Dec 27

Hopefully, The Final Word About Carlos Beltran

Now that I am back, it is time to catch up on several matters with the New York Mets. The most important is Carlos Beltran’s shot across the Mets’ bow after he signed with the Yankees.

Was he entitled? Yes. Did the Mets deserve some of the criticism? Yes, but not all. Beltran needs to look in the mirror, too. Wonder why he felt the need to take a shot when he had numerous opportunities over the years.

BELTRAN; Took shot at Mets.

BELTRAN: Took shot at Mets.

We heard Jeff Wilpon and Beltran mended fences at the All-Star Game, and later Beltran said he was open to a Flushing return. Evidently, that wasn’t the case.

Don’t blame Beltran for saying he would consider it because he was playing the market, and as any smart future free agent, you don’t slam doors early in the process. In the end, we know the Mets would never have given Beltran the kind of deal he received from the Yankees. Forty-five million over three years. Never would have happened.

I’ve always liked Beltran and it would have been fun to see him go out a Met, but it wasn’t to be. Honestly, if sentimentality had anything to do with it, he should have gone full circle and returned to Kansas City.

At his introductory press conference with the Yankees – we all knew that’s where he would go – Beltran filled in a lot of pieces, but to a point.

Beltran said he was still upset when the Mets singled him out for missing an appearance at the Walter Reed Medical Center, when the team was in Washington. It is an annual gesture by the Mets when in Washington, something that doesn’t take the team by surprise – including Beltran.

Why it was never known until after the visit Beltran was in Puerto Rico working with one of his charities is open to speculation. Somebody had to know Beltran would not be there, and if nothing else he should have said something earlier to avoid an issue.

We can write this off as a miscommunication, but can we really? If Beltran was jumping the trip somebody had to have known. Then general manager Omar Minaya? Jeff or Fred Wilpon? Why didn’t Beltran say, `this is who gave me permission to go?’

Seems like enough was done by both parties to create confusion.

However, Beltran is absolutely correct when he says the Mets mishandled his knee problems, from keeping him on the disabled list too long, so they could see him play meaningless games in September, to the surgery itself.

This delayed surgery, which he had on his own, and his subsequent return to the team. Blame the team for that.

But, let’s hear some names, please. Who did you wrong? Minaya or Wilpon?

“All the controversy about the Walter Reed,’’ Beltran said. “The knee — the organization trying to put me as a player that was a bad apple. I was this, I was that. I can deal with 0-for-4 and three strikeouts and talk to you guys.

“But when someone is trying to hurt you in a very personal way, trying to put things out there … then we got trouble. Now, it’s personal.

“When they say all that about myself, I was hurt. You cannot believe the organization that signed you for seven years is trying to put you down. In that aspect, I felt hurt.’’

There, he said it. I wish it had come out sooner and Beltran would have done more in the matter of finger pointing.

However, before we get all weepy for Beltran finally getting a chance to play with the Yankees, always remember he had his opportunity. After the Mets gave him his last contract offer, Beltran went back to the Yankees for a discounted proposal. Seemed he didn’t really want to go to the Mets.

So, obviously, it was more about the money with Beltran regarding the Mets. Had he taken less to go with the Yankees, he would have played in at least one World Series with them – that being the one they won in 2009.

For whatever reason, Beltran was never beloved as a Met. His quiet demeanor was a contributing factor. But, we must remember, he played with a fractured face in 2005. He played through numerous injuries, and he played hard.

That should never be taken away from him. He was beaten up during that time by the fan base, and he received little support from his teammates and management.

There’s something about Beltran’s demeanor that flies under the radar. He was not a vocal presence in the clubhouse, and because of it, Jose Reyes was influenced by Carlos Delgado, who did not respect then manager Willie Randolph.

Yes, Walter Reed was a mess, but a preventable one by both parties. Yes, the knee issue was a disaster, with most of the blame directed at the Mets. Yes, if Beltran hurt then he should have made it vocal.

I was sorry to hear Beltran’s scorched-earth feelings about the Mets. However, it was weighing on him, but it should have come out sooner.

But, Beltran had plenty of time earlier to vent. I wish he hadn’t because it solved nothing and opened old wounds. It cast a black cloud over things, including how he should be remembered as a Met – which is as a marvelous player who gave his best. It also gave us a heads-up for the Subway Series.

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

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.

Seriously?

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 04

Jacoby Ellsbury Signing Defines Mets Vs. Yankees; Time Running Out For Granderson

As if the New York Mets and their frustrated fan base needed another reminder of their status in town, they got a punch-in-the-gut this morning with the news Jacoby Ellsbury had agreed to a seven-year, $153-million contract with the Yankees.

