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Mets Hot Stove: Bradford Signed, More Ramirez Talk

Mike SteffanosThursday, December 29, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

Mets Hot Stove: Bradford Signed, More Ramirez Talk Chad Bradford is officially the newest member of the Mets' bullpen, MetsDaily.com has another excellent audio interview on-line, and that crazy Manny talk goes on and on...

Mets.com: Bradford signing official
A press release on the Mets' web site announces that the Mets have signed reliever Chad Bradford to a one-year contract. The righty sidewinder is coming back from a back injury that cost him half his season in 2005 and diminished his effectiveness. Still, Omar Minaya was pleased with the signing:

Chad is a veteran guy who has had success in the post-season. He brings valuable experience to our bullpen.

Bradford is looking forward to pitching in New York:

New York is a great situation for me. I worked with Rick Peterson in Oakland and I know what he can do. With all the off-season additions, I'm sure the Mets will be contending for a playoff spot and I want to do all I can to help.

Although his numbers were down last year, Bradford is a pitcher who has enjoyed great success against right-handed batters in his career:

For his career, righthanded batters have a .225 (188-834) average against Bradford. Chad has permitted 10 home runs in 834 at-bats against righthanded batters lifetime, an average of one home run per 83.4 at-bats.

For those of you that are interested, the AP is reporting the dollar value of the deal at $1.4 million.

Mets Daily: Interview with Michael Morrissey
John Strubel has a very good "In the Studio" audio interview with Michael Morrissey, the Mets beat reporter for the New York Post. The 15 minute interview features Morrissey's thoughts on both what happened last season and what the Mets might still do this off-season.

Gotham Baseball: Manny Rumors, part duex
Gotham Baseball's Mike McGann offers this on the four way trade that GB's Mark Healy wrote about earlier:

So, the Battle Continues
All this talk - and it's very real my sources tell me - of the giant Manny Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, four-team deal appears to be the next shot fired in the growing Mets-Yankees war for New York. On the heels of the Yankees bringing in Johnny Damon, Mets' GM Omar Minaya seems determined to make a very hard run at getting Manny to play left field at Shea.

Remember, when you look at these proposed deals, it's not just wins and losses, but dollars and ratings points that figure into the math. Add Manny and Mets telecasts on SNY gain "X" number of rating points, increasing ad dollars - two-thirds of which ends up in the Mets' pocket at the end of the day. So star power may prove to be just as important as winning in Flushing. While the trade talk might seem excessive, especially when it comes to trading the team's prospects, don't forget the business side of the game. [my emphasis]

I couldn't disagree with Mr. McGann more strongly on the two lines I emphasized. Although it wouldn't shock me if the Mets did acquire Manny Ramirez, to equate star power and winning is just plain wrong. If the Mets don't build a consistent winner no one is going to care how many big names are on the team, and if they suck, no one will be watching the telecasts, either. Didn't we learn this lesson in 2002?

Omar's job, first and foremost, is to build a winning team. To do this, it's going to take more than a bunch of big names all getting old at the same time. It's going to take a strong bullpen and the best starting pitching they can throw out there. It's going to take a blend of cheap young players mixed in with the veterans to give Omar enough payroll flexibility to make the moves that he needs to do to succeed. The trade as outlined by Mark Healy earlier would hurt the balance of the team.

A move like this might impress some of the casual a--holes that don't really understand the game, but the real Mets fan wants a solid team that has a chance to win -- this year, and 2 or 3 years down the road. Winning the back page of the dailies from the Yankees means absolutely nothing. Mere buzz, like talk, is cheap. Give us a winner on the field.

AP: Oh, by the way
David Ginsburg, in a report on the Orioles reaching agreement with Jeremy Burnitz, also offers this news on Miguel Tejada:

In other news, the Orioles are on the brink of abandoning their effort to trade disgruntled shortstop Miguel Tejada, who has expressed a desire to leave Baltimore because the team has not done enough to improve itself during the offseason.

"There is absolutely no deal we find acceptable to trade this very special player to another team," an Orioles official said.

That, if true, would seem to throw a monkey-wrench into the proposed four team deal.

New York Times: Rick and Chad, together again
Pat Borzi reports that the Mets hope that reuniting reliever Chad Bradford with pitching coach Rick Peterson will help him to regain the form he had when they worked together in Oakland:

Bradford first excelled with Oakland while Peterson was his pitching coach. Bradford's unusual delivery, bending so his knuckles nearly scrape the dirt of the mound as he throws, baffled right-handers from 2002 to 2004, when he held them to a .214 average. Peterson left Oakland for the Mets after the 2003 season. In eight postseason appearances from 2000 (with the White Sox) through 2003, Bradford did not allow a run in eight and a third innings.

Borzi points out that reuniting with Peterson revived the career of Roberto Hernandez. I've heard some Mets fans express the hope that Bradford might possibly be the eighth inning guy if Heilman is moved in a Manny Ramirez trade. Keep in mind that, as a submariner, Bradford is suited for a situational role in facing right-handers. He's never enjoyed much success against lefties, and that would seem to argue against his suitability for a set-up role.

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