Nov 18

Men on Base …. Mets news and notes.

* 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.

Nov 09

Why not Ankiel?

I was scanning over the list of free-agent outfielders in trying to find alternatives to the pricey Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, left fielders I’m confident won’t see Citi Field this summer in the home whites. With so many other things on their list, I don’t see them paying in the estimated range of $70 million for Bay and $96 million for Holliday, numbers which have already been reported.

ANKIEL: Let's not forget about him.

ANKIEL: Let's not forget about him.


My eyes stopped at Rick Ankiel. This guy, although injured last season after slamming into a wall, can play. He can hit, hit for power and play defense. And, he might have the best outfield arm in the majors.

Best of all, he’s not going to break the bank.

A great center fielder, sure but what about Beltran? Perhaps, with Beltran’s aching knees, this might be the time to switch him to left. Or, Ankiel can play left until it is time. Or, maybe move him to right and Jeff Francoeur to left.

Ankiel represents a different alternative to the Mets. He’s productive, although not big ticket. He’s also not a broken down, expensive veteran hanging on like Gary Sheffield. The guy can play and the Mets have too few of those types of players.

Oct 31

Crawford could be available ….

In this lusting over Matt Holliday, who could still stay in St. Louis as Albert Pujols desires, let’s not forget Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, whose speed skills would come into play in every aspect of the game.

CRAWFORD: Good glove in left; solid bat.

CRAWFORD: Good glove in left; solid bat.


Crawford has a $10 million option for 2010 with a $1.25 million buyout. That’s reasonable, so the assumption must be made they way to get him would be in a trade. The Rays, like everybody else, want young talent. Would you be surprised to see them ask for Fernando Martinez? I wouldn’t, as everybody asks for him.

That’s a tough call, but Crawford’s production (four 50-steal seasons and six years with 180 hits) is what the Mets would hope for from Martinez.

I like Crawford for his speed, defense and ability to be a table setter on offense. There’s no question he plugs the left field hole, and he, Reyes, and Carlos Beltran bunched at the top of the order will create many RBI opportunities for Beltran, David Wright and Jeff Francoeur.

No, he doesn’t have the power potential of Holliday, but he helps the Mets in other areas. He’s not going to be a one-year pick-up, either. So, if the Mets could obtain Crawford without giving up Martinez, then having him would give the team the flexibility to deal him for pitching or power.

Sep 29

Would you extend Beltran’s contract now?

One of the core wants to stay. Carlos Beltran, 32, who returned from the disabled list earlier this month in an attempt to salvage part of his season, said he wants to finish his career with the Mets and told his agent to approach the team for an extension after the season.

That would be Scott Boras, who prefers to test the FA market.

Beltran, although not a great crowd favorite, has more than done his job with the Mets. He’s been productive and played hurt. He’s also performed in the clutch and has been an All-Star, Gold Glover and Silver Slugger winner.

BELTRAN: Plenty of expectations with his contract.

BELTRAN: Plenty of expectations with his contract.


His best season, by far, was 2006, when he finished fourth in the MVP voting. Beltran tied a club record with 41 homers, including walk-offs against the Phillies and Cardinals. Beltran also homered three times in the NLCS against the Cardinals, but will always be remembered for taking a third strike from Adam Wainwright to end the series.

That strikeout could be why he’s never been as appreciated as he should be.

What I like about Beltran, is with the season over from a competitive standpoint, he worked hard to come back from the DLwhen it would have been easy to shut down.

“Why not?’’ Beltran said. “I don’t feel obligated. This is my job.’’

Beltran is at an age where an extension wouldn’t be a terrible idea, because by the end of his current deal he’d be 34, and still a productive player.

BELTRAN: He's produced.

BELTRAN: He's produced.


However, if the Mets do this, I see it happening after next season and not this year.

My thinking is the Mets should be wary because of Beltran’s injury history the past two years. In addition, the Mets have so many holes to fill that their attention will be elsewhere.

However, there’s another reason why I see the Mets waiting, and that’s because they really don’t know what direction they are heading. Do they need a tweaking or an overhaul?

The story of this season has been the injuries, and if they return healthy and productive next year, then a case can be made that the Mets are not as bad as they appear. In that case, they’d be wise to bring back Beltran.

Of course, that includes Beltran having a good and healthy season.

However, if the Mets continue their downward spiral, and Beltran has another off-year, then it would be time to start over.

I like Beltran, but I’m not extending him this winter. There are too many variables.