By Mike Steffanos
The Mets have officially brought Chris Woodward back into the fold, and are close to signing a mediocre Japanese pitcher. Meanwhile, Andrew Marra from the Palm Beach Post informs us what Jeff Reardon's defense will be if his sad case makes it to trial.
Daily News: Chris Woodward signs
Anthony McCarron reports that the Mets and Chris Woodward have agreed to a one-year, $825,000 contract. McCarron also reports on incentives in Victor Zambrano's contract that can push its final value up over the $3 million in base salary:
Zambrano can add to it by achieving three award bonuses - he'll make $50,000 for making the All-Star team, $25,000 if he's the MVP of the NL Championship Series and $50,000 for being the World Series MVP.
If Victor achieves any of those awards I think it would be fair to say that he exceeded expectations for the season.
With Ramon Castro's signing from last week, the Mets have now signed all of their arbitration eligible players.
New York Post: Another Japanese Import not to get excited about
According to Mark Hale, the Mets have added another potential arm to the bullpen by agreeing in principle to deal with Japanese pitcher Yusaku Iriki:
Iriki, a 32-year-old righty who spent last year with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, will get a one-year deal which also includes a team option, the source said. The deal, which is pending a physical today, is worth slightly less than $1 million and also includes approximately $500,000 in potential incentives, according to the source.
Sounds like a major-league deal, which would seem to indicate that Iriki will have a bullpen job to lose in spring training. It would seem that this would hurt the chances of RHPs Juan Padilla and Heath Bell to earn jobs in 2006. The Mets have an awful lot of right-handers as it stands now.
I'm sure we will learn more about Iriki, but to me, he sounds like this year's Mr. Koo -- last year's Korean fiasco.
Hale also reports that Chris Woodward's $825,000 contract includes incentives that can bump him up to $1.25 million for the year.
Palm Beach Post: Jeff Reardon's Defense
An anonymous comment to one of my posts pointed me to Andrew Marra's article on the defense Jeff Reardon's lawyer will use if his case goes to trial:
Jeff Reardon's attorney doesn't dispute that his baseball-star client robbed a Palm Beach Gardens jewelry store last month.
But with a little help from an obscure state law, he thinks he can convince a jury Reardon is not guilty.
Check out Reardon's new best friend: Florida Statute 775.051. It says there's no way being drunk, high or otherwise intoxicated can be used as a legal defense.
It turns out being intoxicated can be used to prove a lack of criminal intent if the suspect used a controlled substance "pursuant to a lawful prescription."
And that is precisely what Reardon and his attorney, Mitchell Beers, have been claiming all along.
They say the retired pitching standout walked into The Gardens mall on Dec. 26 and robbed Hamilton Jewelers because he was having a bad reaction to a combination of prescribed antidepressants and post-surgery medications.
Reardon is currently facing a robbery charge, a second-degree felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
You would hope that some kind of deal could be reached to put an end to this sad story before a Court TV fodder type of trial takes place. I know that there are some people who don't believe Reardon's story, but no one can explain to me what his motives were if he was mentally competent during this "robbery".
If you need a refresher on what transpired back in late December, read this post.