Looking Back ....
…. In 1991, in one of their better decisions, the Mets signed Bobby Bonilla to a five-year, $29 million contract. At the time, Bonilla, a local athlete, was coming off a productive run with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bonilla became a lightning rod in the clubhouse, some thought a clubhouse cancer. Threatening reporters didn’t help his image. I was in Baltimore when he brought his reputation to the Orioles, and sure enough, he didn’t report. He and Davey Johnson had an especially combative relationship caused by the DH rule.
Bonilla, who couldn’t field, didn’t like the DH and rebelled at being used in that slot. I didn’t have a chummy relationship with Bonilla, who was adverse to answering most questions, even simple ones, like, “how are you?”
One time, that question was answered with the, “why don’t you ask the “!@#$%%^” manager?”
ON DECK: A simple question about Roy Halladay.
As expected, the Mets did not offer arbitration to Carlos Delgado, Fernando Tatis, JJ Putz, Marlon Anderson and Gary Sheffield.
There was no way they were going to do Delgado, who could have come away with a $12 million deal had he accepted. That would have been just dumb.
Not that the Mets had a chance at trading for him anyway, but Roy Halladay says he won’t approve a deal after spring training. That means, in order to get prospects instead of compensatory draft picks, the Blue Jays better push it now or have him walk after next year. This can only mean a bidding war between the Red Sox and Yankees. He will not fall back to the pack the way Johan Santana did and was snatched by the Mets.
Sorry for the late post on this. The Mets will bring back Alex Cora to a one-year, $2 million contract for the 2010 season with a vested club option for 2011.
Which means if he plays as much as he did last year, a contract would kick in for the 2011 season. Because of the Jose Reyes injury, Cora played far more than the Mets anticipated when they signed him. He’s a great clubhouse presence by all accounts, a professional Reyes and others can learn from.
They can learn from him because he’s 34 years old.
I like, and I don’t like, this move. The Mets would have had to get a utility infielder anyway, so they might as well bring back somebody who has been productive for them. That’s the plus side.
On the down side, what really would have been the demand for Cora next winter? Had he not been given the option, I’m sure the Mets could have brought him back for 2011. It’s basically a two-year deal, something that didn’t work out with Moises Alou and Orlando Hernandez.
In a prepared statement, Cora said: “I am excited about coming back. We have a lot to prove as a team after what happened last year. As for me personally, there is unfinished business. I was hurt a great deal of the time and I really wasn’t able to perform like I know I can. I’m healthy now and I can’t wait to get to spring training. We all have something to prove.”
ON DECK: Mets offseason acquisitions.
DELGADO: Won't likely offer arbitration.
Today is the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their own free agents. Doing so enables them to receive draft pick compensation if the players signs with another team. OK, that’s the good news.
The bad news is the player might accept, and in the case of Carlos Delgado, he might accept and the Mets could be on the hook for up to $12 million, which is what he made last year. If I’m Delgado, I accept in a heartbeat because right now, with his injury history and age they won’t be lining up for him.
Another player is Fernando Tatis, who had some good moments with the Mets, but not enough to where he is a “must sign.”
If the Mets don’t offer arbitration and they become free agents, the team can try to re-sign them for a lower cost. Good luck in that. If Delgado proves he’s healthy playing in the Puerto Rican winter league, he’ll get a decent contract.
Should the Mets offer arbitration and risk taking back an aged player with an injury history or should they move on?
ON DECK: Mets bring back Alex Cora later this morning.
Looking Back ....
…. In 1998, the Mets dealt catcher Todd Hundley and minor league pitcher Arnold Gooch to the Dodgers for catcher Charles Johnson and Roger Cedeno. The Mets then swap Johnson to the Orioles for reliever Armando Benitez.
Benitez had a checkered career with the Mets, saving 158 games in parts of five seasons. Of course, what most remember about him was the games he didn’t save, particularly against the Braves. Benitez’s history was to unravel if something went wrong. A bloop or bad call could turn into a blown save, and it would start a string of three or four bad outings.
The Mets eventually traded him to the Yankees. Benitez would sign with the Giants and his last game was in 2008.
I covered Benitez with the Orioles and Yankees. I’ll always remember him spitting the bit in the 1997 ALCS, playing a significant part in at least three of the Orioles’ losses. The one moment that crystalizes in my memory is, when after giving up a homer, he plunked Tino Martinez in the back. Then he stood off the mound and gestured the Yankees to come get him.
ON DECK: What to do about Carlos Delgado later this morning.