Mar 07

Boras backtracks on Mets

On second thought, Scott Boras decided there’s no sense in biting the hand that feeds you. That’s why Boras texted Jeff Wilpon – what’s wrong with a phone call? – to say he wasn’t specifically talking about the Mets when he was quoted in The New York Times the other day.

BORAS: Damage control.

I didn’t say it was an apology.

Boras said: “When you’re seeing franchises in major markets not pursuing to the levels that the revenues and the fan base and the market provide, then I think you have an ethical violation of the game.”

Boras said he wasn’t directly talking about the Mets, but might as well have been.

The bottom line is Boras makes his money dealing with teams and is constantly searching for a market for his players. There have been times, and undoubtedly will again, where the Mets are that market.

Boras plays hardball at the negotiating table, and he’s been very successful. It made no sense for him to take a shot at the Mets. If anything, Boras should take aim at the new collective bargaining agreement, which will really sock it to the richer teams in the form of a harsher luxury tax in a few seasons. That’s why the Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner was talking the other day about cutting salary.

It won’t technically be a salary cap, but that’s really semantics and eventually baseball will get what it has always wanted.

ON DECK: Today’s lineup and notes.



Jan 26

Tigers will regret Fielder signing ….

Not surprised at the reaction to Detroit signing Prince Fielder, giving them a formidable pair of sluggers when teamed with Miguel Cabrera. All that power; all those home runs will make the Tigers the team to beat.

Yeah, and I remember all those World Series the Yankees would win after signing Randy Johnson, Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez. At last count, the Yankees won only one Series with Rodriguez and none with the other two.

The Tigers are the latest team to be seduced by agent Scott Boras.

Detroit said it would move Cabrera to third base, which he prefers, but in truth he’s a defensive liability at third and if his mind were clear about it, he’s best suited to be a designated hitter. Fact is, so is Fielder.

All this makes me wonder what the over/under is on the number of years it will be before the Tigers regret signing Fielder for the princely sum of $214 million over the next nine years. I’m guessing four years.

His body type suggests he’s susceptible to getting out of shape or breaking down physically. I don’t know enough about Fielder’s emotional make-up to say he won’t work hard to stay in shape, but history dictates he could get complacent and possibly break down. It also dictates, and strongly, that the deeper the Tigers get into this contract the more the money will become a burden.

Look at the scorecard: Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers and Yankees; Manny Ramirez with Boston; Ryan Howard with the Phillies; Jayson Werth with Washington; Carlos Beltran with the Mets; Barry Zito with San Francisco; and Giambi with the Yankees.

There are dozens more.

Whether it be the money, lack of production, injuries, testing positive for steroids, or in Ramirez’s case, being a boor and quitting on his team, every one of those teams wished they could dump the contract.

The Tigers are going for it this year. They’d better make it because this won’t be a happy marriage.

Jul 28

An appreciation of Carlos Beltran

The inevitable happened and Carlos Beltran is now a member of the San Francisco Giants, where he has an opportunity to atone for taking strike three against Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.

One thing for certain is he wasn’t going to get it from the Mets, even had he stayed.

BELTRAN: Should be remembered positively.

After two injury riddled seasons and the Mets’ financial empire crumbling, we knew Beltran wouldn’t finish out the year. Saddled with a contract that didn’t allow compensatory draft picks, the Mets had to get something before he walked this winter.

General manager Sandy Alderson did as well as could be expected in getting one of the Giants’ top pitching prospects in Zachary Wheeler. He did so because San Francisco has a young and loaded rotation. F0r the Giants to repeat, they need a bat and Beltran was the best on the market.

In theory, the trade could help the Giants win this year and the rebuilding Mets in the future.

Unquestionably, Beltran’s agent, Scott Boras, played a persuasive role, as he made the impression to his client that with several salaries coming off the books next year, the Giants could have the resources to make an extension.

