Dec 14

Cano: Good Player, But He Is Still What’s Wrong With Sports

Robinson Cano’s orchestrated dinner with the New York Mets was clearly transparent, made even more so after his introductory press conference in Seattle. It was only an indicator of things to come from this childish man.

Bottom line: Cano wanted to stay in New York, but at his price, and in the end his price is all that mattered to him. It is impossible to do business when you give nothing back in the negotiations. If you don’t give back they cease being negotiations.

CANO: Good riddance.

CANO: Good riddance.

Cano is a marvelously talented baseball player, but a flawed individual. He might be a five-tool player, but on the human level, none of his tools include discretion, loyalty, common sense or rational thinking. We do know Cano has streaks of arrogance, delusional thinking and greed in his persona. He also has an annoying sense of entitlement.

“I didn’t feel respect. I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort,’’ Cano said with a straight face when asked about the Yankees.

Being offered $175 million over seven years was plenty of respect countered Yankees president Randy Levine. Look, Levine and the Yankees don’t need anybody to fight their battles, but Cano was shown respect and his hissy fit needs to be addressed, because if nothing else it is a display of all that is wrong with today’s professional athlete.

From the outset, $300 million over ten years, was over the top, but it never hurts to ask because somebody might bite. However, when it became apparent Cano didn’t want to budge, you knew he wouldn’t stay in New York and the Yankees would be better off without him.

With Derek Jeter at the end of this career, and Alex Rodriguez in PED limbo, Jacoby Ellsbury will not be the difference. They need pitching and to shed some of its unproductive payroll – Mark Teixeira for one – and start rebuilding. The money earmarked Cano will be better invested elsewhere.

It was a business decision for Cano to state his negotiating objectives of money and years. It is also a business decision for the Yankees to say they no longer want to give ten-year contracts to players over 30 years old. Cano wants us to respect his business decision, yet he can’t respect the Yankees’ right to do the same. Just delusional and out of touch with reality is Cano.

I don’t begrudge Cano the right to have money as his motivation, but distasteful is his attitude. The only party showing a lack of respect in this issue is Cano, towards the Yankees, to the fans, and to his profession.

You made a choice, now live with it and don’t bash the Yankees on the way out. They didn’t criticize your choice; don’t criticize theirs.

Perhaps the greatest complaints people have about athletes is their disconnect from reality, their disregard about others, and when they don’t hustle. Cano violates our sensibilities by doing all three.

I believe a player is worth what his employer is willing to pay him. In that vein, Cano is worth $240 million to the Mariners. He’s just not worth $240 million to the Yankees, which is their right to determine.

Nobody has the right to say $240 million is too much, because who among you would turn it down?

But, we have the right to be irritated at Cano’s lack of touch with reality, which is insulting to those struggling to make ends meet or have been out of work.

“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day,’’ was what he tried to pass off as logic for his decision.


If at the end of the $175 million he would have gotten from the Yankees, if healthy and had he not worn out his welcome, he would have had another deal. Please don’t tell us after $175 million you’d be that insecure as to worry about your future. It is insulting to all those who buy tickets to watch you play or purchase your jersey.

Also insulting is your agent, Jay Z, who operating on your behalf, after accepting $240 million from Seattle went back to the Yankees with the request of $235 million over ten years.

It says you really don’t want to be in Seattle. How should they feel about that?

The Yankees are better off without him, which is something Seattle will find out eventually. At 3,000 miles away, it isn’t far away far enough.

In New York, there are too many apologists for your style and attitude. They say you’re entitled to take plays off, to jog down to first base because you’re usually in the line-up and you’re a good player. But, you don’t have that right. Cano has been given a gift of talent, but when you half-ass it to first base, you insult the fan and your profession. Not hustling is never justified.

They let you get away with it, and in the end it had to figure in the Yankees’ thinking. Deep down, they don’t want a dog to be the face of their franchise. You got a pass on that in New York, but they know how to boo in Seattle, and you’ll hear them soon enough.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 13

Mets Have Hole At Top Of Order; Juan Lagares No Sure Thing To Stick

The way things currently stand, the New York Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter. The tried nine last season before settling on Eric Young.

