From Mike Puma/NYP: - There's probably a better chance of Cleon Jones playing for the MetsNew York Mets next season than Andruw Jones. Although an ESPN report last night indicated the Mets and Dodgers were in trade discussions that could potentially make Jones the Mets' new right fielder, a person familiar with the situation said it won't happen. Jones' name was mentioned to Mets GM Omar Minaya several weeks ago, but the discussions never intensified. Jones, the biggest bust in baseball not named Barry Zito, is due $15 million in 2009 after batting .158 with three homers and 14 RBIs last season.
From Kat O’Brien/Newsday: - The Mets continue to try to sign one more starting pitcher, but general manager Omar Minaya said nothing is imminent. "We're talking, we're having discussions, but nothing's going to happen in the next day or two," Minaya said by phone Wednesday afternoon. Several reports online had the Mets close to agreement on a four-year deal with righthander Derek Lowe. Minaya said Lowe is just one of several pitchers the Mets are in negotiations with, along with Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. The Mets stand a strong chance of eventually signing one of those three starters. Minaya said it wouldn't happen in the immediate future, though, urging: "Go enjoy the holiday
From Matt Cerrone: Marty Noble of MLB.com believes the Mets will make offers this week to at least two starting pitchers, if not three, from a group consisting of Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. According to Noble, ‘the Mets still view Wolf as a fall back alternate to the other two,’ with Lowe still the team’s top priority. Noble also reports on the team’s plan for the bullpen, which does not include Joe Beimel, and may not include an additional left-handed reliever, according to Omar Minaya
MLB.com's Marty Noble reports that the Andruw Jones-to-the-Mets talks took place at the winter meetings and that there were never any serious discussions. A person familiar with the discussions said Monday "nothing is on-going, and nothing [no trade] is going to happen." That's just what we figured. Just ESPN trying to turn something of very little note into a headline for the website. Source: MLB.com
C Ramon Castro hit his first home run in 18 games in the Venezuelan Winter League, going 3-4 and helping to earn a split of a doubleheader for his Aragua team, against La Guaira.
MLB.com's Marty Noble on the Mets: They intend to make offers early this week to at least two and probably three free-agent pitchers -- Derek Lowe, Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf -- in hopes of signing one of them. Noble says the Mets continue to rank the three in that order - Lowe, Perez, Wolf. The Mets haven't shown any indication of wanting to sign more than one. Lowe and Perez should be ready to sign soon now that Scott Boras isn't occupied with Mark Teixeira. Noble adds that the Mets aren't terribly concerned about having only one left-handed reliever on the roster (Pedro Feliciano). They'll look for bargains rather than pursue a Joe Beimel type. Mets GM Omar Minaya does want to acquire a utility infielder, with Alex Cora atop the list.From the Boston Globe: Agent Scott Boras seemed to think Derek Lowe would be the next free agent pitcher to sign. The Mets appear to be the front-runners, but the interest is not necessarily limited to them. The Phillies also appear to be interested in coaxing Lowe to the East, and don't eliminate the Red Sox, who now have more money to devote to pitching with Teixeira out of the picture. According to the Denver Post, the Mets, Orioles and Rockies are the most aggressive pursuers of Tim Redding at the moment. The Rangers have also been mentioned in connection with Redding. The Mets can and should do better. If the Rockies can't sign Redding, they may again look to pick up Jason Marquis from the Cubs, though the Cubs would have to eat most of his salary in a deal.
AAA – Buffalo:
OF Raul Gonzales went 2-5, 1 RBI in the 9-1 Ponce win, against Santurce, in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Gonzales is now batting .393 in the league.
SP Nelson Figueroa gave up 5 runs in 2.0 IP last night for Aguilas of the DWL and his winter ball ERA is now 22.50.AA –
SPs Michael Antonini and Dillon Gee combined for four hitless innings in the 9-1 Ponce win against Santurce, in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Antonini’s ERA is now 3.45, while Gee’s is 2.22.Rookie –
K-Port: According to Tricitiessports.com, Kingsport Mets general manager Roman Stout was awarded the 2008 Sterling Minor League Executive of the Year Award at the Baseball Winter Meetings earlier this month in Las Vegas. Stout has had great success in Kingsport, raising attendance steadily during his time as GM of the Mets Class-A Rookie affiliate. The K-Mets finished 34-32 in 2008, their third consecutive winning season, anchored by notable prospects SS Wilmer Flores and RHP Eric Beaulac. They have been a Met affiliate since 1980. “The award is in recognition of the total commitment to establishing an outstanding Minor League operation and for the tireless effort and dedication to providing a superior environment in which to develop players for the New York Mets organization.”
Cuban right-hander Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have defected and are in an unknown location before attempting to reach the Dominican Republic to seek an MLB career, sources told ESPNdeportes.com. It seemed like only a matter of time. Both were kicked off their team, Industriales de la Habana, earlier this year, likely for plotting to leave the country. Marti was Cuba's best pitcher during the 2006 WBC, but he wasn't given the chance to participate in the Olympics this year. The 29-year-old may not be cleared to play in 2009, but he'll likely get a significant major league deal once he becomes a free agent. Gomez, 28, isn't likely to be pursued as heavily.
Of Karim Garcia had 3 hits, including a home run, in the 8-5 Hermosilla win against Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.
Royals Minor Leaguer Mario Lisson belted a three-run homer and tripled to spark a five-run sixth inning for the first-place Leones. Franklin Gutierrez (Mariners) and Gregorio Petit (A's) each added a pair of RBIs for Caracas, which scored eight runs in four innings off Magallanes starter Victor Zambrano, who walked six and yielded four hits.
General Baseball News:
The New York Journal News reports that Bernie Williams "suffered a serious quadriceps injury" after joining a Puerto Rican winter ball team. Williams joined the team with eye on playing for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but the injury could derail the 40-year-old's comeback attempt.
Giants prospect Jesus Guzman lined a two-run single in the eighth to set a new Venezuelan Winter League single-season record with 67 RBIs for the Leones in their road loss. Guzman tied Pete Koegel's 1973-74 mark on Saturday with his 65th RBI against Maragarita.
Some of the key players that will be available via free agency, after the 2009 season, are: Jason Bay (31), Carl Crawford (28) - $10MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout, Matt Holliday (30), Rick Ankiel (30), Jermaine Dye (36) - $12MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout, Vladimir Guerrero (34), Magglio Ordonez (36) - $15MM club/vesting option with a $3MM buyout, Randy Winn (36), Aubrey Huff (33)
Still no phone call from the VA. Am attempting to reach them this morning with a fax, which is the only way I'm allowed to communicate with them. Very bad headaches this morning.