Nov 16

So grateful ….

I logged on this morning with my fingers crossed … hoping for a comment because I didn’t like how things unraveled and wasn’t sure if you’d get the message.

Thanks guys.

The free-agent market is underway, and we know the Yankees are being piggy again. Or are they? They want to win and they are going for it. That’s something you have to admire. But, in looking at the Yankees’ riches, what truly separates them from the pack is not only the ability to throw out a figure like $140 million to CC Sabathia as a starting spot, but to take a hit.

They can overcome a bad move by throwing more money at the situation, something other teams – including your Mets – can’t do, or aren’t willing to take the risk.

That’s why I don’t see them making the big K-Rod splash, which, to listen to his agent, begins at $75 million over five years. The Mets are thinking three, which would be more acceptable to their thinking.

Here’s what’s going through Omar Minaya’s mind right now:

1. With $11 million tied up in Billy Wagner, who won’t throw a pitch for them this year, the Mets can’t see investing $26 million for the closer role.

2. Rodriguez has already lost three mph. off his fastball and has become reliant on his change. On the surface that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but if he loses anymore it closes the gap on his change and makes it less effective.

3. His delivery is violent with a lot of torque. Scouts fear an injury. It’s bound to happen within the life of the contract. However, three years might be a different story.

4. In examining the 29 blown saves, seven came in the ninth inning, which averages out to a reasonable one a month. Brian Fuentes would come cheaper and would likely come close to that conversion rate. The bullpen’s collapse primarily came in the seventh and eighth innings. For the price of K-Rod, the Mets could get a closer and another reliever.

Nov 15

My new home ….

First things first, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Joe McDonald setting me up in the first place, which led me to Gotham Baseball.

I didn’t like leaving suddenly, but it was a circumstance beyond my control and I got blocked out before I was able to post a forwarding address. I learned from Gannett and have been collecting email addresses and many of you received a note telling you of this site. The site is still under construction, but we’ll make do for now.

That I would continue this blog, I hope, tells you of my commitment for covering the Mets for you. Please accept my apologies for the awkward departure, and my gratitude for your interest. I do the blog because you folks have been loyal to me.

Thank you, and let’s talk Mets.

Nov 13

Wright wins Silver Slugger ….

WRIGHT: Silver Slugger winner (Photo: Mets).

WRIGHT: Silver Slugger winner (Photo: Mets).

David Wright, one of the “core,” if you will, won his second straight Silver Slugger Award today. Despite setting career highs in homers (33), RBI (124) and runs scored (115), there are some who say the Mets should break up their core of Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Said Wright, a three-time All-Star: “It’s a very prestigious award and I am proud to win it. This honor will help motivate me to even an even better season in 2009.”

Wright is the first Met with four 100-RBI seasons. He is also the third third baseman in history (Eddie Mathews and Eric Chavez are the others) with four straight seasons of at least 25 homers prior to his 26th birthday.

Nov 13

Free-agent All-Star Team

If I didn’t do it, you knew somebody would. I’m sure many of you were doing the exercise in your mind. Of the available free-agents, this would make a pretty good team.

1B: Mark Teixeira LAA
2B: Orlando Hudson ARZ
SS: Rafael Furcal LAD
3B: Casey Blake LAD
C: Ivan Rodriguez NYY
OF: Manny Ramirez LAD
OF: Adam Dunn ARZ
OF: Jim Edmonds CHC
OF: Pat Burrell PHI

Starters/
A.J. Burnett TOR
C.C. Sabathia MIL
Derek Lowe LAD
Ryan Dempster CHC
Oliver Perez NYM

Bullpen/
Joe Beimel LAD
Brian Fuentes COL (set-up)
Juan Cruz ARZ
Francisco Rodriguez LAA (closer)

Nov 12

Available free agent relievers ….

The following relievers will be available this winter in the free-agent market. Joe Beimel and Juan Cruz are intriguing, but are they worth throwing piles of money at? I’m not so sure.

Unquestionably, the Mets’ bullpen was horrible last season, but GM Omar Minaya’s analysis is wide ranging. Were the individuals simply bad and past their prime, or just had a bad season? To what degree were injuries a factor (Aaron Heilman)? How much did throwing out of their roles determine the results?

The Mets will add a body or two from this list, but I don’t see a major overhaul. If they don’t deal Heilman, and I’m starting to lean in the direction of them keeping him, the set-up relievers might not change that much.

I can see Heilman, Schoeneweis, Ayala, Feliciano and Smith coming back. I can also see Parnell or Kunz getting a shot. Then there’s the closer they’ll add, and the more I think of it, the more I can visualize it being Trevor Hoffman.

Here’s the list of available free-agent relievers:

Jeremy Affeldt CIN
Luis Ayala NYM
Joe Beimel LAD
Joe Borowski CLE
Juan Cruz ARZ

Brendan Donnelly BOS
Alan Embree * OAK
Scott Eyre CHC
Kyle Farnsworth DET
Casey Fossum DET

Brian Fuentes COL
Aaron Fultz CLE
Tom Gordon * PHI
LaTroy Hawkins HOU
Mark Hendrickson LAD

Trevor Hoffman SD
Bobby Howry CHC
Jason Isringhausen STL
Steve Kline SF
Brandon Lyon ARZ

Damaso Marte * NYY
Tom Martin COL
Julio Mateo PHI
Guillermo Mota MIL
Will Ohman CHC

Darren Oliver LAA
John Parrish SEA
Chris Reitsma SEA
Dennys Reyes MIN
Juan Rincon CLE

Francisco Rodriguez LAA
Brian Shouse MIL
Rafael Soriano ATL
Jorge Sosa NYM
Mike Stanton * CIN

Salomon Torres * MIL
Derrick Turnbow MIL
Oscar Villarreal ATL
David Weathers CIN
Dave Williams NYM

Matt Wise NYM
Kerry Wood CHC