By Mike Steffanos
Just a few random thoughts on some Mets-related items to share today:
The discussion on whether the Mets should consider signing Bonds begins with both bloggers and media types weighing in. For me, it's not really a moral question. I've always seen Bonds as a convenient scapegoat for a much bigger problem. Andy Petit and Jason Giambi -- neither of whom has been completely forthcoming about their use of PEDs -- seem to get a pass from the local media simply because they are likable men. So, while I'm sure these same guys would jump all over the Mets for signing Bonds, that doesn't factor in for me.
Bonds really isn't the clubhouse cancer he's been portrayed as, particularly in a Mets clubhouse that is already a zoo as far as media coverage. I doubt the players would mind having him there, and some would probably appreciate a dimming of the spotlight on them.
Financially, though, I can't see it. Bonds still wants to be paid superstar money, and the Mets payroll is already quite high. I'd rather they kept some flexibility. If El Duque doesn't look he can compete with the new delivery, and who knows at this point, I'd like to see them sign Lohse to a 1-year deal if he is still available. I'm not sure the money is there for that if they sign Barry. The Mets are already likely to have millions in salary sitting on the Disabled List for a period of time, and Bonds hasn't exactly been durable over the last few seasons. I understand the attraction, because it's unlikely that the Mets are going to have a replacement that's a legit middle of the order bat, but I can't see this making sense -- even discounting the moral issue of a Bonds signing.
I thought Ed Coleman was right on the money today in his blog at WFAN.com:
It's time for the Mets to step back and re-evaluate the status of Duaner Sanchez. They're taking their time with El Duque down here, and there really is no rush for a # 5 starter they probably don't need until April 12 anyway. There are also countless position players at the moment who will be on the final roster who are taking their sweet time getting back into action. So what's the rush with Sanchez.
He's a key ingredient to what they hope to accomplish this season, and to rush him in the hope of having him available for the start of the season would be a mistake. It's much more important to proceed slowly and have him ready for June or even at the All-Star break. Remember - this is a guy who last pitched in a real major league game at the All-Star break in 2006 - that's 20 months ago.
When you talk to Sanchez, he insists he's ready to go. But you would expect that. He's been cooped up in Port St. Lucie all winter working out and rehabbing. He's a competitor and wants to contribute, and feels he owes the team something because he was short-circuited in 2006. Some things are telling - here's an example. When Pedro Martinez long-tosses, he always throws against the wind. Why? He wants to test himself utilizing maximum resistance so he can really get a feel for exactly where his arm strength is. If you watch Sanchez long-toss, Duaner always chooses to throw with the wind. Why? Pretty simple - Sanchez is trying to convince himself that his arm strength is greater than it actually is. Sanchez is not that far away - but what's the hurry? The Mets have countless arms down here that can carry the load - Nelson Figueroa, Joe Smith, Brian Stokes, Steven Register, Carlos Muniz, Ruddy Lugo - just to name six. I'm not suggesting that they pitch the 8th inning, but the rest of the bullpen can pick up the slack until the time is right. When Sanchez is ready, he can maybe slot into a 6th or 7th inning role until he's ready to become the 8th inning force that they need him to be. It makes sense - so just do it.
I agree completely. As I watch the situation unfold, I worry more about Sanchez hurting himself to try to comeback too quickly. The Mets have had a lot of negative coverage about injuries this spring, and I'm sure they would love for Sanchez to be a positive story. Still, I just can't see him coming back and giving them a solid 60-70 appearances after missing a year-and-a-half. I agree with Coleman that a gradual in-season return is the sensible approach. I'd rather have Sanchez in September and October than April.
Coleman takes some weird criticism from a portion of the fan base at times -- the whole "Eddie C-No Evil" crap, but he's a real baseball guy who doesn't just shoot off his mouth to get attention. That makes him a rare bird on WFAN, and I really appreciate his professionalism and solid reporting.
Speaking of solid, if you have been listening to Kevin Burkhardt sub for Gary Cohen on some spring telecasts he's been doing a very strong job. He's already better than some of the play-by-play guys you hear on FOX and ESPN, particularly on the "B" games. I'd be surprised if SNY can keep him unless they find more opportunities for Mr. Burkhardt. Just a thought.
Options for those shut out by their cable companies
I still hear from people all the time who live in parts of Connecticut where the local cable system refuses to carry SNY and Mets games. I received the following e-mail today from Dave, a reader who was in that boat:
... I'm finally getting SNY for the first time this year due to AT&T U-verse coming to my town. Cox Cable is the only Cable supplier in my area and they still don't offer SNY to their customers. DirectTV or Dish were not an option to me due to the trees in my yard.
Just thought you might want to pass along to your readers that they should check to see if U-verse is an option for them.
Lisa's Mom has U-verse service, which comes in on local phone lines. You can check on availability in your area on the website, if you live in an ATT area in CT. I believe Verizon is doing the same thing in New York.
I have a funny feeling that Cable companies will feel the need to be more responsive to the needs of their customers now that there is finally starting to be real competition.