN’T SOSA!!!

JNGordon

Those who do not learn from mistakes of history, are condemned to repeat them. If the GM wants to be around for the long term, he must plan for the long term.

Ken

This is a disaster of Vaughn proportions, except this time insurance won’t get us off the hook. If Minaya does this, he’s a GM worthy of the Wilpons.

mbreuer183

The Mets should not waste time on acquiring another player whose best years are behind him. 

LA513

I find it hard to believe that Met brass have not learded from past mistakes. They cannot seriously be considering another bone head trade for an aging players well into decline. Are you kidding me? Wise up, will you please!!

Louisvillemetfan

Sosa will not be able to survive the NY fan onslaught while showcasing his (post juiced) warning track power and defensive incapability in Shea’s vast outfield. This will no doubt lead to the whining “why me” attitude that Sosa seems to fall back on too much of late. Bring in the hard nosed ballplayers of the here and now (or maybe tomorrow) that play hard all of the time, not the next fallen star with a prima donna attitude.

tradermo

I understand Omar wanting to make a big splash in his first offseason for the Mets, but I fear he might be smashing his head on the bottom of the pool if pulls off the Sosa deal.

Anthony De Rosa...

Why are we even talking about Sosa????? YES TO BELTRAN!!!

KennKerp..

Realistically, it’s a bad idea. I say realistically because Sosa might be a good idea if we could ADD him as a slugger as opposed to REPLACING another slugger (Floyd or Piazza) with him. If we could have all three of those guys at the same time, it might work. At least I’d like to see if it would work. But realistically it’s waaay to expensive. Please don’t screw it up by trading for Sosa!!!

Lucy B

Sammy comes in, I stop going to Shea.

Daniel S

No. We should finish paying Bobby Bonilla and Mo Vaughn first

William L

To quote Chris Berman of ABC & ESPN “Say it ain’t Sosa”

Mike

If they make this trade, Met fans should boycott Shea Stadium and and anything having to do with the NY Mets until Wilpon sells the team!

Junipermo

I want the Mets to go in a clear, new direction, one that does not involve substantial commitment to veterans clearly past their prime.

Brian P...

NO to sosa.. Use the money to go after Beltran instead…10 years younger and a better overall player.

Old Backstop...

Sosa is a proven cheater, a proven liar, disliked by teammates, aged, oft injured and horrendously overpaid. The Mets would be better served going in a different direction.

Steven Y

NOsa

Robert M, of DC

Why do Met fans need to be sold on someone? Can’t we get a player that I WANT to “buy” into? An organization in the rebuilding stage needs to quit looking for diamonds in the rough and focus on the players that are already good (Beltran, Vlad, A-Rod, etc)!!!

Amit J

A big fat No! Why spend around $15 million on sosa, when you can spend a couple mil more and get Beltran, or simply spend it on two players, Magglio and Pavano/Clement/Lowe, and be a much better team.

Rolando R

Is there really a reason to say yes?

Mark K, from NYC

I think that trading for Sammy Sosa would be a horrible move for the NY Mets…Haven’t the Mets learned their lesson on fading ex-superstars? One word…Beltran!

Bergon22

If Sosa joins the Mets then Rickey Henderson should throw out the first pitch for the 2005 season to Bobby Bonilla.

Jake G

I believe Omar Minaya is simply blind to the facts of this trade due to his personal feelings for Sosa.

Jon K

Please sir no more.

Patman22

Sammy Sosa was a great ball player, the key word is was. The Mets are famous for trading for or signing players on the downside of there career. They need to spend wisley and get a player in there prime to help this team. Dont they get it?

Beth DiC

Last year at this time, Kaz Matsui was being hyped as a gold-glove infielder…Enough with the hype. The Mets need to get younger, faster, hungrier. Sosa is not the answer.

Matt from Nashville

Grumpy, spoiled, declining, overpaid, old, steroid-enhanced primadona? NO, THANK YOU!!!

