Dec 14

More Bay watching ….

The Mets believe they’ll get a handle on the Jason Bay landscape toward the end of the week. One thing is clear, the Mets’ initial offer of $65 million over four years won’t be enough to get it done.

If their offer is the Mets “real” evaluation of Bay, then they’ll have to overpay to get the 31-year-old outfielder. A guaranteed fifth year could get it done, as Bay’s agent has said there’s a fifth year offer from an unnamed team on the table.

The Mets prefer Matt Holliday, but he’s a Scott Boras client and it will be closer to $100 million to get him. The Red Sox are also considering Holliday. Boston’s offer is a four-year, $60-million package. The Red Sox say they won’t go higher, but that seems like posturing to me.

The Mets haven’t heard from Bay on their offer. GM Omar Minaya said he’s also going to look at his non-tendered options, which include Cincinnati’s Jonny Gomes and Oakland’s Jack Cust, who hit 20 and 25 homers, respectively last year.

Another power option – and a cheaper alternative to bringing back Carlos Delgado at first – is San Francisco’s Ryan Garko.

Dec 08

Manuel touches all the bases ….

Jerry Manuel met with the New York and national media this afternoon and touched on the following issues, saying:

* The injury reports have been good and said Jose Reyes is expected to be ready for spring training.

* He anticipates David Wright having a more normal power season in 2010.

* The team can live with Daniel Murphy’s power production at first base if power comes from other sources, naming Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur and whomever plays left field. Even so, he said the team remains open to bringing back Carlos Delgado.

* Bobby Parnell will come to spring training as a reliever.

* He hasn’t given up on Oliver Perez. “We have to be optimistic at this time,” he said.

Dec 08

Minaya: Warns of trading depth ….

Omar Minaya insists the Mets have the chips to make a trade – but barely.

SANTANA: No blockbusters like him on the horizon.

SANTANA: No blockbusters like him on the horizon.


Citing the amount of players given up in the Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana deals, Minaya said: “You have to be careful that you don’t continue to go into the farm system … You don’t always want to trade your prospects to fill your major league needs.”

Minaya insists the Mets aren’t opposed to making a deal, but will be cautious. There probably won’t be deals like Santana where they deal four or five prospects for one major league commodity.

Translated, if the Mets are to make a splash, it would likely be in the FA market. But, considering their desire to keep their spending down, it would be a middle-tier splash as they will not spend to get John Lackey, Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.

Minaya said it isn’t just the Mets, but other teams, because of the need to build payroll flexibility by building from within, teams overall prefer to hold their cards.

“People value their prospects more,” Minaya said. “As time goes by in the game, I’ve noticed more value of a player that has zero to three that can perform than in past years. You value those guys that can perform.”

The key, remember, is guys who can perform.

Dec 01

Delgado decision today …. what should they do?

DELGADO: Won't likely offer arbitration.

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.

Dec 01

On this Date ….

Looking Back ....

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.

They did.

ON DECK: What to do about Carlos Delgado later this morning.