By Mike Steffanos
Sorry that the promised daily posts aren't happening yet, but there's only so many ways to say that nothing much is happening. The Mets appear to be content to wait out the market for a starting pitcher right up to training camp.
There's a lot of speculation now that the Mets have signed OF Corey Sullivan about some sort of deal going down. The Mets now have three guys on major league contracts who are versions of the same player: Angel Pagan, Jeremy Reed and Sullivan -- solid defensively but not likely to make huge contributions with the bat.
Reed and Sullivan are both left-handed batters. Pagan is a switch hitter, but much stronger lifetime from the left side. None of the three have much power, only Pagan has a lifetime SLG over .400. Pagan and Sullivan are both very good fielders, while reports on Reed rate him at least solid.
I can't see more than one of these guys on the 25-man roster this summer, it just wouldn't make sense. Perhaps the other two will wind up in Buffalo, although that would seem to be a pricey Triple-A OF with two major league contracts.
I've seen some speculation regarding Ryan Church, but I wouldn't think any of these players are a replacement in RF. Even if he doesn't bounce back all the way from the concussion he's still a more proven offensive player than any OF on the roster who isn't named Carlos Beltran.
In other news, the Mets re-signed Duaner Sanchez to a one-year deal for just under $1.7 million. Sanchez showed some signs of bouncing back last season, particularly in the first half, but never fully recovered his fastball and seemed to fade at the end. Still, after missing a full season, it wasn't too bad of a year, and at 29, Sanchez is hardly over the hill.
In a perfect world, the Mets would have let Sanchez build up strength in the minors until after Memorial Day and then eased him back into the major league bullpen. Unfortunately, the world isn't perfect and the Mets were struggling to put a bullpen together all season. Sanchez made 20 appearances before Memorial Day and just seemed to weaken as the summer wore on.
Newsday's Anthony Rieber gets an official Mike's Mets Douchebag Award, the first of 2009, for this little item:
... How in the world could [the Mets] give Duaner Sanchez a 77 percent raise? I know, it's the arbitration system, but seriously . . . isn't it time to cut bait with him, too, like they did with Heilman and Schoeneweis? They've gotten some of the stink out of that bullpen, but not all of it. Remember, when Billy Wagner went down last season, Sanchez ran under a desk and hid rather than assume the closer role.
By the time Wagner went down in early August Sanchez was sucking wind. He did pitch in 11 games that month, but his ERA was 7.94 and no one was asking him to be closer at that point, so there was no need to "run under a desk." Last year was bad enough without guys like Rieber making it uglier.
For the record, I'm all for giving Duaner another chance to get back close to what he was in 2006. With a full season under his belt and a chance to come to spring training at full strength, there is no reason to think that Sanchez couldn't be in for a nice rebound.
I think he could be a key for the season, solidifying the seventh inning for a bullpen that will hopefully provide much less of the wrong sort of drama in 2009. If he can't get his velocity back and continues to struggle, the Mets can then "cut bait" with Sanchez. Given the value of solid setup men, $1.7 million doesn't seem all that big of a gamble.