In dealing Beltran, the Mets gave up arguably the franchise’s most complete position player, even over Darryl Strawberry, David Wright and Jose Reyes. Beltran has all the tools and the Mets were lucky to have him. Unfortunately, too many Mets’ fans have a block on Beltran, and he hasn’t received the appreciation warranted a multiple All-Star.

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Jul 27

McCann injury could open way to Beltran deal to Braves.

The latest has the Mets closest to working out a deal involving Carlos Beltran to San Francisco or Texas, with Philadelphia and Boston lagging behind. But, that’s now and four days remain.

McCANN: Injury could shift Braves' priorities.

The Braves have been adamant about not giving up their prime pitching prospects, notably Mike Minor or Julio Teheran.

However, out of necessity, their thinking might have changed with last night’s 19-inning victory over Pittsburgh when they lost catcher Brian McCann indefinitely with an oblique strain. These are tricky injuries, as Mets’ fans are aware of with Jose Reyes. Two weeks on the DL could easily become three or four.

With Chipper Jones’ knee ailing, and Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth not hitting, the Braves are in desperate need of a power bat, which might cause them to reconsider at least Minor.

The Braves sought offense even before McCann’s injury, and now their needs are more pressing. They are the frontrunners for the wild-card and have enough pitching to win in the playoffs. But, they need to get there first, and that will take some runs.

Publicly, the Braves are saying they aren’t close with the Mets on Beltran, but privately it is another matter.

Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras and so far he has not made any indication of wanting to make a deal contingent on a contract extension, so this will mean nothing more than a rental.


Jul 12

Beltran showcased tonight at All-Star Game.

Carlos Beltran, potentially a future former Met, has the national stage in tonight’s All-Star Game to showcase his talents for a potential trade.

Of course, if teams have been paying attention during the first half they will know he’s physically holding up, that he’s adjusted to right field without a problem, and is playing well.

BELTRAN: Who is watching?

Beltran will start tonight as the designated hitter and bat second.

The Mets have exceeded expectations at 46-45, but are 11 games behind the Phillies and 7.5 behind Atlanta for the wild card. The only concession the Mets are making toward investing for the future is saying it is unlikely Jose Reyes will be traded.

Not so with Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Beltran knows the Mets are trying to move him, and jerked around by the organization over his knee surgery, his relationship with the team isn’t warm and cozy despite his guarded comments yesterday at the All-Star media sessions.

“A lot of teams this time, they’re looking to improve, some others are looking to rebuild,’’ Beltran said. “Right now, the Mets are playing good baseball.  I like where I am. We’re having fun and we just hope to continue to improve.’’

Beltran is in the last year of a seven-year, $119 million deal. Roughly $9 million will be paid Beltran in the second half, but if the Mets aren’t a contender, and they know they won’t bring him back, their best option would be making a trade.

San Francisco and Boston are two of the teams with a reported interest in Beltran.

Beltran went through this in 2004 when he was with Kansas City, so he’s treading familiar waters.

“I guess that experience makes you understand the business side of baseball a little better. You can’t take it personally,’’ Beltran said. “Having the no-trade clause gives me a little bit of control. I will choose if I like the trade. This is my 12th year in the big leagues, so at this point, all I want is to win and to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs.’’

Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras, who recently convinced Francisco Rodriguez to abandon his agent. Paul Kinzer to sign with him. On the surface, dumping Boras shows loyalty isn’t one of Rodriguez’s strong suits, so the Mets shouldn’t expect anything from him.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he doesn’t know how signing with Boras will impact Rodriguez’s future with the team. Rodriguez said he would accept a deal to a contender and work as a set-up reliever if there’s a contract extension in the picture.  If Rodriguez completes 55 games this season, a $17.5 million option will kick in, and that’s something the cost conscious Mets can’t afford.

Boras will not make things easy for the Mets regarding Rodriguez.

“Francisco Rodriguez is a historic closer,’’ Boras told reporters yesterday in Arizona. “He’s not going anywhere to be a setup man. … Closers don’t make good setup men. Does anybody want an unhappy setup man in their clubhouse?’’