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Mets Hot Stove Weekend Update

Mike SteffanosSaturday, November 5, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

I've stayed away from posting things about free agents all week because this is the time of year when the papers will print almost anything, just to have some news. But things are starting to heat up for real.

Daily News: Wagner says nice things about the Mets
Adam Rubin quotes Billy Wagner as saying Omar Minaya and the Mets front office "know exactly what they need and I felt like I was a priority." (Wish I could feel as confident as Wagner in this.) As nice as this is to hear, I keep in mind that it's in Wagner's best interest to remind the Phillies and others pursuing him that the Mets are a suitor.

Rubin also points out that with Gerry Hunsicker replacing Chuck LaMar as Tampa Bay's GM, you might see the Mets rekindle their pursuit of Danys Baez and/or Julio Lugo. To me, Lugo at 2B next year is somewhat intriguing, but if the Mets open the 2006 season with Baez as the closer we're in trouble. I'm not even convinced he's an upgrade on Looper, and you'd have to give up something to get him. Pass...

New York Post: More Wagner
Mark Hale also reports on Wagner's kind words about the Mets, how impressed he was impressed with Minaya and Met's management. I guess they schmoozed up Wagner's wife really nicely, too. Those of us married or in long relationships understand just how important the little woman's opinion could be in these matters.

Hale also reported that the Mets have "expressed interest" in A. J. Burnett. I'm sure they did, but with all of the Mets needs this off-season, does anyone out there believe that they will invest a ton of money in a starting pitcher?

Newsday: Even More Wagner
In Newsday, David Lennon goes further and states that the Mets are committed to beat any offer to sign Wagner, and he goes on to state that a deal "could be completed in a matter of days after the exclusive window for teams to negotiate with their own free agents closes Thursday." (My emphasis)

Apparently, the Mets are going to follow the formula used with Pedro last year, and give Wagner the fourth year at big money to try to get him. With so few closers out there, I understand the need to do this -- but you're going to have a couple of pitchers in Pedro and Wagner that will be vastly overpaid for the last year or two of their contracts. It's going to hurt Omar's ability to spend money then, if the team is right on the verge of contending for a championship. I understand the Mets' desire to be a real contender next year, but sometimes worry that the price they will pay will hurt them down the road.

Mets.com: Mets Bullpen
Marty Noble has a long piece on the bullpen. Some of the details: Braden Looper not likely to return, the Mets hope to bring Roberto Hernandez back. Noble points out that Looper, Hernandez and Danny Graves combined to pitch 36% of the Mets' bullpen innings from last year and all are now free agents.

MetsBlog on Jon Heyman
I think Newsday does a great job in covering the Mets, but any time I read something by columnist Jon Heyman regarding the Mets I invariably start cursing under my breath. This guy never lets a lack of any knowledge or real insight into his subject stop him from writing about something. I've honestly never read anything by him about the Mets that I agreed with.

With my prejudice against Heyman out in the open, I have to say I enjoyed how Matthew Cerrone from MetsBlog called him on a sloppy and rather silly piece he wrote about Japanese catcher Kenji Jojima. Check it out.

No Joy In Metsville
One of the blogs that I really enjoy reading is No Joy in Metsville. The posts are short and to the point (not long-winded like many of mine), often funny -- and he gives you something to think about, too. He talked about the Mets possibly bringing Dotel well before reports came out that the Mets were looking into signing him as a set up guy. He's been on a roll the last few days with hot-stove stuff. I figure most people that find their way into this backwater of a site would already be aware of No Joy in Metsville, but if for some reason you aren't, please check it out.

Key New York Mets Free Agents and Trades

When I wrote the series this week on the key Mets acquisitions of the last 15 years, I did it because it interested me, and I couldn't find anything like it on-line. After posting it, I think it might be interesting to go back 5 more years to the 1986-1990 period and cover the disheartening way that Frank Cashen destroyed the potential dynasty that he had built. I'll get to that at some point this month.

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