Today is the first day teams are able to negotiate with free agents. I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely coincidental that Commissioner Bud Selig came out with the announcement several teams lost money.
The market is open.
I don’t believe it for a second. I don’t because the owners have always cried poverty yet continue to spend. The owners have also never been willing to let a neutral third party audit their books. Then again, you could cook the books any way you want.
The three top free agents are John Lackey, Matt Holiday and Jason Bay.
Bay has already turned down the Red Sox, but you knew that was just posturing for the market to open so there’s competition to drive up the price.
The Mets say they will spend and I believe them. I just don’t believe they’ll spend enough to land Holliday or Lackey. I would be stunned to see either as a Met. But, I also don’t believe they aren’t willing to make a splash.
Regardless of whether the market came back to them or not, the Mets did bring in Johan Santana and signed him to a $137.5 million extension two winters ago. Last year, they spent $36 million for Francisco Rodriguez.
In previous seasons, they spent for Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado. Remember, their payroll was on the MLB’s highest. The problem, is they haven’t gotten the return on their money.
LINCECUM: My Cy Young Award pick.
Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum
and Adam Wainwright. What’s not to like about any of them. Their presence gives their team almost a 70 percent chance of winning on any night.
But, if I could only take one, I’d go with the Giants’ Lincecum. He’d get my Cy Young Award vote today and could walk away with his second straight award.
Carpenter (17-4) led the league in ERA (2.24) and WHIP (1.01). His St. Louis teammate, Wainwright (19-8, 2.63) wins and innings pitched (233) and was fourth in ERA, strikeouts and win percentage.
Lincecum (15-7), however, was consistently dominant, leading the league in strikeouts (261), batting average against (.206) and was second in ERA (2.48) and WHIP (1.05). He only won four less games than Wainwright and two than Carpenter, I wonder how it would have been different if Lincecum had the run support of his Cardinal competition. Lincecum was given 5.83 runs to work with – a wash when compared to Carpenter’s 5.84. Wainwright, however, was given 7.07 runs a game.
While W-L record is a factor, I think Lincecum was superior in more areas than the other two.
There were some interesting comments late last night on the Manager of the Year post. I was asked whether I saw young guys seemingly not care after a loss.
I sure did. Saw it during the games, too. And, yes, Tom Glavine and Billy Wagner spoke out about it. I wrote it several times. Some guys, Lastings Milledge for one, and Jose Reyes was another, who came across as not caring at times.
GLAVINE: Quote misunderstood.
Although Carlos Beltran is quiet, I never got that impression from him. Carlos Delgado? Well, let’s just say he never wore a loss on his face.
As far as Glavine being a fraud? I don’t buy it. Never have and never will. Yes, he got shelled, and yes he answered a question by saying “this is not devastating.” Glavine’s problem was he was too literal in his use of the word. The rest of the quote, and I’m paraphrasing, “is losing a child or a loved one is devastating not losing a baseball game.”
In that context he’s right. Believe me, he was embarrassed and angry at his performance. He just wasn’t devastated.
The Manager of the Year for both leagues will be announced in about an hour. I’ve voted for this award several times and the criteria varies as it does this year.
Most often the award goes to a manager who leads an under achieving team into the playoffs or to a dramatic improvement. That’s the case this year with my choice, Jim Tracy of the Rockies. The Rockies entered the season ranked behind the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West, and in some circles behind Arizona.
But, the Rockies got hot in the second half, much like they did in 2007, and rolled into the playoffs. They lost to the Phillies, but that didn’t change the fact they had a surprising season.
Another variable is a lifetime achievement award when there’s no surprise winner. That would go to Mike Scioscia of the Angels, who always has his team playing alert, aggressive and fundamental baseball. OK, except for the ALCS this year, but the voting is done prior to the start of the playoffs.
* Reportedly, the Mets hired Dave Jauss as bench coach. Jauss has a history with Jerry Manuel, who as a field coordinator for Montreal in the late 1980s, hired him as a minor league manager. Jauss has also been a bench coach for Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
I got to know Jauss when I covered the Yankees. I’d pick his brain whenever I could when the Yankees played the Red Sox. He’s a very smart and personable guy, who I believe will someday get a chance to manager on the major league level.
* I liked the story in the Daily News about Carlos Beltran visiting a VA hospital in Manhattan. A lot of times we hear of the bad guys in sports, but there are far more good guys, and Beltran is one of them. I’ve found most players are willing to, and enjoy, making such appearances like Beltran.
* GM Omar Minaya is not giving up the ghost of Carlos Delgado. He’ll scout him in the Puerto Rican winter league to see how healthy he is and how his hip as recovered. I’m still of the belief not bringing back Delgado is the way to go if the team is in a rebuilding mode.
* Sandy Alomar Jr., left the organization to be bench coach at Cleveland. It is a step up, but it was also an obviously inevitable move. Once dad got the ax, the son was looking out the door.
* Tim Teufel was promoted to manage Double-A Binghamton.