Mar 02

Mets Wrap: Hammered By Cardinals

The New York Mets dropped to 0-3 today in their exhibition schedule, losing 7-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.

The Mets, who have not played David Wright and Daniel Murphy so far, have been outscored 21-6 in the first three games.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who reportedly has the inside track for the fifth-starter role, gave up one run in two innings. Newly acquired reliever Jose Valverde also gave up a run. The bulk of the damage was in a four-run sixth against lefty reliever Jack Leathersich.

In addition:

* Curtis Granderson had one of the Mets’ four hits with a first-inning double.

* Wilmer Flores saw time at shortstop as Ruben Tejada was scratched because of a tight left hamstring.

* Here’s a shocker: ESPN reported the Yankees might have interest in former Met shortstop Jose Reyes to succeed Derek Jeter. Who didn’t see that one coming?

* St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta said the Mets offered him two years. The Cardinals gave him four.

 

Feb 07

Bronson Arroyo Still On The Market

We always knew the New York Mets would never be players for Jacoby Ellsbury or Robinson Cano, or Ervin Santana or Matt Garza, or any other marquee free agents for that matter. Bronson Arroyo drew their interest early in the free-agent process, but it didn’t happen. Now, eight days before pitchers and catchers report, Arroyo is still out there. So are Ubaldo Jimenez and A.J. Burnett.

ARROYO: There's still time,

ARROYO: There’s still time.

Slugger and PED user Nelson Cruz and shortstop Stephen Drew remain on the market. Although the Mets need power, I wouldn’t have wanted Cruz because of his connection with Biogenesis.

Bottom line: How to we know if his production was real or chemistry enhanced? When the Biogenesis case broke is irrelevant; he still was involved. With a reported asking price of $30 million over two years, let’s pass.

The Post’s Ken Davidoff wrote Cruz might be headed to the suddenly free-spending Seattle Mariners, which is a good call. The Mariners need to build around Cano because he can’t do it himself. If he doesn’t he’ll just mope and take even longer to run to first base. Given their need for power, Seattle might bring back first baseman Kendrys Morales, which would be a more expensive version of Ike Davis.

As for Drew, if the Mets had Harvey and were realistic contenders this season, they might have wanted to make a run at him. Both the Mets and Yankees could use Drew, especially the latter because nobody knows what to expect from Derek Jeter. Agent Scott Boras, who isn’t helping his client any, now wants an opt-out clause after one year. I’m betting a return to Boston.

As for Santana, one Santana should be enough for the Mets. Johan Santana is still out there, but even though the Mets carried him the past two years (as they were contractually bound) he has no intention of giving an employee discount. You would have thought $137 million would have bought that goodwill. Apparently not.

I don’t know what Jimenez is asking, but he has a $14.1 million qualifying offer from Cleveland that would cost the Mets a draft pick. Considering he also had back-to-back lousy seasons – 22-26 the past two years – he carries with him some baggage. However, he’s 30 years old, which work in the Mets’ favor. What about a one-year deal with an option loaded with incentives? Even a two-year deal wouldn’t choke the Mets. If offered, Jimenez should jump on it because time is running out, and after two years, he’d still be young enough for a payday.

But, let’s go back to Arroyo, who wouldn’t cost the Mets a compensatory draft pick.

Yes, he’ll be 37 this season, but he’s a proven innings eater, having worked at least 200 innings every year but one since 2004. He pitched 199 in 2011. Arroyo also has been a double-digit winner in all but two seasons since 2004 (he won nine games each in 2007 and 2011). Arroyo reportedly wanted three years, but couldn’t two plus an option work?

The Mets hope Daisuke Matsuzaka or John Lannan fill the fifth starter role at the start of the season. They are questions, while Arroyo is proven. Even when the young pitchers are ready, there are no guarantees.

Just as Seattle loaded up on defense to win the Super Bowl, loading up on pitching is always the right move because you’ll always need it. The Mets should’ve gone after Arroyo and/or Jimenez. There’s still time.

Dec 14

Cano: Good Player, But He Is Still What’s Wrong With Sports

Robinson Cano’s orchestrated dinner with the New York Mets was clearly transparent, made even more so after his introductory press conference in Seattle. It was only an indicator of things to come from this childish man.

Bottom line: Cano wanted to stay in New York, but at his price, and in the end his price is all that mattered to him. It is impossible to do business when you give nothing back in the negotiations. If you don’t give back they cease being negotiations.

CANO: Good riddance.

CANO: Good riddance.

Cano is a marvelously talented baseball player, but a flawed individual. He might be a five-tool player, but on the human level, none of his tools include discretion, loyalty, common sense or rational thinking. We do know Cano has streaks of arrogance, delusional thinking and greed in his persona. He also has an annoying sense of entitlement.

“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,’’ Cano said with a straight face when asked about the Yankees.

Being offered $175 million over seven years was plenty of respect countered Yankees president Randy Levine. Look, Levine and the Yankees don’t need anybody to fight their battles, but Cano was shown respect and his hissy fit needs to be addressed, because if nothing else it is a display of all that is wrong with today’s professional athlete.

From the outset, $300 million over ten years, was over the top, but it never hurts to ask because somebody might bite. However, when it became apparent Cano didn’t want to budge, you knew he wouldn’t stay in New York and the Yankees would be better off without him.

With Derek Jeter at the end of this career, and Alex Rodriguez in PED limbo, Jacoby Ellsbury will not be the difference. They need pitching and to shed some of its unproductive payroll – Mark Teixeira for one – and start rebuilding. The money earmarked Cano will be better invested elsewhere.