Lou...

NO to Sammy..he’s well past his prime.This is a move the 2002 Mets would have made.

Mark L

Dumbest. Move. Ever.

Mark, a concerned fan, from Corona, NY

We need to build this team with youth. Not surly fading former superstars like Sammy Sosa. Please don’t let this trade happen. It will not improve the New York Mets!

Vince L

Absolutely NOT. The absolute worse way to start your career as a GM Omar is to bring Sammy in. He doesn’t fit the direction the organization has gone in the past few years. We have gotten away from the Bonilla’s and Coleman’s who are attention needy players. 

Jim, from Cazenovia, NY, with a haikus

Sammy’s career: great!
But we need a team player
And he isn’t one

Marketing pluses
Outweighed by declining stats,
Enormous ego

Shea is not the place
For one-dimensional bats
Who can’t field either

In Love With the Mets…

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The News

It is expected that the Mets will announce the re-signing of RHP Kris Benson today. The two parties have reportedly agreed to a three-year deal worth #23 million, with an option for 2008.

The Notes

When asked about where OF Jose Guillen could eventually be traded to, Jayson Stark of ESPN said, “I keep hearing the most likely destinations for Guillen are Washington or the Mets.”

The LA Times confirms a report that the Mets and Angels have discussed a deal that would send C Mike Piazza to Anaheim. However, the paper believes the deal is for only OF Jose Guillen, with the Mets picking up a substantial portion of Piazza’s remaining $15 million for 2005.

The Star-Telegram suggests a rumor that the Mets and Rangers had discussed a 2B Alfonso Soriano for OF Cliff Floyd deal, as opposed to the traditional Soriano-for-Reyes one that makes the rounds every few weeks. 

By Friday, all major-league teams must finalize their 40-man rosters in order to protect eligible minor-leaguers from December’s Rule 5 draft.  Oh boy.  This typically proves to be quite the controversial maneuver for the Mets each season.  Good luck Omar.

FHM awarded Kris Benson’s wife, Anna, the title of “Baseball’s Hottest Wife.”  Well done, Kris.  Well done, indeed.

Note: If you would like to submit a question for our monthly mailbag, send us an email to mailbag@metsblog.com

The Quote

“It’s a process between us (his agents, the Hendricks brothers) and (Mets GM) Omar Minaya. I’ve been there for several years and everybody knows how I’ve felt about what the Mets have meant to me – the uniform and the marks. Because in the end when I sit with my wife (Lori), I’m still in love with the uniform, the Mets logo. I’ve got a 5-year-old mentality when I think of it: my first game as a kid in 1970 when they raised the flag. I remember going with my father and all my brothers, standing in the parking lot after the game and taking a picture of Opening Day.” – Al Leiter, regarding his desire to re-sign with the Mets, as quoted by the Daily News.

Fan Editorials

Metsblog.com is looking to expand its voice.  Therefore, we are now accepting Fan Opinion Editorials, with the hope of posting at least one every few days or so.  To submit an editorial, click below for more details… I Want to Write!

For more Mets news, check out SportSpyder.com

MetsBlog Hot Stove Challenge: Play Along


The Rules

Select five players, from the columns below, that you feel will end up on the Mets 2005 opening day roster. 

Rank them in the order of how confident you are that they will end up on the Mets.

The Example

First Pick: OF J.D. Drew
Second Pick: SP Derek Lowe
Third Pick: SP Carl Pavano
Fourth Pick: C Jason Kendall
Last Pick: OF Alfonso Soriano

The Winner

Come opening day, if any of your selections are on the Mets, you’ll receive corresponding points for the acquisition.  For example, you’ll get five points if your top pick is acquired, four points if your second pick is acquired, three if your third is acquired, second if your fourth pick is acquired and one point if your last pick is acquired.  The participant with the most points wins.

The Entry

To enter, simply respond in the comments section below.  Please, just post your picks, no comments or explanations.  MetsBlog has entered its selections as the first post.  Good luck.

