Jan 26

Jan. 26.10: Sheets off the board; Smoltz still available.

Ben Sheets apparently wasn’t worth the gamble, so he signed with Oakland for $10 million. I’m not even sure the Mets made an offer.

I understand the Mets’ reasoning and can’t fault them here. Sheets was a DL trip waiting to happen, and the Mets have too many of those already.

On Jan. 23, I wrote, “But, it’s better than remaining stagnant,’’ regarding Sheets which was a lukewarm endorsement.

Elsewhere:

• Johan Santana and Oliver Perez threw in Port St. Lucie without pain.
• The Mets are still contemplating signing John Smoltz.
• The Cubs signed former Mets outfielder Xavier Nady.

Check out the new poll.

Jan 20

Jan. 20.10: Should Mets pursue Sheets?

SHEETS: Worth the risk?

SHEETS: Worth the risk?

Ben Sheets might be the best pitcher out there, but he’s damaged goods. Sheets, who missed all of last season following elbow surgery, worked out before league scouts and was given a hearty “thumbs up.”

One scout told the MLB Network: “Good mechanics. Great shape. Is way ahead of where he’d be velocity wise at [the beginning of a] normal spring.”

The Mets, in need of rotation help, will compete with the Cubs, Rangers, Seattle and St. Louis, who are also said to be interested.

Initially, Sheets was after a one-year deal worth $12 million, but reportedly the market is at one year for $8 million and loaded with incentives.
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Jan 13

Jan. 13.10: What’s left isn’t good, but ….

Who’s remaining in the free-agent pitching market isn’t good, and it seems as if the Mets are thinking who they currently have is better.

The Cubs want Ben Sheets and appear willing to spend the $12 million or so it would take to get him. He’s good when he’s healthy, worth the coin, but there’s no guarantees he’ll hold up. Ditto with Mark Mulder, who’s talking with Milwaukee.

The Mets waited for the market to come back to them on Joel Pineiro and the pricing might well have. So has the competition to get him: Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington are linked to him as well as the Mets. Washington also has interest in Doug Davis. Can’t imagine the Nationals getting both, but what if?

That leaves us Jon Garland, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, John Smoltz, Mike Hampton (been there done that), and Chien-Ming Wang.

There are flaws with all of them, just there are flaws with the Mets rotation, which now has four arms, three of them coming off surgery (Santana, Perez, Maine). They’ll liable to get Garland as their No. 5 and call it an offseason.

Jan 12

Jan. 12.10: Pineiro market falling.

At one time, Joel Pineiro was seeking three years at $10 million a season. One published report had the Mets in it for $15 million over two years – with an inevitable option – which is far more palatable. Considering Pineiro’s history – don’t forget, he’s only a handful of games over .500 for his career – this is a more realistic starting point.

Meanwhile, Ben Sheets, a reclamation project, is thinking about a one year deal for $12 million, with the Cubs interested. Sheets might turn out all right, but he might not, also, and he’s too big a risk for the Mets.

Sep 21

Run away from this guy ….

BRADLEY: First class jerk.

BRADLEY: Defines being a jerk.

There are jerks, first-class jerks and Milton Bradley. One of the all-time bad guys in sport, Bradley has been suspended for the remainder of the season by the Chicago Cubs for his conduct.

He has two more years left on his contract – that the Cubs would give him three seasons just goes to show how clueless that organization is – but has already worn out his welcome. So, with not much in the way of pennant races to write about, the Hot Stove season has already started for some writers, Jon Heyman for example, who wonders it the Mets and Cubs will discuss an exchange at two seemingly worthless properties: Bradley for Oliver Perez.

I couldn’t believe it when I first read it, and still think there’s no merit to the concept. For one thing, Perez is a young, left-handed pitcher with potential, but has remained an uncashed check. While it seems hopeless at times, there is a chance he could be turned around with the right pitching coach. Perhaps a change of scenery would do it, but not if it meant getting Bradley in return.

Bradley, and I don’t really like saying this, is simply a bad guy. He’s a psychopath. He’s like Barry Bonds, Albert Belle and Carl Everett. He’s simply a powder keg in search of a spark. He’s ready to go off at any time.

Here’s how bad he is: He hit .321 last year for Texas and the Rangers couldn’t wait to see him go.

Here’s the most important stat you need to know about Bradley: This is his ninth major league season and he’s been with six teams already. Undoubtedly, there will be a team stupid enough to become the seventh.

Let’s hope it isn’t the Mets.

Say what you will about Perez, who might not ever make it in New York. But, he’s not a bad guy. Bradley has $20 million left over the next two years which is a lot of money to shell out for bad will.