Today is the first day teams are able to negotiate with free agents. I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely coincidental that Commissioner Bud Selig came out with the announcement several teams lost money.
The market is open.
I don’t believe it for a second. I don’t because the owners have always cried poverty yet continue to spend. The owners have also never been willing to let a neutral third party audit their books. Then again, you could cook the books any way you want.
The three top free agents are John Lackey, Matt Holiday and Jason Bay.
Bay has already turned down the Red Sox, but you knew that was just posturing for the market to open so there’s competition to drive up the price.
The Mets say they will spend and I believe them. I just don’t believe they’ll spend enough to land Holliday or Lackey. I would be stunned to see either as a Met. But, I also don’t believe they aren’t willing to make a splash.
Regardless of whether the market came back to them or not, the Mets did bring in Johan Santana and signed him to a $137.5 million extension two winters ago. Last year, they spent $36 million for Francisco Rodriguez.
In previous seasons, they spent for Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado. Remember, their payroll was on the MLB’s highest. The problem, is they haven’t gotten the return on their money.
Davey Johnson is back in the majors, hired as a front office adviser to GM Mike Rizzo. One of his specialties is recognizing and working with young talent. That would be minor league players. That would be a Mets’ weakness.
JOHNSON: Now with Nationals.
This would be about a lost opportunity. If the Mets are really serious about strengthening the ties with their past, Johnson would have been a good place to start. Johnson had previously worked with the Nationals before under Jim Bowden. You would think the Mets would have kept tabs on his baseball interests just in case.
All this talk about bringing Bobby Valentine back? How about a little love for Johnson, who managed the Mets’ last championship team? Valentine has a core group of media in his corner, but not Johnson.
* Reportedly, the Mets hired Dave Jauss as bench coach. Jauss has a history with Jerry Manuel, who as a field coordinator for Montreal in the late 1980s, hired him as a minor league manager. Jauss has also been a bench coach for Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
I got to know Jauss when I covered the Yankees. I’d pick his brain whenever I could when the Yankees played the Red Sox. He’s a very smart and personable guy, who I believe will someday get a chance to manager on the major league level.
* I liked the story in the Daily News about Carlos Beltran visiting a VA hospital in Manhattan. A lot of times we hear of the bad guys in sports, but there are far more good guys, and Beltran is one of them. I’ve found most players are willing to, and enjoy, making such appearances like Beltran.
* GM Omar Minaya is not giving up the ghost of Carlos Delgado. He’ll scout him in the Puerto Rican winter league to see how healthy he is and how his hip as recovered. I’m still of the belief not bringing back Delgado is the way to go if the team is in a rebuilding mode.
* Sandy Alomar Jr., left the organization to be bench coach at Cleveland. It is a step up, but it was also an obviously inevitable move. Once dad got the ax, the son was looking out the door.
* Tim Teufel was promoted to manage Double-A Binghamton.
I’ve got a new poll asking which direction the Mets should take to patch their rotation. Please vote and post your comments.
At 31, he has mileage left. He was an All-Star last season, so we know there is talent. He’s 94-83 during his ten-year career, which is the definition of a middle-tier pitcher the Mets reportedly will pursue this winter.
MARQUIS: Wants to be a Met.
And, Jason Marquis, who grew up in Staten Island, told Bart Hubbuch of the Post he wants to play with the Mets.
“There’s definitely interest there,’’ Marquis said. “We’ll see what direction they want to go. … It would always be nice to come back home and represent your hometown.’’
Marquis went as far as to call it an “honor’’ to pitch for the Mets.
But will he?