Nov 11

Boyhood Friends Wright And Cuddyer Now Teammates

As boyhood friends, it isn’t unusual for New York Mets third baseman David Wright to send a text or phone Michael Cuddyer this time of year.

“We’d mostly talk about our fantasy football teams,’’ Wright said by phone this afternoon.

CUDDYER: Fills outfield need.

CUDDYER: Fills outfield need.

However, one thing they’ve talked about since their teens growing up in Chesapeake, Virginia – playing together as major league teammates – is now no fantasy.

That became reality when the Mets signed the 35-year-old outfielder to a two-year, $21-million contract, thereby meeting their primary postseason objective to bring in a corner outfielder.

Also reality are the economics of the deal. The Colorado Rockies offered Cuddyer a $15.3 million qualifying offer, which he said he would have accepted had the Mets not agreed to give him two years by a 5 p.m., Monday deadline he gave them.

Cuddyer said this wasn’t about money, but it was about the years. The contract is backloaded with Cuddyer getting $8.5 million this season and $12.5 million for 2016. In signing Cuddyer, the Mets forfeit their first-round draft pick – the 15th overall selection – but that means they get to keep what they would have paid that pick, which is $2.5 million.

So, before we get all warm and fuzzy about the Wright-Cuddyer friendship, always remember this was a business deal. Their relationship was only part of the deal, not the entire driving force. Shortly after the season ended Wright reached out to Cuddyer and he kept phoning.

“I am pretty sure I annoyed him,’’ said Wright, an eighth grader when Cuddyer was a high school senior. “At first, it was a couple of times a week. Then, it was every day. Then, it was a couple of times a day.’’

His message was simple: The Mets are a team on the rise and New York was a great place to play.

Cuddyer, who played in the postseason seven times with Minnesota, said the Mets offered more than October potential.

“As hard as it is for some to believe, it’s not always about the money,’’ said Cuddyer. “And, this was one of those cases. I think just the excitement of being able to come to the East, come play for the Mets – that was the biggest attraction. You get to the point that I’m at in my career, that’s the thing that’s important: One, to win and wanting to be closer to home. Both of those issues were nailed in this signing, for me at least.’’

And, Cuddyer also nailed it for the Mets. He can play both corner outfield and infield positions. He’s more adept in right, but is willing to try left. Meanwhile, right fielder Curtis Granderson offered to move to left field.

Cuddyer hasn’t yet had that conversation with manager Terry Collins.

“I’ve played everywhere,” Cuddyer said. “The main goal for me is to win ballgames. So wherever Terry feels that I’ll be more beneficial to the club, whether it’s right field or left field, that’s fine with me.’’

A career .279 hitter who averages 21 homers a year, Cuddyer adds length to the Mets’ batting order. The 2013 NL batting leader figures to bat fifth, following Wright and Lucas Duda.

One word that describes Cuddyer is “solid.’’ He doesn’t give away many at-bats; he catches most balls he gets to; and knows what he’s doing on the bases.

Plus, said general manager Sandy Alderson, he’s a clubhouse presence, somebody who’ll make a positive impression with the younger players.

“He’s just an outstanding player, a terrific right-handed hitter,’’ Alderson said. “He’s going to give us a lot more balance in our lineup, a length in our lineup. He’s versatile defensively. He’s been in the postseason. He’s a former All-Star. There’s not a lot more I can say about Michael as a player.’’

 

Aug 17

Voiding K-Rod’s contract won’t be a slam dunk.

Let’s hope the Mets’ front office shows more fight, more spunk and aggressiveness in dealing with Francisco Rodriguez’s contract than it did in addressing their myriad of holes in the offseason.

RODRIGUEZ: Another Mets mess

Since this one is about saving money, bet on it.

In a punkish rage, Rodriguez hit the 53-year-old father of his girlfriend and tore a ligament in his throwing hand, and consequently will be lost for the season.

No matter the igniting words, Rodriguez was out of control did not act like a professional, but a thug. With a history of confrontations on the back of his personal baseball card, Rodriguez had know his behavior was under examination.

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Aug 14

Mets Chat Room; K-Rod back and Misch starts.

First things first, Francisco Rodriguez apologized to the Mets ownership, fans and teammates and acknowledged entering an anger management program.

Game #116 vs. Phillies.

This is his statement: “First of all, I’m extremely sorry. I want to apologize to [owners] Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Mr. [Saul] Katz for the incident that happened Wednesday night. I want to apologize also to the Mets fans, to my teammates. I want to apologize, of course, to the front office for the embarrassing moment that I caused. I’m looking forward to being a better person.

“Right now the plan is I’m going to be going to [an] anger management program. And I cannot speak no farther about the legal stuff that we’re going through right now. I want to apologize. Sorry.’’

It’s a start.

But before you start thinking all Rodriguez got was a two-game suspension and the loss of $120,000, think again. This is not the case of a rich player skating. Rodriguez is in the system now and could face jail time it convicted. If that happens, his career could be over.

Let’s see how this plays out before making any assumptions. And, until he goes to court he’s entitled to work like anybody else awaiting trial.

Rodriguez will be available for tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field, where the Mets will try to make it three straight behind Pat Misch.

Misch could’ve, and perhaps should’ve been brought up earlier, but was not because of the selfishness of Oliver Perez, who refused to accept a minor league assignment to work out his pitching problems.

It is Perez’s right to decline, but he’s ineffective and isn’t being used, effectively forcing the Mets to play with 24.

That Perez is still around symbolizes the Mets’ rudderless leadership. There’s no one willing cut the cord with Perez or seemingly explore any legal options against the left-hander.

Aug 02

Time to cut losses with Perez.

It is the deal that keeps on taking.

PEREZ: Cut him.

Keeps on taking money from the Mets’ coffers, keeps on taking life out of a team that is fading away, keeps on taking the enthusiasm we once had for this team.

Oliver Perez will be paid $13 million this year to languish in the depths of the bullpen, to see light only on the blackest of days like yesterday. He will be paid $13 million next year to do the same.

Because Perez will not accept a minor league assignment to work out his obvious problems, he has forced the Mets to play with 24, hamstringing them as they fight to stay above .500. It is his right through collective bargaining to do so, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

It is selfishness to the highest degree.

The Mets tried to get somebody to bite at the trade deadline on Perez’s ridiculous contract – ditto that of Luis Castillo, too – but came away with no takers. Undoubtedly, he’s already cleared waivers, but don’t expect a deal of that kind in August.

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Oct 16

Commentary: Get angry at Reyes, not Victorino.

Reyes: Less dancing and more playing is needed.

Reyes: Less dancing and more playing is needed.

Interesting report last night on Fox when after Shane Victorino’s slam against Milwaukee in which which he raised his finger in the air as he rounded the bases.

Prior to the next game, teammates taped to Victorino’s locker the photo of him running the bases and wrote ‘J. Reyes’ above it.

Victorino doing his best Reyes.

Victorino doing his best Reyes.

A slap at Reyes? Of course it was. But, if this irks you, blame Reyes, for it is stuff like this that upsets other teams enough to put the Mets in their sights. Reyes is a good player with the potential to be great, but he’s been given a free reign for the most part about his celebrations and behavior.

Reyes provided the motivation to the Florida Marlins for the season finale in 2007, and undoubtedly inspired teams against the Mets this year.