Yes, the Yankees, the team that said they wanted to go below a $189 million payroll while Mets GM Sandy Alderson, despite saying he has the resources, isn’t likely to go over $90 million.

ELLSBURY: Would have been nice in Flushing.

ELLSBURY: Would have been nice in Flushing.

Alderson will say the Mets aren’t competing with the Yankees, and he’s right to a four-game, interleague degree, but he’s wrong everywhere else. There’s competition for the back pages, for free-agents, for attention from the on-the-fence New York fan, for TV ratings and time on the radio talk-shows.

Today, the callers will take a break from bashing the Nets and Knicks – and deservedly so – to hailing the Yankees, and yes, ripping the Mets for their inaction. Also, deservedly so.

It’s a great deal for the Yankees as they obtain a dynamic outfielder – which was Alderson’s prime objective this winter – that will more homers in Yankee Stadium hitting from the leadoff position, while at the same time, weakening their rival Red Sox.

This came after giving $85 million to catcher Brian McCann. And, they are hot after Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, which will entail a hefty posting fee to go along with a huge salary.

Then, there’s the matter of Robinson Cano.

Meanwhile, the Mets’ biggest splash this winter, if you don’t include Chris Young, is having dinner with Jay Z, Cano’s flamboyant agent.

That meeting garnered attention for one day, but these signings by the Yankees to go along with their courtship of Cano, have them in the headlines nearly every day this offseason.

The free-agent outfield market had four premium names: Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson. Ellsbury’s deal set the bar, meaning if history is an indicator, the prices for the others should increase.

This means if the Mets are serious about Granderson they had better act quickly because the meter is running. Who knows? It might already have clicked past Alderson’s price range.

The Mets weren’t going to overpay for Ellsbury or Choo, but they might have to for Granderson for nothing else, to save some face this winter.

But, Granderson would fit the Mets for several reasons:

* He would give them left-handed power. Yes, his numbers were elevated in Yankee Stadium, but of his 43 homers hit in 2012, 26 were at home and 17 on the road. Granderson hit 41 in 20111, with 21 at home and 20 on the road.

* He could play anywhere in the outfield, and has the speed to play center.

* All indications are he’s a good clubhouse presence, plus, he knows what it takes to play in New York.

While the Ellsbury signing screams the Yankees are back, it doesn’t mean the Mets have to limp away. There’s still time for them to do something, but it is running out.

Nov 19

Mets Extend Courtesy Meeting To Agent Jay Z

The New York Mets are no different than other teams in the market in that they are used by agents to drum up interest, or create such an illusion for their clients.

JAY Z: Guess who came for dinner?

JAY Z: Guess who came for dinner?

That was the case Monday night when Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson met with new agent Jay Z to discuss Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

The Mets have no interest in Cano, especially at $300 million, but it did them no harm in meeting with the entertainer/agent/mogul. In fact, it might do them some good.

Of course the Mets knew what the perception would be, but are also smart enough to know the Yankees wouldn’t take them seriously as a contender in the sweepstakes for Cano. That news of the dinner was leaked so quickly, presumably by the Jay Z camp, indicates this was a stunt. The Mets never leak such news.

The Mets extended Jay Z a courtesy with the dinner meeting – which came at his request – and it might come back to benefit them one day if he represents a player they might be interested in.

Who knows? A courtesy now might net them a courtesy later. If nothing else, it could get them a break on Nets tickets, or maybe in a plan for Beyonce to perform at Citi Field. They could put the stage on the spot normally reserved for second base.

As for Cano, the Yankees aren’t biting at $300 million, and nobody else seems to be, either. This thing with Cano will drag on for a while.

 

 

Nov 08

Prices Could Turn Mets Off Choo Or Granderson

If the Mets really want outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, the way the landscape is shaking out they might have a to pony up over a $100-million package and they could have competition from the Yankees.

The Yankees might also present an obstacle should they want to pursue outfielder Curtis Granderson, whom was already given a $14.1 million qualifying offer.

The Mets need corner outfield help, but I’d be reluctant to go after either at those prices.

Choo has been a consistent player, but not an elite, upper-echelon talent worthy of over $100 million. The Mets say no more than four years and he’s nowhere near worth $25 million a season.

Granderson could be worth $60 million over four years, which approaches Jason Bay territory. Remember what happened there?

Granderson, who was injured last season, said this week he might take the qualifying offer and go through the process again. As far as the Mets thinking he’ll replicate the 40 homers he once hit for the Yankees, remember Citi Field isn’t Yankee Stadium – plus he’ll strike out over 140 times.

Not worth it.