Tag:New York Mets
Posted on: February 20, 2010 12:51 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2010 8:37 pm

Veteran C Barajas agrees to terms with Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Veteran catcher Rod Barajas accepted the Mets' major-league offer Saturday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth close to $1 million, plus another $1 million in incentives, according to a source with knowledge of the talks.

Barajas, who first must pass a physical examination, immediately moves atop the Mets' depth chart behind the plate. The Mets, who had been casting about for help after Bengie Molina spurned them and re-signed with San Francisco, had not done better than Henry Blanco and Omir Santos before landing Barajas.

The Mets had signed Blanco with the intent of making him their backup catcher. Santos, 29, has spent most of his career in the minors and though he did respond to an opportunity with the Mets last summer  -- .260 with seven homers and 40 RBI -- he's viewed more as an organizational depth guy, not a pivotal part of a team being built to challenge for the NL East title.

Barajas also had fielded interest from Texas and others, but only had received offers of minor-league deals. The Mets initially offered him a minor-league contract but upgraded that to a major-league offer on Friday. The one-year offer, as general manager Omar Minaya said Saturday, affords Barajas "the opportunity to be able to be back on the market next year in a positive situation."

Aside from the Mets, there is one other beneficiary of Barajas signing a major-league deal: Toronto. The Blue Jays will receive a supplemental first-round pick as compensation because Barajas is a Type-B free agent and declined arbitration. On a minor-league deal, Toronto would have received no compensation.

Barajas, 34, batted .226 with 19 homers and 71 RBI while catching for the Blue Jays last summer.

Posted on: December 29, 2009 4:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2009 5:21 pm

Bay-watch finished, Mets' winter looking up

Whether he wants to or not, slugging outfielder Jason Bay is on the verge of becoming a New York Met. Bay and the club have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $66 million, CBSSports.com has confirmed, with a fifth-year option that could boost the package into the $80 million neighborhood.

The deal is pending Bay passing a physical examination and, as such, the Mets are not confirming that an agreement is in place.

Barring any surprises with Bay's physical, the move will accomplishes one of the Mets' chief offseason goals, which was adding a slugger who will man left field and make manger Jerry Manuel's lineup more dangerous. It also should silence critics who were chattering that the Mets' dalliance with Bay was "just for show", a transparent attempt to placate their fans while making an offer they knew Bay would not accept.

In the end, they got it done.

Now, regarding the "wants to" part: The Mets made their initial offer to Bay coming out of the winter meetings in Indianapolis some three weeks ago and have been waiting for an answer ever since. Speculation, of course, has been strong in some quarters that Bay must not have wanted to become a Met very badly because, if he did, talks between him and the club wouldn't have dragged along for so long.

But in a chilly winter on the free agent market in which Boston cut bait with Bay and signed outfielder Mike Cameron, and Seattle, San Francisco and the Yankees -- all clubs looking for a big, middle-of-the-order bat -- Bay's options pretty much dwindled to just one. And that one was located with a Queens ZIP code.

However Bay was delivered -- and there's a lot of dollars here to sooth any disappointment the Canada native might have felt when Seattle didn't step up, or when Boston pulled its offer -- there is no doubt that it's a victory for the Mets.

It's not a guaranteed victory, because we've been through this before with them: They traded for Johan Santana two winters ago and signed free agent closers Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz last winter and failed to make the playoffs both years. Much to their fans chagrin, the Mets have proven in recent years that they're a different breed and often add up to less than the sum of their parts would appear.

But they have needs to fill as the time since their last playoff appearance (2006) lengthens and the back-to-back NL champion -- and Mets' NL East rival -- Philadelphia Phillies (who already have traded for Roy Halladay and signed Placido Polanco this winter) continue to swing for the fences.

Though he's now 31, considered a mediocre outfielder and batted just .267 for the Red Sox last summer, he also walloped 36 home runs and finished with 119 RBI.

With a healthy Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran (it's never too late to start knocking on wood in advance of opening day with them) and with slugging third baseman David Wright, Bay will give the Mets another presence that should make life difficult for opposing pitchers.

