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.

Nov 19

Should they say goodbye to Ollie?

PEREZ: Should the Mets let him walk away?

PEREZ: Should the Mets let him walk away?

There are some of you who think I don’t care for Oliver Perez. Not true. I like the guy. I just don’t like watching him pitch on the days when Coin Flip lands on tails.

That said, he’s 27, lefthanded, and can throw the hell out of the ball. He made some progress this year with a modified delivery. Those days when he’s on, well, he’s pretty special to watch and worth keeping.

On those other days, well ….

The Mets say they’d like him back, but with a commitment toward going after Lowe and possibly setting upĀ  Niese in the fifth spot, where does that leave Perez? Obviously, they aren’t optimistic.

I know he wants five years, and from $12 million to $15 million has been speculated. That’s a lot for somebody with great stuff but mediocre numbers.

So, should they cut their ties with OP or try to keep him.

Nov 07

On The Table: Ollie vs. Fuentes?

Let’s just say for the sake of the argument the Mets sign Derek Lowe. We know they aren’t going to break the bank in Yankee proportions, and it comes down to bringing back Oliver Perez at the reported number of $75 million or Brian Fuentes at $44 million and a handful of relievers.

What’s your choice?

I would take Fuentes and the relievers because it would solve the team’s greatest problem, and for the final starter I’d give Jon Niese a chance, or at worst, bring back Pedro Martinez as the fifth starter.

You know what you’re going to get from Perez, and the Mets could probably get the same from Niese and Martinez and whatever emergency starter they throw out there. That includes the angst of uncertainty.

Nov 05

Catching up ….

Sorry for the brief hiatus, but when Mother Migraine decides she wants to put you on your butt you have no choice but to go down. Slept most of yesterday and awoke to the news we have a new president and the Mets probably won’t make much of a splash in the FA market.

Been trying to catch up on the Hot Stove News and there’s really not much that’s surprising. We know the Yankees are offering money to just about everybody while the Mets figure not to stray far from their $143 million payroll from last year.

Most of the news seems to substantiate what we’ve been talking about here, that the Mets will go after pitching, pitching and somebody to throw the ball to the catcher. They’d like to keep Oliver Perez and sign Derek Lowe, and they’ve targeted Brian Fuentes as their closer.

Nothing shocking there.

The Mets don’t figure to go after a big bat because they don’t believe that’s why they lost. Their problems hitting with runners in scoring position were brought into greater focus because of the 29 blown saves. Cut that in half, they figure, and the NL East would have been theirs for the taking.

Actually, that was their same philosophy each of the last two winters. After 2006, there was the belief of entitlement, that after coming so close they would naturally take the next step. After 2007, there was a feeling the collapse was an aberration and they were still the team to beat.

Not so then, and maybe not so now.