To Register

To play, you must have a MetsBlog Username.  If you do not yet have one, you can sign-up here: Sign Me Up.  The process is very non-intrusive, you’ll be asked simply to provide a username and password, that’s all.

"Might" Be Interested…you can say that, again.

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The News

Most all New York papers believe the Mets will announce the re-signing of RHP Kris Benson either today or tomorrow.  Benson will likely receive a three-year contract worth roughly $23 million. Benson went 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA for the Mets in 2004.

Benson is not the only person who could be returning to the Mets.  According to Newsday and MSG, the Mets plan to bring back Mookie Wilson to serve as a first base/baserunning coach.  Additionally, it appears Sandy Alomar Sr. is close to becoming the team’s bench coach, as well.

The Notes

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN INsider, the Royals asked the Angels what they would have to give up to get OF Jose Guillen, while at the GM Meetings.  The answer: SS Angel Berroa, 2003 A.L. Rookie of the Year winner. Yikes.  I imagine that is about the time the discussion came to an end.

Jason at Always Amazin’ provides this nugget: According to Carlos Lugo, of Baseball Prospectus, Mets’ RHP Alay Soler has struck out 17 in nine innings, with just one walk and seven hits allowed. 

Although the Mets will continue to negotiate with the LHP Al Leiter, the New York Times believes they could eventually turn their attention to another starting pitcher.  One team official tells the Times that the Mets “might” be interested in LHP Jon Lieber.

The Daily News reports, according to a baseball source, that although the Mets have expressed interest in 1B Richie Sexson, they have yet to make him an offer.  Baltimore, Seattle and Arizona are also in need of a first baseman, so the competition for both Sexson and 1B Carlos Delgado could be fierce. 

Many readers of MetsBlog have expressed a desire for the Mets to acquire Phillies 1B prospect Ryan Howard.  Well, here’s your chance.  According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phillies could be looking to swap prospects in exchange for the power-hitting, 25-year-old, first baseman.  In 485 minor league at-bats this past season, Howard hit .290 with 46 HR and 131 RBI.  While his  power and ability to hit the ball to the opposite field are what he is best known for, his running speed, athleticism, and propensity for striking out seems to be of tremendous concern for the Phillies.

Jim Callis of Baseball America recently pointed out during his AskBA column that even though the Mets declined the option on Leiter, they will still receive compensatory draft picks if he signs with another team.  Callis further notes, “Leiter is also a Type A free agent, and the Mets will get compensation for him as long as they offer him arbitration.” Good to know. 

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Metsblog.com’s Take

On Sosa

For what it’s worth, I’ve talked with roughly 20 different experts, ranging from ex-players to beat reporters to radio hosts, and I’ve yet to hear a single person say, if they were the Mets, that they’d acquire OF Sammy Sosa.  Outside of Minaya, who does want the Mets to get Sammy? I just don’t know.

On Headlines

In their report regarding the Mets and Richie Sexson, the Daily News ran the headline: Sexson, the City. I have to admit that I laughed at this. Shame on me.

On our plan

Metsblog has received a ton of emails asking what “our plan” for the Mets is.  While most reporters and blogs have already posted their 800 to 1000 word solutions, Metsblog is close to wrapping up a 23 page document, which will be available in downloadable sections, as well, dealing with solutions for each position, as well as insights into the team’s payroll, marketing and health.  We apologize for the delay of its posting.  We are very close, however.

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The Confidence Rating

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most confident and 1 being no confidence, how confident are you in the Mets current starting lineup?

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For more Mets news, check out SportSpyder.com

Closing in Fast…

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The News

The Journal News, Newsday and the Daily News report that the Mets are “closing in fast” on a deal with RHP Kris Benson. The paper claims that the deal is for three-years between $21 and $23 million, depending on incentives, with an option for 2008.