But their job is not finished. They still need a catcher -- free agent Bengie Molina remains the most logical bet -- and pitching (bullpen help, especially).

With the Mets, the job is never finished. But with Bay poised to change his workplace address to Citi Field, ever so cautiously, there again is hope.

Posted on: August 25, 2009 10:00 pm

Twins dealt Santana because of $, not arm trouble

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Mets prepare to face life without ace Johan Santana for the foreseeable future little more than a year after acquiring him from Minnesota, the Twins have a clear conscience.

When Minnesota declined to deliver a jumbo-sized contract to Santana and traded him to the Mets before the 2008 season, how much did the hint of arm problems for the left-hander factor into their decision?

"Zero," Mike Radcliff, Minnesota's vice-president of player personnel, said Tuesday. "Our ownership and our management didn't think that long of a contract was good business. It was just the length. That's always risk for a pitcher, whether it's a one-year deal or a 20-year deal. But we had no knowledge of any injury.

"It was the outlay that was required. And that goes along with that kind of a deal. Pitchers get hurt.  That kind of length of contract is very risky, especially for a pitcher. It's just common sense. Logic tells you that."

Upon obtaining Santana, the Mets immediately struck a six-year, $137.5 million contract with him. As he heads for season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, Santana is still owed a minimum of $98.5 million over the next four years.

"There is a differentiation between a pitcher and a position guy," Radcliff said. "[Santana] throws 200 innings a year, but he's not the biggest guy, and he's not the strongest guy. He does throw more changeups and off-speed stuff, so you can lessen the risk with him.

"But with a No. 1 guy like him, the risk is exponential."

And quite simply, that's where baseball's more economically challenged teams must make the hard decisions, must separate reason from emotion when dealing with a franchise player who is about to become a free agent.

One contract like Santana's can cripple a team with limited resources for years if the player is injured for any length of time. Meantime, while a major inconvenience for a richer team, it doesn't necessarily reduce them to non-competitor status.

"That's the small-market, big-market discussion in a nutshell," Radcliff said. "The larger-market teams have money to overcome mistakes that others of us don't. They can say, 'We'll take the risk, no problem.' For teams like us and the Royals, it can be a problem."

This will be Santana's second surgery since becoming a Met -- he underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus when the season ended last October.

His only significant injury while with the Twins came in 2001, when he was sidelined from July 12-Sept. 21 with a partial tear of the flexor muscle in his elbow.

In Minnesota, Twins players, staff and officials were saddened to hear about Santana's impending surgery.

"I hope he's healthy as soon as possible and ready to go," Radcliff said.

Likes: Great picture here from the weekend reunion of the 1979 world champion ("We Are Fam-a-lee") Pirates in Pittsburgh. Great to hear that Chuck Tanner, the manager of that team, is doing well after suffering a heart attack and undergoing surgery this spring. Tanner is 80 now, and he was one of the centerpieces of what several players said was an emotional and touching reunion. "I can't believe after reminiscing that we didn't beat the Orioles in four games," cracked pitcher Bert Blyleven. "Everybody was 5-for-5, I won five games in that series, Jim Rooker won four. ... Just seeing everybody was great. We're still family." ... The Rockies beating San Francisco on Ryan Spillborgh's 14th-inning grand slam on Monday night? They're developing into the best story in baseball. ... Who else was waiting for the Tigers to blow that 10-0 lead in Anaheim on Monday night? Closer Fernando Rodney entered in the eighth inning for the first time all year and, based on the way he handled the ninth, that might not be the last time manager Jim Leyland summons him in the eighth. ... Nick Hornby with a new book due this fall, Juliet, Naked. ... Adele's frozen custard stand in Excelsior, Minn. The Fresh Peach was outstanding today. And the Coconut Cream was exquisite on Sunday. ... The ribs and chopped pork at Famous Dave's barbecue shack.

