By Mike Steffanos
The AP reports that reliever Guillermo Mota will serve a 50-game suspension at the beginning of next season for violating MLB's drug policy, most likely for steroids.
Mota is not denying the positive test and takes full responsibility for his actions:
I have no one to blame but myself. I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable.
This obviously would affect any plan the Mets might have had that would have involved re-signing Mota and trading Aaron Heilman this winter.
ESPN INsider ($): Dontrelle
On his ESPN Insider blog yesterday, Buster Olney writes about 10 things that should happen this offseason. Number one on the list is "The Marlins should trade Dontrelle Willis this winter". His reasoning is as follows:
... if Florida keeps Willis, whose salary could be in the area of $8 million next season after he goes through arbitration, and he has a season similar to what he posted last year -- a decent-but-not-great 12-12, 3.87 ERA -- his trade value will drop, as his salary rises, as he gets closer to free agency.
There are questions about how long Willis can maintain his complicated delivery, and whether he'll stay healthy. And Florida has enough depth in its rotation (Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco) to trade Willis now and still be competitive next year.
His value will never be higher than it is right now, and the Marlins should take advantage of that.
Farther down at number 10, Olney states that the Mets should plan for an entire 2007 season without Pedro. Among other options, Olney states that the Mets should offer "Lastings Milledge and others to the Marlins for Dontrelle Willis." While I agree with Olney that there is no guarantee Pedro will return next season, is it just me, or do the very reasons that Olney gives for the Marlins needing to trade Willis make anyone else just a little leery?
Follow me here for a minute. I'm not saying that Omar Minaya shouldn't pursue a sensible deal for Dontrelle Willis. There seems to be a sentiment that the Mets should offer "whatever it takes" to pry Willis away from Florida, and that's what I have a problem with. The concerns that Olney mentions are very real. This kid has had one great year as an ace caliber starter, and 3 other ones -- including last year -- as more of a solid second or third starter. Here are the numbers on Willis so far:
The deal has to make sense based on Willis' body of work, and the injury concerns have to be taken into account here, too. The Mets only have so many chips in their system. To give up too much for Willis will both hamper the Mets down the road and also strengthen a young, gifted team that could potentially be a force in this division for years to come.
Daily News: Glavine
Adam Rubin reports that Tom Glavine and the Mets are "deep in discussions about a two-year, $25 million contract that should be completed shortly."
FOXSports.com: Perry on the expanded playoffs
Dayn Perry has a very interesting article looking at the pros and cons of the current MLB playoff system.
Can't Stop The Bleeding: Cubs Want Heilman
CSTB cites Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that the Cubs are pursuing a trade for the Mets young right-hander. Interesting that Sullivan can't come up with any players who the Mets might want from the Cubs, other than mentioning that 2 years ago Heilman was rumored to be part of a Sammy Sosa deal that fell apart. Usually valid trade rumors will have some take on who both parties are pursuing.