By Mike Steffanos
Both the New York Times and Newsday have stories more or less confirming that a deal is in place between Cablevision and SportsNet New York is in place, as reported earlier by Bloomberg.com.
Newsday: SportsNet New York and Cablevision have reached a tentative agreement for the cable giant to carry the Mets' new regional sports network, a person familiar with the negotiations said Sunday night.
No contract has been signed, and it is not clear precisely when one will be, but it appears almost certain that when SNY launches March 16, Cablevision's 3 million customers, most of them on Long Island, will have access to the channel.
New York Times: Cablevision is close to an agreement to carry the Mets' new cable network, SportsNet New York, that would allow the channel to be seen throughout the metropolitan region.
But Mark Harrad, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable, which is a partner with the Mets and Comcast in the network, cautioned that nothing formal had been signed. "Talks are progressing well," he said. "We are optimistic, but there is no deal in place yet."
Jim Maiella, a Cablevision spokesman, would not describe the status of the negotiations, but he said officials expected to carry the Mets on opening day and beyond.
Newsday aslo gives a heads up on negotiations with the satellite providers:
DirecTV most likely will fall into place once the Cablevision agreement is finalized. Customers of the other major satellite service, Dish Network, might have a longer wait.
Some other news:
Mets.com: Brian Bannister impresses
Bryan Hoch profiles Brian Bannister, quoting Rick Peterson on what Bannister brings to the table:
He has four pitches that he can locate to both sides of the plate, and that's exciting. You're just excited to see him in competition against big-league hitters and see how they react.
Peterson worked with Bannister on his changeup during the mini-camp in January, and will continue to work with him on it this spring. Bannister is considered very close to being major-league ready.
Newsday: Duaner Sanchez and Jorge Julio
David Lennon writes about the Mets bullpen acquisitions. Lennon quotes Sanchez, who has the attitude needed to prosper under pressure:
For you to be successful, you have to have a little bit of an attitude on the mound. I'm not afraid to pitch in those situations. If you're not confident in yourself, who else is going to be?
As for Jorge Julio, who struggled over the last three seasons, Lennon quotes manager Willie Randolph on his hope that pitching coach Rick Peterson can help Julio find his way back into being an effective reliever:
Hopefully, he can help him find a certain rhythm or niche or whatever so he can repeat his delivery more consistently. He's a big guy with a lot of moving parts. If we can simplify some of that, hopefully it can translate into something more consistent.
Mets.com: Henry Owens
Bryan Hoch also pens a column on reliever prospect Henry Owens, who is impressing with mid-90s velocity and a deceptive delivery. Hoch quotes Aaron Hathaway, Owens catcher in A-ball last season, on what makes his pitches hard to pick up:
Some guys use a sidestep in their release for deception. He uses a short-arm, kind of tuck-it-behind-your-ear release. Not only that, he throws real hard. It just adds to the deception.
Mets.com: Odds and Ends
Bryan Hoch, the fastest keyboard in St Lucie, in a long notes column offers the following tidbits:
- Jorge Julio is finally in camp, and sees the Mets as an opportunity to revive his career.
- Daryl Strawberry will spend a week in camp, starting today.
- Carlos Beltran has added blond highlights to his hair. No word on what color nail polish he favors this year...
- Jeff Keppinger has tweaked his back, and came up to New York for an examination.
Mets.com: Cliff is all about winning
Marty Noble quotes Cliff Floyd on the possibility of him batting sixth in the line-up, and the example he wants to set for his teammates:
I want my boys to say, 'He's about us,' when they talk about me. That's the way it has to be if we're gonna win. It's not about where I want to hit; it's about which way the team will be better off.
Gotham Baseball: More Cliff Floyd
GB's Mark Healey has an interesting column on Cliff Floyd, pointing out that David Wright isn't the first young Met Cliff mentored.
Baseball America: Jim Callis on Mike Pelfrey
In Friday's Ask BA column, Jim Callis offered the following in response to a question on Mike Pelfrey's prospect ranking:
We ranked Pelfrey as the ninth-best pitching prospect in baseball, behind only Francisco Liriano, Chad Billingsley, Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Jon Lester, Bobby Jenks, Scott Olsen and Joel Zumaya. It basically came down to stuff. Pelfrey has a 92-97 mph fastball, but the eight pitchers ahead of him all have comparable heat and/or are lefthanded.
The biggest thing that separates those guys from Pelfrey right now is their breaking stuff. Pelfrey's curveball is pretty ordinary, while the others all have curves or sliders that range from above-average to just plain nasty. We didn't penalize Pelfrey for his inexperience, but the eight pitchers ahead of him also have proven themselves at Double-A or higher.