Dislikes: The way I figure it, if you're looking for a sure thing in this ragged economy, you could do a whole lot worse than owning one of the food joints behind security at the airport. You're unable to bring liquid through security, so you've got to buy water -- or something -- on the other side. And now that they don't feed you on flights, you've got to grab some food (unless you pack it at home, which would be a nightmare trying to get through security. So, basically, for any food or drink, you're held hostage by whatever prices (or they charge or crap they serve. And at the airport near me, the Starbucks now says they will not take regular Starbucks gift cards. Apparently because they're independent and can make their own rules. So that'll be $12 for a cup of coffee, bottle of juice and a yogurt parfait to take on the plane for an early morning flight. And as if that's not enough of a rip-off, the spot where you can really use a gift card won't accept them. Traveling is so much fun.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"One love
"One blood
"One life
"You got to do what you should
"One life
"With each other
"One life
"But we're not the same
"We get to
"Carry each other"

-- U2, One

Posted on: August 7, 2009 1:36 am
Edited on: August 7, 2009 1:47 am

They've got the Mets pinned down

Over in one corner of the New York Mets' clubhouse Thursday afternoon, a laptop computer sat on a chair. Apparently abandoned in the middle of a war video game, a robotic voice emanating from the tiny speakers kept repeating, "They've got me pinned down here! They've got me pinned down here!"

It could have served as the motto for the 2009 Mets, who opened a seven-game trip to San Diego and Arizona five games under .500 (51-56) and 10 games behind first-place Philadelphia.

Still wiping the red from their faces over the fiasco in which Tony Bernazard, the angry and vicious little assistant general manager, was fired and GM Omar Minaya lashed out at a reporter, the beleaguered Mets currently are dizzy from the spin of their injury merry-go-round.

Let's see, if today is Thursday, then. ...

Pitcher Jonathon Niese must be out for the season (complete tear of the right upper hamstring from the bone).

Shortstop Jose Reyes is expected to be out for the season (with what the club is calling "significant" scar tissue and inflammation behind the right knee).

Reliever Bobby Parnell will be moved into the rotation for a spot start Saturday night in San Diego.

And Mike Pelfrey (home with wife Angela as the couple was expecting its first baby on Thursday) will be pushed back to Monday's start against Arizona.

"It's half my day," manager Jerry Manuel says of his time spent talking with trainers and analyzing who's available and who isn't.


A couple of other Mets observations:

-- Even if Philadelphia (61-45) plays .500 ball the rest of the way and the other two teams ahead of them -- Atlanta and Florida -- play sub-.500 ball, the Mets (51-57) must go 39-15 the rest of the way to win the division. That's playing at a .722 clip. The Mets have never scored that high of a winning percentage. Their best came in their 1986 World Series championship season, when they compiled a .667 winning percentage during the regular season.

-- Oliver Perez now has his hair pushed up into a Mohawk, much like last October's Tampa Bay Rays. Oliver Perez should forget his hair and put that effort into his pitching. The Man Who Can't Control His Mechanics currently is averaging nearly the same number of walks per inning (0.96) than St. Louis' Joel Pineiro is walks per nine innings (1.0).

-- Perez's number of walks has exceeded his number of innings pitched in six of his 10 starts this season. he can make it seven of 11 on Friday night in San Diego.

-- New York starters rank 12th among the league's 16 rotations with a 4.65 ERA. With large contributions from Perez, nobody in the NL has issued more walks than the Mets' starters (264).

-- The Mets already have roughly $90 million committed for 2010 to just seven players: Carlos Beltran ($20 million), Johan Santana ($21 million), Oliver Perez ($12 million), Frankie Rodriguez ($11 million), David Wright ($10.25 million), Jose Reyes ($9 million) and Luis Castillo ($6.25 million)

Likes: New Padre Clayton Richard learned one key thing from his old White Sox teammate Mark Buehrle: Get the ball, throw the ball. He's a fast worker, which the fielders playing behind him love. I never will understand why more pitchers don't figure that out. ... If this is the secret to longevity, sign me up for some: Around 4 p.m. Thursday, three hours before he was scheduled to pitch for the Mets, a clubhouse guy delivered a hefty cheeseburger to Livan Hernandez, straight from the visiting clubhouse kitchen.