According to the New York Post, Jose Reyes is likely to start winter ball in December, though he said that sports performance manager Mackie Shilstone, who put Reyes on a fitness program, believes Reyes is still at risk to play.

The Notes

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reports that OF Sammy Sosa has interest in playing for the Mets, Dodgers and Marlins, “but wants to play at least two seasons with a new club.” This means he would need to get some form of a contract extension in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause.

Most newspapers report that any deal between the Mets and Sosa will take more time to be completed. “It’s a risky acquisition with great upside,” one American League executive told the New York Post. “But with any player at that age, it’s going to have to be a market where their payroll is such that they have greater tolerance for risk.”

The Miami Herald claims the Marlins have interest in trading for OF Sammy Sosa, but, “only if the Cubs pay much of the $36 million he’s owed the next two years.”

The Journal News believes the Mets “expect” LHP Al Leiter to return for an eighth season with the Mets.

The Mets will begin the 2005 season in Cincinnati on April 4. The Mets home opener will be April 11 against Houston. Of most interest is that the Mets and Yankees play at Shea as early as May, then in the Bronx in mid-June. The regular season ends on Oct. 2 as the Mets and Rockies close out a three-game set in Queens.

According to Newsday, Expos GM Jim Bowden has been very aggressive in his pursuit for Angels OF Jose Guillen.

The Confidence Rating

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most confident and 1 being no confidence, how confident are you in the Mets ability to make the playoffs in three years time?

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For more Mets news, check out SportSpyder.com

Q-n-A IMterview: Carter Gaddis of Tampa Tribune

Metsblog engages Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat reporter Carter Gaddis, of the Tampa Tribune, in a quick IMterview about the availability of Aubrey Huff, this afternoon, at Metsblog.com…

 

On November 11, Peter Gammons of ESPN reported that Tampa Bay is “trying to clear salary” and shopping 1B-OF Aubrey Huff and C Toby Hall.  As we stated that day, Metsblog loves Aubrey Huff.  So, we reached out to the Devil Ray’s beat reporter for the Tampa Tribune, Carter Gaddis, for a quick IMterview…

 

Metsblog: As you may or may not have read, Peter Gammons of ESPN reports the Rays are shopping Aubrey Huff and C Toby Hall.  Being that the Mets are in need of a first baseman, Huff would obviously be of interest to GM Omar Minaya.  Assuming Gammons is correct, what do you feel the Devil Rays would be looking to acquire in a deal for Huff?

 

CGaddis: They won’t trade Huff.  He’s in the second year of a three-year deal

that’s very much in Tampa Bay’s favor (he’s making 4.5 million in ’05 and is a legit .300-30-100 guy).  They might try to move Hall, because he’s arb. eligible and is due a big raise (from 350,000 to about 3 million). I don’t think they will move Hall, though, because they have absolutely nothing behind him in the organization at catcher and they’d have to pay a starting catcher (probably) more than they’ll have to pay Hall.

 

Metsblog: Well, with the relationship between the Mets and the Rays, wouldn’t you say that anything is possible?

 

CGaddis: Of course, the Rays and Mets have a history (pre-Minaya).  LaMar got

Ordonez for basically nothing and Kazmir for Zambrano. So, I wouldn’t be

surprised if the Rays are back trying to feed at that trough.

 

Metsblog: Ouch!  That hurts, but only because you are right.  I have no doubt, though, that Minaya has shut that pipe line down.

 

CGaddis: I agree that Minaya has shut it down, but LaMar sees orange and blue and his eyes light up. Really, getting Ordonez and Kazmir were his best two moves as a GM, and it’ll be hard for him to get it through his head that the Mets no longer are his for the picking. (This is a guy, remember, who traded Brandon Backe for Geoff Blum.)

 

Metsblog: So then maybe the Mets can land Huff?

 

CGaddis: I’m telling ya, they won’t trade him. Piniella would quite literally bulldoze the front office if they traded away his only legit run producer.  And Huff is actually a  bargain, so not even the Rays are inept enough to let him get away.