It was a business decision for Cano to state his negotiating objectives of money and years. It is also a business decision for the Yankees to say they no longer want to give ten-year contracts to players over 30 years old. Cano wants us to respect his business decision, yet he can’t respect the Yankees’ right to do the same. Just delusional and out of touch with reality is Cano.

I don’t begrudge Cano the right to have money as his motivation, but distasteful is his attitude. The only party showing a lack of respect in this issue is Cano, towards the Yankees, to the fans, and to his profession.

You made a choice, now live with it and don’t bash the Yankees on the way out. They didn’t criticize your choice; don’t criticize theirs.

Perhaps the greatest complaints people have about athletes is their disconnect from reality, their disregard about others, and when they don’t hustle. Cano violates our sensibilities by doing all three.

I believe a player is worth what his employer is willing to pay him. In that vein, Cano is worth $240 million to the Mariners. He’s just not worth $240 million to the Yankees, which is their right to determine.

Nobody has the right to say $240 million is too much, because who among you would turn it down?

But, we have the right to be irritated at Cano’s lack of touch with reality, which is insulting to those struggling to make ends meet or have been out of work.

“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day,’’ was what he tried to pass off as logic for his decision.

Seriously?

If at the end of the $175 million he would have gotten from the Yankees, if healthy and had he not worn out his welcome, he would have had another deal. Please don’t tell us after $175 million you’d be that insecure as to worry about your future. It is insulting to all those who buy tickets to watch you play or purchase your jersey.

Also insulting is your agent, Jay Z, who operating on your behalf, after accepting $240 million from Seattle went back to the Yankees with the request of $235 million over ten years.

It says you really don’t want to be in Seattle. How should they feel about that?

The Yankees are better off without him, which is something Seattle will find out eventually. At 3,000 miles away, it isn’t far away far enough.

In New York, there are too many apologists for your style and attitude. They say you’re entitled to take plays off, to jog down to first base because you’re usually in the line-up and you’re a good player. But, you don’t have that right. Cano has been given a gift of talent, but when you half-ass it to first base, you insult the fan and your profession. Not hustling is never justified.

They let you get away with it, and in the end it had to figure in the Yankees’ thinking. Deep down, they don’t want a dog to be the face of their franchise. You got a pass on that in New York, but they know how to boo in Seattle, and you’ll hear them soon enough.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Nov 11

Yankees’ Curtis Granderson Spurs Offer; Mets Could Have Interest

Not surprisingly, many of the significant players of interest to the New York Mets who declined the qualifying offers from their respective teams. With the starting point at $14.1 million, the Mets know their beginning parameters.

One player is Curtis Granderson, who, because of several hand injuries, was limited to seven homers, 15 RBI and a .229 average and a .317 on-base percentage. During his 10-year career, Granderson has averaged 30 homers, 83 RBI, a .340 on-base percentage and a .828 OPS, numbers that would fill the Mets’ need for a power-hitting corner outfielder.

GRANDERSON: Could the Mets snare him?

GRANDERSON: Could the Mets snare him?

That includes two 40-homer seasons over the past three years, but a qualifier must be the cozy dimensions of Yankee Stadium and hitting in a line-up with Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. He won’t have nearly that kind of protection in the line-up.

Another red flag must be his hand injuries and if they snapped his wrist strength needed to turn on a pitch.

Granderson said in a radio interview last week he could accept a one-year deal and try again next winter. However, that doesn’t mean it would be for $14.1 million.

The Mets could have serious competition for Granderson from the Yankees, who need to upgrade their offense in anticipation of not knowing if they’ll have Rodriguez, questions about Teixeira’s health and wondering what they’ll get from Derek Jeter.

The Mets are reluctant to offer more than three years, but should they go four years – which appers the magic number for many players – Granderson would be 36 at the end of the deal which might have him still in his prime. Plus, Granderson has a track record of greater production than Chin-Soo Choo.

The dollars might not be a detriment to signing Granderson, but the red flags are his health and the wonder of what he could produce in a new league and at Citi Field. Another is if Granderson is only a left-handed hitting Jason Bay.

All legitimate concerns.

Nov 09

Yankees’ Brendan Ryan Could Be Stop Gap Answer At Shortstop

The New York Mets are in the market for a shortstop, but there are red flags with the biggest names on the market.

Stephen Drew, 31, was given the $14.1-million qualifying offer by the Red Sox, which might be too pricey for the Mets’ blood. Reportedly, Drew wants a multi-year deal, but the Mets are reluctant to get bogged down on a long-term deal, considering what they’ve gone through over the past few years.

The Mets will also get competition from the Yankees, who like Drew’s left-handed bat in that bandbox of a stadium. The Yankees also need a shortstop because of the uncertainty surrounding Derek Jeter. There’s also the possibility of Jeter moving to third base if Alex Rodriguez is suspended.

Rafael Furcal, 36, is coming off an injury and a two-year, $14-million contract with the Cardinals.

There’s also 32-year-old Jhonny Peralta, who is coming off a three-year, $16.75 million contract with Detroit. Peralta has an offensive upside, but as with outfielder Nelson Cruz from Texas, there’s the specter of using performance-enhancing drugs. How much of their production is from them or the chemicals? It’s a legitimate concern.

Finally, there’s the Yankees’ Brendan Ryan, who made $3.25 million last year. Ryan would likely come at a reasonable salary and might not ask for the length of contract demanded by Drew or Peralta.

The Mets don’t know if they’ll have Ruben Tejada, who is recovering from a broken leg, and even when he was healthy last season he didn’t produce at the plate or in the field.