The signing of Curtis Granderson sends Young to the bench, that is, unless the Mets trade Daniel Murphy and move Young to second base. However, the Mets are asking a lot for Murphy, so there’s nothing imminent there.


LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

LAGARES: Needs to hit to stay.

Chris Young has the speed, but strikes out too much to be a consistent leadoff hitter. Juan Lagares also has speed, but also strikes out too much with a 96-20 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 392 plate appearances. The Mets would want somebody with better than a .281 on-base percentage at the top of the order.

We talked last year about Murph maybe leading off, but I haven’t gone there,’’ manager Terry Collins said.  “I know Chris Young led off some in Arizona.  But until, again, I see what the pieces are in the clubhouse, I don’t have to write a lineup until the end of February.’’

An intriguing possibility is Ruben Tejada, that is, if he plays the way he did two seasons ago.

“If Rueben Tejada does what we know he can do, he could be that guy because he gets on base,’’ Collins said.  “He gives you great at?bats and gets on base.’’

If not Tejada, Eric Young could resurface if Lagares doesn’t pan out, which is a distinct possibility. Lagares was impressive in center field, but his offense is lacking. There has been some thought of him in a platoon role, which would be a mistake.

If Lagares is on the 25-man roster leaving spring training, he needs to play. Playing off the bench is counterproductive to his development. But, if he plays, he needs to hit. What he gave the Mets last season at the plate won’t cut it.

“I don’t know what it will be.  I don’t know that you can put a number to it,’’ Collins said of Lagares’ offensive potential.  “He’s a guy defensively.  But in order for us to have the success we want, everybody’s got to hit.’’

Quite simply, the Mets aren’t good enough offensively to carry Lagares. He hits, he plays. If not, he should open the season in the minor leagues.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 12

Wrapping Up Mets At Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The New York Mets left the Winter Meetings a better team than when they arrived. They haven’t been the busiest team this offseason, and didn’t make the biggest splash, but they have been far from dormant and above all, kept their word on being proactive.

COLON: Surprise addition.

COLON: Surprise addition.

Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson took considerable heat for being dormant and talking a good game, but the additions of Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon were not talk. They aren’t the highest profile free agents, but will make an impact on the 2014 Mets assuming their health.


* Fills outfield spot they’ve had open since the beginning of last season.

* Adds left-handed power bat to give protection to David Wright.

* Provides veteran presence in the clubhouse along with a player who understands what it takes to play in New York.


* Fills one of the two slots for a starting pitcher for 2014, and assuming Matt Harvey’s return the following season, completes the 2015 rotation.

* Adds a pitcher who threw 190 innings in 2013 for Oakland, so we’re talking about durability.

* Adds mound presence young arms can learn from.

In addition to Granderson and Colon, this also came from Mets’ manager Terry Collins:

* Bobby Parnell might not be ready for spring training.

* As of now, Ruben Tejada is their shortstop.

* He’s prepared to go into spring training with both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on the roster.

* He’s prepared to have Anthony Recker as the back-up catcher to Travis d’Arnaud.

* Wilmer Flores is in better shape, which could enable him to play the middle infield.

* The Mets don’t have a leadoff hitter if Eric Young doesn’t play.

* Said Chris Young is poised for a surprise season.

The Mets still have a way to go and must address the following:

* Find a resolution to the Davis situation. Sandy Alderson spoke with the Brewers on his way out of town, but Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said nothing is happening there.

* They need another starter, at least for the first two months of the season until they are ready to bring up Rafael Montero.

* The acquisition of a veteran back-up shortstop behind Tejada.

* Bullpen depth in anticipation of Parnell not being ready.

* Determine who will be their leadoff hitter when Eric Young doesn’t play.

Although the Mets were more active than many anticipated, I felt they let several opportunities slip through their grasp, among them:

* Did not pursue Phil Hughes. Who would you rather have, a 27-year-old Hughes for $24 million over three years or a 40-year-old Colon for $20 million over two years?

* Despite needing bullpen help, didn’t make a run at Joba Chamberlain, who signed with Tigers.

* Could have had Nate McLouth over Chris Young. McLouth signed today with Washington.

There’s still a lot of time and a lot of work to do before spring training.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 11

Mets Add Bartolo Colon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Who knew? The New York Mets were straight with us when they said they weren’t finished as they announced the signing of Bartolo Colon today to a two-year, $20-million contract.