Dislikes: It's a sad, sad day when the Dayton Daily News decides to stop covering the Cincinnati Reds and the legendary Hal McCoy is, in his words, "put out to pasture." Hal has been covering the Reds since the Big Red Machine days of the 1970s and knows more about baseball than most of us ever will. He's pure class, always has been, and he's had a wonderful run. He says he's finished after this year, and I can't tell you how much I'm going to miss seeing him in press boxes around the league. Godspeed, good buddy. ... If you want to know more about Hal, here you go, a column from July, 2006, on the eve of his induction into the writer's wing of the Hall of Fame.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I got some groceries, some peanut butter
"To last a couple of days
"But I ain't got no speakers
"Ain't got no headphones
"Ain't got no records to play"

-- Talking Heads, Life During Wartime

Posted on: May 18, 2009 9:39 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2009 10:12 pm

What's in store for Mets without Delgado

LOS ANGELES -- The New York Mets say they're not going to panic while Carlos Delgado is gone for what could be two months or more. They say they're going to use a combination of Fernando Tatis and Jeremy Reed at first base with maybe a little Daniel Murphy thrown in.

And that's all well and good.

Until the Mets, leading the NL East by half-a-game over Philadelphia heading into Monday night's games, hit one of those infamous valleys they've had a habit of slipping into over the past few summers. Then all bets are off.

"The team is playing well," says Tony Bernazard, the Mets' vice-president for player development. "As long as we continue to play well, I don't see any need to make changes."

Question is, are these Mets (21-16) capable of continuing to win at a .568 clip without Delgado?

That's a question that will come with a multi-layered answer over the next several days and weeks:

 Gary Sheffield, 40, will see more playing time in the immediate future, and for the Mets' sake, that cannot come with diminishing returns. He was hitting .254 with a .390 on-base percentage, two homers and seven RBI in 31 games heading into Monday night's. For a guy who looked nearly finished in Detroit, he's shown some life at the plate. But what's the shelf-life of that if he plays every day?

"These are the things we have to find out, and we don't know until we go through a stretch of games in a row without off days," Mets manager Jerry Manuel says.

Short-term, expect Sheffield to serve as designated hitter some this weekend in Boston when interleague play begins.

 Manuel's managing acumen will be tested. Because he's going to have to find the right combination of pushing Sheffield with more playing time than anybody originally planned, but by pulling back if Sheffield tires, his swing slows or his body begins to ache.

"I'm going to have to manage him," Manuel acknowledges.

The Mets like Sheffield in the middle of their lineup because, even though they acknowledge he's not the hitter he once was, he's a presence. That helps make up for the presence they've lost in Delgado (.298, four homers, 23 RBI).

 Now is a good time for third baseman David Wright, 26, to step up and lead. Wright's place in the Mets' clubhouse hierarchy has been debated before in his development. It's reached the point where it should be his team, but when longer-tenured and older veterans like Delgado are around, that's easier said than done.

Now, with a clear void, does Wright step into it?

"That's a good question," Manuel says. "I think you want a guy in the infield taking charge. It's difficult to do that from center field. To be a third baseman and out there every day performing, it's definitely a good opportunity. And I think I've seen some of that (already)."

 Wright, Carlos Beltran and shortstop Jose Reyes have to be careful not to try and make up for the loss of Delgado by themselves, but they need to produce.

"Of the two Carloses, Reyes and Wright, we've always wanted two of the four of them hot," Manuel says. "Now we want two of the three hot. As long as it's still two. ..."

 As for the first base combo, the right-handed Tatis and the lefty Reed should get most of the playing time at the bag. Tatis, 34, has been impressive so far: .308 and a .365 OBP in 23 games (65 at-bats). Reed, 27, is hitting .357 with a .400 OBP in 32 games (28 at-bats).

Murphy's time at first likely will depend on how much time Sheffield spends in the outfield and how Tatis and Reed are doing at first. While none of the three is a natural first baseman, that doesn't bother Manuel.

