Dec 10

What’s next?

PEREZ: Next priority? (Photo: AP)

PEREZ: Next priority? (Photo: AP)

OK, the Mets have their closer. What’s next? Just adding Francisco Rodriguez won’t be enough. There’s still need of adding another reliever as well as a starter.

Whom do you choose?

My thinking is they’ll need to go after a starter first, which could translate into bringing back Oliver Perez. They have three starters as of now, with two questions in the back end of the rotation. Make it three questions if you’re concerned about John Maine coming back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Agree?

Dec 09

Mets to talk with Pedro ….

MARTINEZ: Wants another year with the Mets.

MARTINEZ: Wants another year with the Mets.

The Mets’ rotation could again include Pedro Martinez, who wants to return and GM Omar Minaya has a reciprocal interest in bringing him back.

Said Minaya to ESPN.deportes: “We have interest in him. We’re going to talk to his agent when we have the opportunity.”

The Mets have three starters – Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine – but with their odds long on getting Derek Lowe, they might have to settle for bringing back Oliver Perez, and that’s not a given.

Jon Niese would be expected to compete with Martinez for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Nov 28

Black Friday doesn’t apply to Mets

The Mets aren’t about to do any heavy lifting with their wallets today. Even if they wanted to, they wouldn’t be able to talk with the agent for closer Francisco Rodriguez. Paul Kinzer said he won’t start any heavy discussions until the winter meetings open in Las Vegas, Dec. 8.

“I’ll probably see the Mets at the winter meetings,” Kinzer said. “I don’t have anything else planned.”

The Mets have said they won’t overpay for a closer and the original speculated asking price for Rodriguez, $75-million over five years, is expected to drop. It will be interesting how high the Mets are willing to go.

There have been two significant FA signings, and both should be of interest to the Mets.

All-Star Ryan Dempster stayed with the Cubs for a $52 million, four-year contract, which could have a bearing on Oliver Perez’s deal. And lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt signed a an $8 million, two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants. For those thinking about the bullpen bridge to a closer, that should be an indicator.

Nov 23

Open those wallets.

Do you remember a few weeks ago Commissioner Bud Selig asked the sports’ owners and general managers to be fiscally responsible as to be sensitive to the public during these tough economic times?

As unemployment spirals and prices rise, will the public be receptive to the sport’s shopping season?

Selig wasn’t telling teams not to indulge in the free agent market, but be cognizant and feeling to a public struggling to survive. He couldn’t tell teams not to spend because, after all, that’s collusion and the Players Association already won that battle.

Then the Yankees offered $140 million to CC Sabathia and talk about signing anybody not nailed down. But, this isn’t a Yankees’ rant, as they are only the poster child for the economics of the sport.

Mediocre players – read Oliver Perez – are about to make untold millions, and over the next few weeks teams will announce ticket prices for the 2009 season. Care to guess how many of the 30 teams will lower prices?

It’s not hard.

It’s easy to be cynical of Selig’s plea because he’s always talking about keeping salaries down, but he’s not about to throw his “best interest in baseball weight” around, because baseball’s best interest, at least to the short term thinkers in the sport, is today’s bottom line.

How nice it would be for the sport to place a moratorium on ticket and concession prices for next season, perhaps cut them five percent. That would be a gift to the public who always gives to the game, in both heart and wallet.

That won’t happen, because he can’t order a team to set prices. It won’t happen because he knows the players won’t take less.

It doesn’t work that way. Players are under pressure from the Players Association to take the best deal because it helps other players.

Sabathia, for instance was offered $100 million to stay in Milwaukee, but even if he were giddy happy there, he won’t re-sign and leave $40 million on the table. It’s easy to say, “how much is enough?” But, you’re not the one leaving money on the table, and the truth is, if in the same position you’d do the same.

It’s never enough.

Baseball doesn’t know the meaning of enough as it expands overseas with the reach of a poker player leaning across the table to pull in his chips. The players will get their millions because teams can afford it, and they can afford it because you always foot the bill. Whether it be tickets, or T-shirts, or watching on TV, the public always pays.

And, does so willingly.

Nov 22

Loose Threads

A lot of things floating on in my mind these days.

-Congratulations to Mike Mussina for retiring on his terms. Part of me wishes he’d stay for 300 wins. But another part – a greater part – admires him for doing it his way. It doesn’t happen often. Will he get my Hall of Fame vote? Yes.

-I see where Hank Steinbrenner gave an ultimatum for the Yankees to sign CC Sabathia. I’d like to see Fred Wilpon do the same with a closer.

-The Mets seem torn between Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes. That should tell you of the concerns for K-Rod. And, concerns at this time are valid. I’d stay away, go with Fuentes and use the rest of the money that would have gone to K-Rod go for depth in the pen.

-Luis Castillo is staying to play second base. That seems apparent now. Their thinking is to hope for a comeback. It beats paying somebody to take him away.

-There doesn’t seem like a groundswell of support to keep either Oliver Perez or Pedro Martinez.