 

Metsblog: Too bad the market doesn’t account for past lopsided trades.  Maybe the Mets could get Huff for free at that point.  Just kidding.  Who else from the Devil Rays could be had?

 

CGaddis: Keep an eye on Jose Cruz Jr.  If the Rays could get a young arm or (even better) a young catcher for Cruz, they’d do it. Cruz makes $4  million next year, and that’s NOT a bargain for a guy who is going to walk 100 times but is only going to bat .240 with 20 HR and 70 RBI in this lineup. And his glove went downhill this year for some reason. He is, however, a good fit in a lineup that doesn’t ask him to do too much  (he had the same offensive season in ’03 for SF that he had this year, but that was as a No. 7 or 8 hitter and it worked).  I’ve been told they won’t trade Cruz, but in this case I’m not buying it.  If the right prospect is available, they’d move him.

 

Metsblog: And what do you think the Rays would be asking for in exchange for Toby Hall?

 

CGaddis: You know, I’m not so sure about Hall. I’m hearing now the Rays might be interested in Charles Johnson (if they can get Colorado to pay most of his $9 million next year).  If that happens, Toby might be had at a cheaper price than two prospects. In fact, Toby might be had as a free agent after Dec. 20 if they trade for Johnson and don’t tender Toby. 

 

Metsblog: Assuming he were available, though, even if the Mets were to send a player, such as OF Cliff Floyd, and enough money to give the Rays Floyd at $3.5 million per year for the next two seasons, as well as a young, starting pitcher, such as Jae Seo, who has a 4.22 ERA in 52 Major League starts and isn’t arbitration eligible until after next season, would Huff still be “untouchable” in your opinion?

 

CGaddis: Although I think they would have some interest in a good young pitcher,  I think Floyd’s the wrong guy. Too many good, young outfielders in the  organization for the Rays to ship Huff away just to get a good, old outfielder (even at a good price, even with a good young pitcher thrown in).

 

Metsblog: Gotcha…Huff is going no place.  Fair enough.  Thanks, Carter.  Hope all is well, and thanks for the chat.

Have Fun in the Bronx, or Philly…

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The News

As expected, the Mets declined the $10.2 million option on LHP Al Leiter’s contract and decided to pay a $2.1 million buyout, making him a free agent as of last night.  The Philadelphia Daily News believes the Phillies are expected to make an offer to Leiter, and most reports have indicated the Yankees will do the same. 

According to MLB.com, the Mets received a three-year, $25-million counter offer from Kris Benson.

OF Victor Diaz entered the game as a catcher during the sixth inning of his most recent game in the Dominican Winter League. Interesting!

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Peter Gammons of ESPN.com reports that A) the Reds are taking offers for Austin Kearns, asking for a young future top-of-the-rotation starter and B) the Braves have offered 2B Marcus Giles and LHP Dan Meyer to Oakland for one of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.

The Notes

Ken Rosenthal of the Sporting News offers the following note to Mets GM Omar Minaya: OF Sammy Sosa isn’t going to waive his no-trade clause for a one-year arrangement. The Mets believe Sosa can revive short term, but Sosa almost certainly would require a contract extension if he agreed to forfeit the additional $22.5 million he would receive if traded. The New York Post believes a deal could be worked out between the Mets and Cubs as early as this week.

The 2005 Bill James Handbook projects that 3B David Wright will bat .309 with 27 home runs.

The Anaheim Angels declined the $5.5 million option for RHP Ramon Ortiz.

According to the New York Post, the Mets have told RHP Derek Lowe’s agent, Scott Boras, they’d be interested in him.

The Daily News reports that 2B Alfonso Soriano will not move to right field in a deal with the Mets.

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The Confidence Rating

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being most confident and 1 being no confidence, how confident are you in the Mets ability to make the playoffs next season?

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For more Mets news, check out SportSpyder.com