"We made a real good run last year with people not at their natural positions," he says. "We had two third basemen in the outfield (Tatis and Murphy) and they responded well."

 If things to falter and the Mets look to the outside for a trade, two names already floated are Baltimore's Aubrey Huff and Washington's Nick Johnson.

For now, the Mets will find out what they're made of.

They hope the answer is more positive than when they faced that same question in each of the past two seasons.

Posted on: February 16, 2009 10:12 pm

Atlanta makes more sense than Seattle for Griffey

TAMPA, Fla. -- As Ken Griffey Jr. sleeps one more night while rasslin' with what probably will be the last big decision of his career, the parameters are pretty simple.

Atlanta by far offers him the best situation, personally.

Seattle clearly is where he should go, professionally, from strictly a save-the-legs, extend-his-career point of view.

Assuming the money is roughly equal -- a year, somewhere between $1 and $2 million -- this doesn't make the decision any easier. But the parameters are very clear.

Remember when Junior asked the Mariners to trade him to Cincinnati so he could go home?

Turns out, he rarely felt at home.

Atlanta offers a far better home situation than Cincinnati ever did. He lives in Orlando, 15-20 minutes from the Braves' complex. He literally can live in his own house an extra six or seven weeks this year during spring training (as opposed to having to pack up and spend February and March in Peoria, Ariz.).

Atlanta, the city, is geographically closer to his Orlando home than Cincinnati is. At an hour away by air, Griffey could head home to Florida on off days if he wanted.

If he signs with Seattle, of course, he can't. But he may be able to acquire several more at-bats as a DH than he would as a platoon left fielder in Atlanta.

Meantime, while the Braves aren't necessarily favored in the NL East, they probably can hang with Philadelphia and the New York Mets longer than a Seattle team that lost 101 games last year can stay afloat in the AL West.

So, to recap. ...

Atlanta = home, family, playing meaningful games, possibly getting one more chance to play in October if all sorts of things fall into place.

Seattle = easier on the legs thanks to the DH slot and ... um ... well, far less humidity than Atlanta during the peak of the summer.

It's difficult to view a Griffey return to Seattle as anything more than a chance for the Mariners to help sell more tickets. At 39, he's certainly past his prime and isn't in position to significantly help them improve. He's a role player now.

Bottom line is, it's pretty clear.

Atlanta makes the most sense.

Likes: Mets manager Jerry Manuel's plan to shake up the lineup, and maybe give shortstop Jose Reyes more defensive responsibility in terms of helping to position guys. Terrific idea. Reyes has shown a lack of focus and a need to mature. Giving him more responsibility may be exactly what he needs to lock in and stay focused. ... Love Boston's David Ortiz and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen saying anybody who tests positive for steroids should be suspended for an entire season. Somebody start that petition. ... Sean Penn has to win the Oscar for Best Actor over Mickey Rourke, doesn't he? Rourke's performance was powerful, but -- and not to diminish it -- he was largely playing Mickey Rourke. Penn was pure acting. ... B.B. King's latest disc, One Kind Favor, is really good. ... So is The Hold Steady's latest, Stay Positive. Vastly underrated group. ... Absolutely love the Blackberry "If Delivery People Ran the World" ad where the kid Callahan is missing from school and the delivery folks track him, grab him and deposit him before he knows what's hit him.

Dislikes: I will see you on Tuesday live from the Alex Rodriguez press conference in Yankee camp. I don't think anybody wants to be there -- A-Rod, the Yankees, the media, anybody. But we've all got to play our parts before we can move on with the spring, know what I mean? I'll be happy to get past it and get back to writing baseball.

Sunblock day? Warm sun, cool air. Probably around 70 which, for you Northerners eating your hearts out, is still pretty darn good down here.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I think she drove a new Mustang
"I guess it might be a rental
"I remember she had satellite radio
"I guess she seemed a bit nervous
"Do you think I’m that stupid?
"Well look, what the hell, I’ll tell my story again …"

-- The Hold Steady, Sequestered in Memphis

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com