Nov 28

Reports Have Colon Returning To Oakland

Media reports out of the Bay Area have 42-year-old veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon returning to the Oakland Athletics.

After a successful two-year run with the Mets, which had him leading the team in innings pitched and 14 victories in 2015, but working out of the bullpen during the postseason, Colon is not ready to retire. The Mets expressed an interest in resigning him, but in a relief capacity.

With several big name pitchers on the market – Zack Greinke and David Price to name just two – Colon represents a bargain for a financially-conscious team seeking experience. Colon has averaged 16 wins over the past three years, so he has something left.

Another plus to a one-year deal is if Colon does produce and the A’s fall off early as they are expected, they can possibly trade him for a lower-tier prospect.


Nov 27

Can Mets Offer Free Agents More Than Yankees?

With Thanksgiving in our rearview mirror and the Winter Meetings in our faces, it’s time to pose a simple question, if you’re a free agent thinking about one of the New York teams, will it be the Mets or Yankees?

Both teams have a lot, and different things, to offer the prospective free agent.

If the priority is winning, both teams reached the playoffs in 2015, but the Mets made it to the World Series.

The foundation for the playoffs is always pitching, and in that regard the Mets have the edge over the Yankees. But, the Yankees have the bullpen edge. Both teams have positional needs, so it depends on the player in the market.

If you’re a hitter, especially with power, I think you’d favor the Yankees because of the stadium dimensions. While Citi Field has more reachable dimensions, Yankee Stadium remains a bandbox.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson expects to exceed last year’s $103 million payroll, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman won’t be talking about salary ceilings with agents at the Winter Meetings.

Therein lies the fundamental difference between the two teams. While the Mets deviated from what had been their recent personality this summer, I’m not ready to call them lavish spenders.

So, when it comes to attracting free agents this winter, both teams have a lot to offer, but as long has been the case, the Yankees have the ability to spend more.

And, in this age, that usually is the overriding factor.




Nov 24

Mets Should Consider Bringing Back Mejia

After testing positive twice for PEDs, conventional reaction was the Mets would cut ties with reliever Jenrry Mejia. I was in that camp at first, but admit to softening my position based on economics and positional need.

MEJIA: Why not? (AP)

MEJIA: Why not? (AP)

Mejia was to make $2.595 million last year before the suspension and will make a prorated portion of that when his suspension ends in late July. In the grand scheme of things that’s not considered a lot for a set-up reliever, which is what the Mets will need if they don’t keep Tyler Clippard.

Mejia was the Mets closer in 2014 and saved 28 games. He was to be a set-up man for Jeurys Familia before the second suspension came down. If the Mets keep him he’ll slot in behind Addison Reed.

The Mets also will have to make decisions on relievers Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin. I think they’ll keep Torres because of his versatility and Edgin because he’s left handed.

With the money not appearing to be a problem and there certainly is a need for bullpen help. It’s worth a gamble.




Nov 23

Not Buying Murphy Return

There were several articles last week claiming the Mets still would attempt to bring back Daniel Murphy, who rejected a $15.8-million qualifying offer. The reports said the Mets would make a sincere run at Murphy, who might bite on an offer that isn’t necessarily the highest.

Nearly everything I’ve read said the Mets might still make an offer because of Murphy’s affection for the team and New York. But, are those really good enough reasons? If that was the case, their decision would be based more on sentimentality than talent.

MURPHY: Still in play for Mets?  (Getty)

MURPHY: Still in play for Mets? (Getty)

The reported market for Murphy is $50 million over four years. The qualifying offer entitles the Mets to a compensatory draft pick plus the right to keep negotiating. It does not signal the Mets’ desire to keep him because they think he’s part of their future.

We don’t know what Murphy is seeking and what the Mets are willing to offer. The only numbers we know of are of the speculative nature.

We also know Murphy is 30 years old, so this will likely be his final shot at the brass ring. I can’t see him leaving money on the table to go back to a team that never had him on the top of their pecking order.

Murphy also hit 14 homers last season and went deep in six consecutive games in the playoffs. What we don’t know, and this includes the Mets, is whether that power surge was a fluke or a sign he’s added that element to his game.

The Mets are also reportedly interested in Kansas City free-agent Ben Zobrist, who is five years older than Murphy, and is a better player who is more versatile. However, the speculated numbers for Zobrist is $60 million over four years.

Zobrist brings more to the table than Murphy, and I think the Mets will shy away because of the price. This might make Murphy more palatable. But, I keep going back to well how Wilmer Flores adjusted to second base and potential of Dilson Herrera.

If those two can adequately fill the void left by Murphy, and I believe Flores can do so, then the Mets should be all right at second base. In that case, the money spent on Murphy or Zobrist, would be better spent adding a center fielder because I’m not sold on Juan Lagares and rebuilding the bullpen.

Nov 22

Mets Likely To Pass On Cespedes

There is no way of knowing for sure, but the Mets likely don’t get to the World Series without Yoenis Cespedes.

He definitely has a “Wow!’’ factor about him evidenced by his 17 homers and 44 RBI in his two months with the Mets. He also has a laser for an arm and an ability to track a ball in center.

CESPEDES:  Don't count on his return. (Getty)

CESPEDES: Don’t count on his return. (Getty)

His agencies – Creative Artists Associates and ROC Nation, run by rapper Jay-Z – put together a 100-page coffee table style book titled “52 Reviews’’ for his uniform number featuring his stats, testimonials and a built-in disc player to highlight his greatest plays.

“It’s not the only piece to the puzzle,’’ said Brodie Van Wagenen, the lead agent in Cespedes’ negotiations, told ESPN that packaging is part of the process. “Most everyone has access to the information, but the way in which you sort the information and tell the story and define the player is an art form that’s unique from agent to agent. It’s not just the packaging.

“I think this book highlights and reminds teams of what Yoenis Cespedes’ rare skill set is. Instead of his agents telling people how good he is, teams can see it for themselves and hear it from unbiased, third-party insiders.’’

Potential suitors won’t see Cespedes’ “Oh No,” moments, such as his botched play in the outfield that lead to an inside-the-park homer, or those teams when he wasn’t always compelled to run out ground balls, or all those swings-and-misses (39 percent of the time) and .319 on-base percentage.

The Mets will make an offer – believed to be of a public relations variety – and there are a handful of other teams needing an outfielder. But, how many of them are willing to offer the six years and $150 million Cespedes’ camp is reportedly seeking?

San Francisco is intriguing, while the Angels, Cardinals, Cubs and Rangers have shown a willingness to spend. The Tigers need an outfielder, but will they go that way again?

Baltimore, Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Diego, Cincinnati and Seattle need outfield help, but don’t have a reputation to write checks.

In the case of the Mariners, they won’t do anything unless they can get rid of Robinson Cano’s huge mistake of a contract.

None of these teams are likely to be seduced by the glitter of “52 Reviews.’’ They know all of Cespedes’ pertinent numbers, including his .150 batting average in the World Series and playing with four different teams in his four-year career.

Oh yes, $150 million will also be a telling number.