Just like that, the Mets addressed a massive hole in their rotation. Should the 40-year-old Colon pitch anything like he did last year with Oakland, the Mets all of a sudden must be elevated to at least wild-card contender status.

COLON: Important signing.

COLON: Important signing.

Seriously, they’ve added enough, and if their existing talent improves, the Mets can realistically be expected to be better. They didn’t add young, vibrant expensive names, but added enough talent to where they should be taken seriously.

They aren’t on a par with Washington and Atlanta for the NL East Division lead, but the additions of Curtis Granderson and Colon should be worth at least seven more victories this season, and perhaps more when Matt Harvey returns in 2015.

The Mets won 74 games last year, and reaching .500 would take at least one more victory a month, which is entirely doable. With two wild card slots, .500 or slightly better will make October possible.

Colon’s age is somewhat of a gamble, because, after all, how long can he go? Even so, he’s been an innings-eater, which is exactly what the Mets need. Colon was second in the AL in ERA at 2.65 and finished sixth in the Cy Young balloting.

The Mets’ rotation now consists of Colon, Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Dillon Gee. Each comes with questions:

* Colon: He can’t last forever, but has showed no signs of breaking down.

* Niese: He’s coming off shoulder surgery and has an injury history in his short career.

* Wheeler: Manager Terry Collins said Wheeler could be capable of 200 innings. That’s a little ambitious considering the leash Harvey was on last year, but if he develops as hoped the Mets will have something special.

* Gee: Pitched 199 innings last year. Can he do it again? Gee is underrated, but a valuable commodity.

Colon brings a lot to the table, including a calming, veteran presence that can only benefit Wheeler and Harvey next season.

What he also does is buy time until Noah Syndergaard is ready. The Mets still need a fifth starter, which could be Jenrry Mejia if he’s healthy, or they could force-feed Rafael Montero.

In another development, Seattle signed Corey Hart away from Milwaukee, which leaves the Brewers needing a first baseman. Yes, the Brewers have been linked to Ike Davis, but word is they want to make a run at Tampa Bay first baseman James Loney.

Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all in the market for first basemen.

I don’t expect the Mets to deal Davis by the end of the week, but then again, nobody anticipated them landing a name starter this week.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Dec 11

Terry Collins Said David Wright Deals With Pressure

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – David Wright told me yesterday how much Curtis Granderson will mean to the New York Mets on the field and in the clubhouse.

One thing Wright will never admit is, as team captain, whether he ever felt he was drained by being “the man’’ and if Granderson would alleviate pressure. Doing so would admit feeling the pressure. That’s something he’s never done, and won’t ever. It isn’t in his professional DNA.

WRIGHT: Handles pressure.

WRIGHT: Handles pressure.

Manager Terry Collins can read a player by looking into his eyes and watching body language. He was asked if he ever sees a sign of mental fatigue from Wright.

“The answer is no, I don’t,’’ Collins said.  “David Wright is the consummate pro.  He knows exactly what’s expected, deals with it, and he deals with it with a smile.’’

There are times when he tries to carry the Mets on his shoulders. He’s done that for years, but team leaders always fall into that trap. That’s what team leaders do.

“Does he once in a while try to be the guy?  Yes,’’ Collins said.  “But he’s supposed to because he is the guy.  That’s why I think he’s a great player.’’

When the Mets need a key hit, Wright often delivers. He has a .375 average and 1.123 OPS when the Mets win and .243 average and .700 OPS when they lose. He hits .295 with men on base and .284 with runners in scoring position. His .407 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position is indicative of teams pitching around him.

Since Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado left, Wright has been the go-to guy for the Mets in critical situations. He’s always said he relishes those situations.

“You know, when the game is on the line, you look and guys are turning to David Wright to be the guy that comes through,’’ Collins said.  “I think he handles it great.’’

Granderson, despite his propensity for striking out, hit over 80 homers in 2011-2012. When he hit 41 homers in 2011, his home-road breakdown was 21-20, so he can hit outside of Yankee Stadium. Granderson is not an easy out, so pitchers might be less reluctant to pitch around Wright, at least in theory.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos