Posted by Mack Ade at 3:23 AM
MLB – NY Mets:
John Maine and the New York Mets are $800,000 apart in contract negotiations for the 2009 season. The 27-year-old Stafford County right-hander asked for $3 million yesterday, the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to submit requests. The Mets offered $2.2 million. Maine earned $450,00 last year, when he went 10-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 25 starts for the Mets. He spent two stints on the disabled list and did not pitch after Aug. 26 because of a bone spur in his right shoulder. He had the spur surgically removed Sept. 30 and is expected to be ready for spring training next month. Arbitration hearings will be scheduled between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21 if the two sides cannot reach agreement before then. The Mets have gone to arbitration only once since 1992--last year, when left-hander Oliver Perez was awarded nearly $7 million. The Mets agreed yesterday to deals with outfielders Ryan Church ($2.8 million) and Angel Pagan ($525,000).
Alex Cora will be the backup middle infielder, Duaner Sanchez slots into a bullpen role somewhere and Jeremy Reed will hopefully be taking the Endy Chavez role as the first defensive replacement in the outfield. These are all minor moves, but important to consider when you look at how the roster is taking shape. I continue to say that there is no room to add a free agent outfielder - even if our general manager wasn't running around with blinders on - unless Marlon Anderson is traded or released. Even if you get cute and consider Tatis the corner infield backup and Cora the middle infield backup, there's still only room for five outfielders on the roster. Daniel Murphy, Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church are the likely starters and I can't imagine Jeremy Reed was just given over $900,000 to start in center field for Buffalo. That still leaves Anderson, Angel Pagan and Nick Evans as outfielders on the 40-man roster fighting for the fifth spot. Evans is almost certainly ticketed for Buffalo and it wouldn't be surprising if Pagan was asked to join him, although I suppose it would be equally unsurprising if Pagan beat out Reed for the defensive backup job with a hot Spring Training. The Mets still can't add Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu or any other free agent outfielder unless they deal with the Anderson issue.
Scot Gregor of the Arlington Daily Herald expects free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia to make a decision sometime this week. The White Sox, Mets and Rangers appear to be the only serious suitors. Gregor provides some analysis on the White Sox' interest:
I was talking to a well-placed baseball person this week, and he made two points that made me reconsider the Mets’ winter. The first is that the team is effectively under new ownership. The second—and it goes to a point they’ve been kicking around over at Faith and Fear—is that there’s no real pride in ownership in Flushing. I haven’t seen the new offices, for instance, but I understand that rather than what you might expect—a World Series trophy, a Tom Seaver jersey, life-sized prints of an ebullient Jose Reyes—they’re decorated with blueprints of the Fed. Which is fine enough, but conveys a certain ill ease that the Wilpon family has always betrayed, a nostalgia for a dead team and a disdain for the live one.
Carlos Beltran thinks GM Omar Minaya's work is unfinished, that the Mets need to use the rest of winter to find another quality starter and perhaps even an outfielder. Manny Ramirez anyone? "You hear anything about Manny? Where he's going?" Beltran asks a reporter. Told Ramirez, who is represented by Beltran's agent Scott Boras, is still looking for an employer, Beltran smiles at the vision of having the free agent patrolling the outfield to Beltran's right at new Citi Field. -- NY Daily News
AAA – Buffalo:
The New York Mets today announced that they have signed LHP Casey Fossum, LHP Tom Martin and C Omir Santos to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training. New York also announced the signings of INF Argenis Reyes, INF Mark Kiger, C Salvador Paniagua, and RHP Julio De La Cruz to minor league deals.
Fossum, 31, was 3-1 with a 5.66ERA in 31 games in relief for the Detroit Tigers in 2008. In 234 career major league games, the southpaw is 40-53 with two saves and a 5.47ERA with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Rays and Tigers. Fossum pitched with Tampa Bay from 2005-2007 and won 19 games. He was originally a first round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1999.
Martin, 38, last pitched in the majors for the Colorado Rockies in 2007. In 2008, he appeared in five games for the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League. He injured his right oblique in May and did not pitch the remainder of the year. Martin has an 11-9 major league record with three saves and a 4.92ERA in 376 games, all out of the bullpen for the Astros, Indians, Rays, Dodgers, Braves, Rockies and Mets. In 2001, Martin was 1-0 in 14 games for the New York Mets.
Santos, 27, spent most of last season with the Norfolk Tides before making his major league debut with the Orioles (10 games). With the Tides, Santos hit .269 with one home run and 36RBI in 84 games. He has hit .258 with 32 home runs and 260RBI in 661 career minor league games.
Reyes, 26, batted .218 with 13 runs scored and three RBI in 49 games with the Mets last season. Hit also hit .283 with 11 doubles and 22RBI with New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League. Reyes spent his first seven professional seasons in the Cleveland Indians system.
Kiger, 28, hit .223 with three home runs and 40RBI in 109 games for the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx (Mariners system) in 2009. Originally a fifth round draft pick of Oakland in 2002, he hit .312 with 10 home runs and 50RBI with the Mets’ Double-A Binghamton club in 2007.
Salvador, 25, played 45 games with Double-A Binghamton last season and hit .248 with 7 home runs and 19RBI. He holds a career .242 average in 418 minor league games.
De La Cruz, 28, spent last season at the Rich Baseball Operations owned Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals of the Texas League. With the Naturals, he was 0-1 with a 4.23ERA in 14 relief appearances. For his career, De La Cruz has struck out 316 and allowed just 358 hits in 401.2 innings pitched.
Low A – Clones:
I feel bad for not talking about something related to this team this week, but I felt the need to address the recent promotion the Cyclones announced a few days ago. In June, the team will have a promotion in which they will wear jerseys sporting a combination of Brooklyn and the first name of our current President-elect for one night. While some people think it’s a great idea and are huge supporters of this promotion, I have a serious problem with it for one simple reason. You don’t mix politics with sports.
Top 10 NL 3Bman
1. David Wright-he's a 5-category producer, and perennial 1st round pick in snake drafts. Bill James Projection: 33-120-113-17-.311-.402-.552
2. Aramis Ramirez-am I the only one who thought he lost alot of weight last year? Due to Mitchell report? Bill James Projection: 31-111-88-.291-.364-.524
3. Chipper Jones-when healthy, he provides very good numbers across the board-minus the SBs. The question remains-when does his body shut down and bury fantasy owners? Bill James Projection: 23-82-82-4-.315-.420-.532
4. Troy Glaus-Glaus is another guy, who, when healthy, provides solid numbers across the board, with a decent avg. Bill James Projection: 31-97-83-.260-.367-.490
5. Mark Reynolds-his avg will kill you, but has tremendous power, and could reach double digits in SBs again in 2009. Could break the top 3 in 2009 if he hits close to what James projects. Bill James Projection: 32-105-101-10-.269-.350-.515
6. Ryan Zimmerman-went with Zimm here, as Atkins declining power scares me, especially without Holliday. Zimmerman is younger, and will be hitting is a slightly better lineup in 2009. Bill James Projection: 22-87-84-3-.290-.351-.484
7. Garret Atkins-I was going to put Jorge Cantu here, but went with Atkins. He isn't as bad as 2008 says he was, is he? Bill James Projection: 22-105-90-.297-.359-.473
8. Edwin Encarnacion-this guys hits a ton of flyballs. If he can increase his HR/FB
%, he could go 30-90 one year.Bill James Projection: 25-85-83-.278-.356-.490
9. Kevin Kouzmanoff-James likes this guy, but he plays in SD. He's coming off shoulder surgery, so keep an eye on him in spring training. Bill James Projection: 25-94-76-.283-.332-.479
10. Jorge Cantu-was 2008 a fluke year for Cantu, or a sign of things to come? Bill James Projection:24-92-76-.268-.315-.467
Mets that are playing in the World Baseball Classic (WBC):
Australia - IF Stefan Welch
Canada - 3B Shawn Bowman
Dominican Republic - SS Jose Reyes
Panama - LHP Angel Antonio Cuan - IF Ruben Tejada
Puerto Rico - IF Alex Cora - LHP Pedro Feliciano - 1B Carlos Delgado - OF Carlos Beltran
OF Jesus Feliciano - RHP Nelson Figueroa
United States - RHP J.J. Putz - C Brian Schneider - 3B David Wright
Venezuela - RHP Francisco Rodriguez - LHP Johan Santana
The Baltimore Orioles signed 1B Craig Brazell.
The Houston Astros signed OF Jason Tyner.
The Milwaukee Brewers signed P Matt Ginter