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Mets Hot Stove: The Billy Wagner / Carlos Delgado Exacta

Mike SteffanosTuesday, November 29, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I've been spending some time this evening checking out various sources on the Wagner signing and the Delgado press conference, and thought I would share some of the interesting ones:

Mets.com: Marty Likes It
I loved Marty Noble's lead to his article on the Met's site:

Buttressed by a bold, five-day power play unmatched in the history of the franchise, the Mets on Monday appear to be the strongest team in the National League East and a significantly stronger entry in the New York baseball market. By agreeing to contract terms with Billy Wagner, the prize in the current free agent market, less than four days after they acquired Carlos Delgado in a trade, the Mets seem ready to compete with any team in their league, on their schedule and in their city.

Noble made the point that by signing the left handed slugger Delgado and the southpaw Wagner the Mets have their most impressive lefty players since Daryl Strawberry and Randy Meyers in 1988, which Marty points out is the last time that the Mets won their division. Speaking of southpaws, Marty quotes Tom Glavine on the acquisition:

No question, Wagner has made us a much better team than we were last year. There's no guarantee, we still have to play, but we have to be pleased with what we have. We made two major deals and did as much as I think we could have done. It's awesome. I'm excited. They put together a game plan, a road map to success, and we followed the map very well. Now I just hope the directions are up-to-date.

Noble also makes the point that the Mets were able to improve themselves while at the same time hurting the Phillies, a team that finished ahead of them in 2005.

MLB.com: A step forward in the Division
In his Baseball Perspectives column on MLB's web site, Mike Bauman applauds what the Mets accomplished today. He also points out that the Wagner signing both weakens the Phillies and strengthens the Mets. He feels that both Delgado and Wagner bring a lot of good things to the table with them:

Delgado and Wagner are distinctly different fellows -- one from Puerto Rico, the other from Virginia -- but they share some traits that are both positive and valuable. They're both solidly among baseball's good guys. They're both honest. They're both bright. Both are proud competitors, but neither is an egomaniac. They'll be good in the clubhouse. They'll be strong in periods of distress. They will add plenty to this club on the field, but over the long haul, their intangible contributions may be just as valuable.

You know, I wasn't thrilled when I heard they were talking with the Marlins about Delgado, but after listening to what Carlos himself had to say today and reading some items like this, it's looking better and better. As for Wagner, there are concerns that he hasn't been a big "money" pitcher in the playoffs, but at the very least he doesn't seem like a guy who will wilt in New York.

Phillies.com: What's their Plan B?
On the Phillies web site, Ken Mandel quotes Phillies GM Pat Gillick on losing Billy Wagner:

We thought we had a very competitive offer on the table. From our standpoint, the average annual value was over $10 million and could have reached a higher number. We think we made a good proposal, but the Mets were willing to go another year and guarantee more money.

Apparently Tom Gordon is the leading choice for the closer role now. Good luck to them.

Newsday: Delgado Happy
David Lennon reports on the press conference, quoting Delgado on coming to the Mets:

This a dream come true. For 11 years, I've never played in a playoff game, never really played in a pennant race. I'm competitive. And if you're competitive, and you don't win, it kind of -- -- . Things didn't work out in Florida. It's time to move on. Here I am. I landed in a good place with a great opportunity, so I think I got lucky that way.

Delgado also says he will follow team policy and stand during any rendition of God Bless America. In fairness, he said this last year, too. The Blue Jays had no policy regarding this, and he said if the team he signed with had a policy, he would follow it.

Also on Newsday: In the "you just can't win" department...
Wallace Matthews calls Delgado to task for...

...agreeing to follow team policy and stand during God Bless America. Damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. Matthews felt that Delgado's anti-war stance made him "special".

Also on Newsday: It's that Manny guy again...
David Lennon reports that the As are very interested in Lastings Milledge, and Barry Zito is reportedly on the market now that the As signed Esteban Loiza, but the Mets' "first choice" is still to trade Milledge for Manny Ramirez. Yech...

Lennon quotes manger Willie Randolph:

We'd love to have Manny Ramirez. That's a no-brainer. Manny's obviously with the Red Sox right now, so I can't speak about that, but who knows? Maybe we're not finished. There's some other people out there still. The more the merrier. Stacking these hitters together just makes everyone that much better, so hopefully, we're not finished.

The way it's been going for the Mets, anything is possible. Someone's got to catch the ball, though, right? Just checking.

New York Times: It's the Omar and Freddie Show
Remember when they used to call him "Freddie Coupon"? Murray Chass reports on the team of Omar Minaya and Cadillac Fred, the fastest checkbook in the east. As Chass points out:

They are a dangerous combination, Minaya's mind and Wilpon's money. Dangerous for the rest of the division, if not the entire league.

Chass also quotes Phillies GM Pat Gillick on his reluctance to do long-term contracts:

A long-term contract sometimes becomes an unhappy situation, because if the player does well, he feels he's underpaid, and if he doesn't do well, the club feels he's overpaid. It doesn't give you any flexibility.

Chass also speculates that Minaya's next move will be Ramirez. I guess everyone is intent on ruining my mood tonight.

FoxSports.com: Kevin Kennedy on Xavier Nady
In an article primarily on the Marlins' fire sale for the Fox Sports web site, Kevin Kennedy discusses how the Mets benefited. I found it of interest that in discussing the Cameron trade Kennedy assessed Nady as "a guy with 35-40 home run potential." This was the first time I read something about Nady that was more than lukewarm, so I thought I'd share it.

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