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What's Omar thinking with Rickey Henderson and Jose Lima?

Mike SteffanosFriday, February 17, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

I was talking with one of the few friends I have that's an actual Mets fan. I hadn't seen him for a while, so naturally our conversation turned to all things Mets. I figured we'd debate the Delgado and Lo Duca trades and the 4 year contract that Wagner received. I was somewhat surprised on the two things he was virtually obsessed with -- Rickey Henderson spending some time with the club as an instructor, and the minor-league contract signed by Jose Lima.

In my friend's eyes, Rickey Henderson is the quintessential "bad guy", going back to the events that caused led to him being run out of town early in the 2000 season. My friend doesn't feel that Henderson is going to be spending his time with the Mets this season because he truly wants to help the young players, but rather because he wants to keep himself in view so that someone will consider picking him up.

Sorry, but my response to both my friend and anyone else that feels this way is, "so what?" Of course Rickey Henderson is a self-centered egotist who still believes he can play. But that doesn't preclude him from the ability to share his knowledge with young players. He practically made Roger Cedeno in 1999, and I have a feeling that he could prove helpful to Reyes, Beltran, Lastings Milledge and other Mets players. I think it's a smart move by Omar bringing him in.

My friend doesn't believe that a couple of weeks with Ricky Henderson can turn Jose Reyes into an OBP machine, and he's right there. But Reyes has some respect for Henderson, and whatever Rickey imparts to him will contribute to the education of a ballplayer who is still just a baby. There will be a follow up at some point during the year, and that's a good idea, too. It will be more effective in the long run than just a one-shot in the spring. I think that works out to just enough Rickey to be helpful, but not too much Rickey where he could pass along less helpful things, like card playing. I just think some people like my friend are making too much of this.

As for Jose Lima, my friend feels that bringing him into camp is an embarrassment to the Mets. Lima was so bad last year, why would a legitimate playoff team bother throwing him into the mix?

I reminded my friend that, prior to last season, he questioned bringing Roberto Hernandez to camp. At 40, he looked washed up.

At 33, Lima is younger and only one season removed from a pretty good year with the Dodgers. Maybe he regains that form enough to contribute something to the Mets this season. Nothing "embarrassing" about giving a pitcher a shot who brings some past success to the table. Playoff teams often find one or two players under a rock -- guys who weren't expected to contribute and came up with a career type season. Jose Lima may not prove to be an answer for the Mets, but I certainly can't fault Omar for taking a shot with him.

Mets.com: The education of Jose Reyes
Bryan Hoch reports that Jose Reyes, confident that he is past the injuries that defined his first couple of seasons, understands he needs to get on base more often:

Last year, I didn't get on base too much and I [still] stole a lot of bases. When I get on base more, I'm going to be a lot more dangerous.

With the team we've got, I have to get on base a lot. We've got Carlos Delgado now, we've got Beltran and Paul Lo Duca. I have to get on base as much as possible.

Reyes is looking forward to working with Rickey Henderson later this spring.

I can't remember a team that has won a championship without a great bullpen. And it's not only about your closer. To me, the seventh and the eighth are the crucial innings. Look at the Yankees. When they won, they had guys who got the ball to Mariano (Rivera).

Minaya also stressed that the Benson deal brought back John Maine as well as Jorge Julio -- I guess this is supposed to indicate that the Mets scouting department haven't soured on Maine as much as most other experts seem to have.

Daily News: SNY on Cablevision
If you are a Cablevision subscriber wondering if you'll be watching SNY this season, Bob Raissman has a long article that will interest you.

New York Times: La Vida Lima
Ben Shpigel contributes a nice article on Jose Lima.

More Mets Stories:
Sports Spider Mets
Pro Sports Daily Mets

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