By Mike Steffanos
There have been lots of comments and e-mails to what I wrote on Saturday and Sunday taking exception to Buster Olney's speculation on ESPN InSider blog that the Mets would somehow represent a fallback position for the Red Sox should they fail to come to terms with Daisuke Matsuzaka. What I took exception to was a truly ludicrous scenario that was attributed to the private speculation of "some baseball executives." As I mention, I'm just tired of this kind of thing, perhaps because it hits so close to home in that Mets fans have endured more than a decade of crazy deals and ill-conceived signings.
I have nothing personal against Buster Olney, who I am sure has no idea who I am or any concern at all with my opinion of him. If I have any problem with Olney it's that he seems to think the entire baseball world revolves around the Yankees and Red Sox, but I enjoy reading his blog every day for the most part. As a blogger, however, when someone writes something that I find really flimsy I'm going to call him or her on it. That's a good part of the reason why bloggers blog, after all. I can't speak for anyone else, but although I get extremely annoyed with some in the media at times, it's not personal.
I think that anyone, particularly someone who is as widely read as Olney, who prints one of these weakly attributed rumors should present a scenario that makes sense for both sides. The Mets indeed are looking for a power pitcher, but that doesn't mean they should give up a ton of money and prospects for a pitcher who has absolutely no track record in America simply because it would benefit the Red Sox. As I stated in one of my previous posts, the rumor sounded more like one of those crazy one-sided deals people always call into WFAN to propose. "Lou from Brooklyn" could be forgiven for that kind of indulgence, but a national baseball writer should offer some logic in his proposed deals.
Ground Broken at Citi Field
Mets.com's Bryan Hoch reports on the groundbreaking ceremony at the newly-named CitiField:
The groundbreaking took place just beyond the left field bleachers of Shea Stadium, with an assortment of local politicians -- including New York State Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- joining Mets chairman Fred Wilpon, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and president Saul Katz in kicking off the countdown to 2009.
Mets manager Willie Randolph and three players -- shortstop Jose Reyes, third baseman David Wright and pitcher John Maine -- were also in attendance for the ceremony.
The event was shown live on SportsNet New York and I'm sure we'll see extensive highlights on all SNY news programs. For more on Citi Field see this section on Mets.com.
Mets.com: The return of Jose Valentin
Hoch also reports that Jose Valentin has signed a 1-year, $3-4 million deal to return as the Mets starting second baseman in 2007. Although I have to admit to being surprised by the news, Valentin was part of a nice chemistry with last year's team. Provided the Mets can find a right-handed hitting 2B to platoon with Valentin -- and provide the offense Chris Woodward was unable to last season -- I have no problem with this move. The money it would have taken to sign Julio Lugo (or Soriano) can now be used elsewhere, such as re-signing some of the key bullpen guys and trying to land some starting pitching.