Jan 15

Santana endorses Perez return

Oliver Perez is 27, lefthanded and can throw the hell out of the ball. He is also inconsistent and for all his natural skills was 10-7 with a 4.22 ERA last season. This after a seemingly breakout year in 2007.

Mets ace Johan Santana endorsed his return to GM Omar Minaya in a conference call yesterday.

“I think has learned a lot from last year,” Santana said. “I had a great time with him and hopefully Omar will be able to keep him. He matured. He learned every game is important.

“I told him from the beginning, it doesn’t matter what you do tomorrow, you have to learn from today. Sometimes he lets his emotions take over, so he could be more mature this year. Hopefully, Omar and his agent will find a way to keep him in New York. He’s not just a great guy, but a good pitcher, too. He’s going to be a good one.”

The Mets’ current thinking is $30 million over three years, but Perez’s agent, Scott Boras, wants more in both money and years, with reports of $52 million over four years.

That’s more money than Perez is worth based on production, but the thing about these contracts is they are also based on potential.

Do you believe Santana? Do you believe Perez has learned enough to take the next step? Is he worth the fourth year?

Jan 14

Santana: WBC is Mets’ call.

SANTANA: WBC up in the air.

SANTANA: WBC up in the air.

Johan Santana plans to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but said that won’t be his call.

“It will be a medical decision,’’ Santana said this morning in a conference call. “The team will need to approve it. … There are a lot of things here that the Mets want to protect, and if they don’t want me to play I will not play.’’

Santana had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and has not begun his off-season throwing.

He will be examined next week in Port St. Lucie, and then could begin a long-toss throwing program.

“I want to play, but at this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ Santana said. “If everything is not right they will not let me go.’’

Jan 09

Putz to play for Team USA

Reliever J.J. Putz will join David Wright on Team USA during the World Baseball Classic this spring.

Also representing the Mets this spring will be: outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado and reliever Pedro Feliciano (Puerto Rico); closer Francisco Rodriguez and pitcher  Johan Santana (Venezuela) and shortstop Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).

Dec 24

It’s so, the Mets are after Lowe ….

I don’t believe the Mets would make a player decision simply in response to something the Yankees did. They know they need pitching, which, despite speculation he was headed to Boston, the Mets pressed hard for Derek Lowe.

Word is they are deep in negotiations, with the numbers three years for around $13 million a season. Could be a little steep, but considering his durability and reliability, it might not be such a bad deal afterall.

Definitely, less risky than say giving that money to Oliver Perez. A rotation of Johan Santana, Lowe, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine is solid to the point of being one of the best in the National League. And, if you match them up, it is as good as what the Yankees put together this winter.

Dec 23

Wright to play for Team USA ….

WRIGHT: To play for Team USA. PHOTO: Mets

WRIGHT: To play for Team USA. PHOTO: Mets

After Alex Rodriguez opted to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic this spring, and with Chipper Jones expected to be the DH, third base opened up for David Wright. Team USA will have an all-New York left side of the infield with the Yankees’ Derek Jeter at shortstop.

Wright will likely be the only Met playing for Team USA, but the Mets could also send Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez (Venezuela), and Jose Reyes (Dominican Republic).

I found it interesting that Phillies Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels said they preferred getting their work in during spring training and preparing for the season to play for the team that pays them. Yankees’ CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett said the same thing.

Yes, I am well aware a player can get hurt anywhere, but I’m especially wary about pitchers throwing in game conditions that early in the spring. But, that’s just me. Does anybody have a problem with players leaving teams during spring training to prepare for the WBC and exposing themselves to injury.