Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Not Just the Cable Money

Tom Verducci has a great column about the Mets early spending spree in the free agent and trade markets. While many feel, including myself, that the Mets were spending their way to a division title because of their new regional sports network, it's a lot more complicated then that. In some ways, it's the tail wagging the dog because they want a great product so they can present on their sports network, not because of it. On top of that, ticket sales were up last year and they have about $30 million coming off the payrolls.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mets Sign Billy Wagner

Alright, another early Christmas present. It looks like the Mets upped their offer both by giving him a fourth year and putting him over the $10 million a year mark. Four years for around $43 is a lot to pay someone to come out of the pen, but Wagner's been one of the best relievers in the game over the last ten years. 840 strikeouts in 630 1/3 innings says it all and he has a 0.99 career WHIP and a mind boggling .183 batting average against. These aren't single season numbers, they're career numbers.

And he's coming off of one of his best seasons although he's had several. Now all we need is Manny Ramirez and I think we can say the off season was a success. What's been particularly interesting is we've been raiding the teams in our division. Not only are the Mets getting better, but the Marlins and Phillies have had some big losses. Not only are we adding, we're also getting addition by subtraction.

Mets Continue to Set the Trend in Hot Stove

We're about a week removed from the Carlos Delgado trade, and it looks like the Mets are continuing to push forward in their pursuit of their first World Series in 20 years. They're still a player in the Manny Ramirez sweepstakes, they have a huge three year, $30 million dollar deal on the table to Billy Wagner and now they're turning their sites on a replacement for Mike Piazza.

And they're not looking at anything second rate. According to this story, they have offers out to both Ramon Hernandez and Benji Molina. Molina is a former gold glover, but his defensive skills have regressed the last couple of years (-3 FRAA in 2004 and 2005). Ramon Hernandez is better known for his bat, and he's done a decent job at the plate despite having to play in PETCO the last couple of years. The concern with Hernandez is his durability. After four straight seasons with 400 at bats, he's gone two without hitting that benchmark.

It looks like Wagner is holding out for a fourth year, although from what I've heard, the deal the Mets gave him basically give him that barring a catastrophic injury. What's disconcerting is the mega deal that B.J. Ryan signed could raise the bar for Wagner. Yes, Ryan is younger so a five year deal isn't "too" out of hand, but the Jays threw a lot of money at him. Wagner might be looking to add a million or two a year to the deal as he knows he's one of the premiere closers in the game.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Carlos Delgado Coming to the Mets

I wouldn't qualify the Cameron/Nady deal as a blockbuster. The Mets getting Carlos Delgado from the Marlins definitely would qualify though. This is huge and while the Mets are giving up Mike Jacobs (and Yusmeiro Petit), they're adding one of the best slugging first base men in the league. The Mets also walk with $7 million (eventually, when the money is going to be paid is still an issue that's on the table).

The last time Delgado didn't hit 30 homeruns was 1996. He also has a great eye at the plate (.393 career OBP). Putting him into a lineup with Carlos Beltran and David Wright is just about unfair.

Talk about some good news for the holidays. You'd have to think that this pushes the Mets into the top spot in the NL East and getting Billy Wagner would be icing in the cake. It looks like the Mets are taking full advantage of the fact that they won't have to pay luxury tax in 2006 (and I'm sure the extra money from the regional sports network doesn't hurt either).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mets and Padres Finalize Trade. Mets Get Xavier Nady and Padres get Mike Cameron

Mike Cameron passed his physical and now he'll be roaming PETCO's center field. The big part of this deal is that the Padres took responsibility for all of Cameron's salary next year ($7 million). The Mets get Xavier Nady, who I think for now can be penciled in as the Met's starting first basemen. If we nab Carlos Delgado, I can say him moving over to right field to take over for Cameron.

Not a bad deal. It free's up some money and if it works out, we have an actual upgrade as a hitter. Cameron had declined in the field the last couple of years and while he could go yard, he's a career .249 hitter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mets Close to Trading Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady

Buster Olney apparantly broke a story saying that the Mets and Padres have agreed on a deal. Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady. The big part of the deal has the Padres picking up the entire $7 million that Cameron has coming to him next season. In exchange, we get a fair first baseman.

I was a big fan of Cameron coming to New York, but that was before the Mets signed Carlos Beltran. Nady, while he hasn't quite lived up to the prospect hype he received, would actually be an upgrade over last year's poor excuse for a first basemen. Nady can also play the outfield and third base if need be, so he gives Willie Randolph some flexibility. If the Mets could get an even better left handed first baseman, they could platoon that player with Nady, who was quite good against lefties last year (.323/.400/.452).

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mets Contact Konerko, Minaya Said to Be Aggresive in Hot Stove

I read over at the Hardball Times that the Mets have made contact with Paul Konerko. First base has been a sink hole for the Mets, and if while I think Konerko will end up back in Chicago, you have to give the front office some credit for their efforts.

And based on this column, it looks like the Mets are going to be aggresive in the free agent market. Not too surprising, since the Mets have the makings of a championship ballclub and that there's no luxury tax this year for first time offenders.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mets Courting Billy Wagner, Decision Time on Ishii

Omar Minaya made a trip to see Billy Wagner on Friday. One of the Mets biggest problems last year was a reliable bullpen, and inking Wagner to a deal would go a long way towards shoring that up. Wagner's one of the hardest throwers ever, and he's held batters to a career .183 batting average against in 630 1/3 innings. He has 840 strikeouts versus only 217 walks.

The Mets also have to make a decision soon (Nov. 15) on both Kaz Ishii and Felix Hereda. Heredia is going to miss the first 10 games of the season because of a steroid suspension (or whenever he signs) and has a $2.5 million option. His buyout is only $200k and I'd be inclined to going that route because he hasn't had a decent season since 2003.

Ishii is a tougher decision. His option is $3.25 million, but his buy out is $2.2 million. With only a one million spread, I'd pick up the option and use him as a fifth starter/long relief/mop up guy.

Both Brandon Looper and Roberto Hernandez filed for free agency. Looper closed for most of the season and at best, was wishy washy. He lost seven games, and he's never been a great strikeout pitcher. When you compare him with Wagner, well, there is no comparison. Hernandez was a little better, but he'll turn 41 this week. Honestly, I'd rather see Hernandez back, even at 41, then I would Looper.

Also, you can check out Lastings Milledge's, the Mets' centerfield prospect, journal of experiences in this year's Arizona Fall League. I like how he wants to emphasize on his plate discipline. I know Milledge has a huge road block on Carlos Beltran, but it'd be nice to have a guy with his speed available as a fourth outfielder.