By Mike Steffanos
I've had a few people ask me about profiling some of the other pitching hopefuls such as Clint Nageotte and Jason Standridge. I've been thinking about taking a similar look at all of the bullpen candidates next week. These profiles will be similar to what I did for the starting pitchers, maybe just not quite as long. I've enjoyed writing them, as it gave me a chance to get to become familiar with some of the players who might have a lot to say about where the Mets finish in 2007.
I'm working on a wrap-up of the starting rotation that I'll post tomorrow or Saturday. Look for the bullpen previews to start Monday. Just a couple of quick items:
Scott Schoeneweis Signing
Now that the Mets have apparently given Schoeneweis a 3-year deal, it brings up the obvious question of why Chad Bradford was allowed to sign with Baltimore because the Mets didn't want to give a setup man a 3-year contract. Granted, Schoeneweis is a lefty, which is harder to find, but Bradford had proven that he could pitch well in New York, and was exceptionally valuable in stranding inherited runners on base.
I understand that the Mets feel they have potential in-house candidates to replace Bradford. Side-winding righty Joe Smith is on the fast track to the majors, and fellow submariner Steve Schmoll, despite his middling success at the Triple-A level, is another possible candidate for the job. That would be the logic, I guess, particularly since they seem to be really high on Smith, who will almost undoubtedly crack the major leagues this year or next -- long before a 3-year deal for Bradford would have run its course. Still, it's somewhat of a head-scratcher.
I could understand John Thomson's weird rambling shot at the Mets in his conference call upon signing with the Blue Jays. Thomson is a redneck who was overwhelmed in his short stay in New York, and wasn't honest enough to admit that he lacked the guts to return here. His odd confusion in his "reasoning" is most likely attributable to repeated inbreeding among his ancestors. All kidding aside, good riddance.
What actually did surprise me was this little item in Ken Rosenthal's latest on FoxSports.com (scroll down near the bottom):
Blue Jays right-hander John Thomson is not alone in his criticism of Mets catcher Paul LoDuca. Many rival players believe LoDuca is overrated defensively, and some Mets officials are still miffed that LoDuca allowed right-hander Guillermo Mota to abandon his changeup in a pivotal at-bat against the Cardinals' Scott Spiezio in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Mota got ahead 0-2 on changeups, but Spiezio hit a two-out, two-run double off a fastball to tie the score. ...
Let's start with a disclaimer. I read Rosenthal every day, and couldn't imagine surviving a long, baseball-less winter without his columns. He's one of the very best baseball writers in the business. End disclaimer.
The problem with Rosenthal is that you can't take anything he writes about the Mets very seriously. Although he allegedly grew up as a Mets fan, he seems to have gotten over that. Moreover, I wonder if he harbors some ill feelings towards Mets management, because he spends a lot of time sniping at the team. To take John Thomson's idiotic babble at face-value without any comment on the inconsistencies, and then use it as a starting point to take more shots at Lo Duca, is typical of Rosenthal when he is writing about the Mets.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not mad at Rosenthal because he unloaded on Lo Duca. The idea of Lo Duca being overrated defensively is somewhat ridiculous, because Lo Duca's reputation is as a pretty bad defensive catcher who doesn't throw out runners. And I'd like to know which Mets officials are "miffed" at Lo Duca because Mota shook him off and threw a fastball. The pitcher always has the final say on a pitch, particularly a veteran like Mota, because they have to throw the pitch. That's how it works, and Rosenthal knows that. Many of his shots at the Mets come across as gratuitous and silly as this one. I'll continue to read Rosenthal every day, but whenever he writes about the Mets I take it with a grain of salt. As a baseball writer he has my ultimate respect, but with the Mets I give him the same credence as I give to jilted lovers talking about their exes.