The more I ponder the situation, the more I look at John Lackey. To begin, he would cost the Mets nothing in terms of players. Heck the Mets don’t even have to give up a first round pick to sign him. Plus, from a contractual standpoint, most are speculating a deal that could top what A.J. Burnett got last season, but not by much. We’re talking 5 years at $18 million per, tops. I didn’t even get into who the Mets would have to give up to get Halladay, but you could expect Mike Pelfrey, Ike Davis, Josh Thole and Jenrry Mejia to all be bandied about and ultimately packaged. That caviar sounds a little bit too rich for my taste. After careful consideration, it’s now my belief that signing John Lackey (and making sure that the Mets win any bidding war) would be the best way for the Mets to go.
I know the bad stuff about Bobby Valentine. I was around him plenty when he managed the Mets. I saw the ego. I saw how he could play poorly with others in the organization when he thinks a job is not being done well. He is never going to take a slight and turn the other cheek.
He is a Type-A personality. But he also is a Grade-A manager. He can do what too few managers truly can, evaluate talent.
He often is credited for getting the 2000 Mets to the World Series with an outfield of Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and Timo Perez. But I say go look at his 1997 Mets roster and tell me how it won 88 times. One key was that he ignored others’ opinions on Carl Everett and Rick Reed, and understood their talent could help the Mets win.
Also, while some see Valentine’s lightning-rod personality as a detriment, I don’t. And not just because I am a newspaperman who wants the stories or because I personally like Bobby V. There are just too many uptight people in the game now. Too many clerks running teams who treat the identity of their third-string catcher as classified information. When Valentine is around, your team is interesting, fans are engrossed. The Mets were a story in town with Valentine even when the Yankees were a dynasty.
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According to multiple reports, the Tigers are looking to cut payroll this off season and could possibly trade OF Curtis Granderson, who will earn $26 million over the next three seasons.The Mets appear to be interested in Granderson, according to reports, along with the Cubs, Angels, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles. There is an interesting rumor floating around that the Mets could deal OF Fernando Martinez for Granderson. Also, SS Ruben Tejada could also be in the deal as well with Martinez, as the Tigers want a future middle infielder, since Placido Polanco is a free agent. Brad Holt's name could be thrown in as well into the conversations.
Ron Klimkowski, a former pitcher for the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics, has died at the age of 65. Klimkowski died Friday of heart failure at Plainview Hospital, said his brother, Gary Klimkowski, 53, of Westbury. Longtime friend Tom Reilly Jr., 53, of Huntington, called him "a charming and very gregarious individual. If you met Ron, you'd never forget him. He had a pretty overwhelming personality." As an avid Yankee fan, his brother called it a "boyhood dream" for Klimkowski to be able to play for the team. Reilly said Klimkowski cheered as his former team won the World Series this year. "It was kind of a blessing that he got to see one more before he passed on." In 1967, he was traded to the New York Yankees. He pitched for the AAA farm club, the Syracuse Chiefs, in 1969, where he was named MVP with a record of 15-7, his family said. Klimkowski's first big league game for the Yankees was Sept. 15, 1969, in relief against the Detroit Tigers. His first major league start was against the Boston Red Sox.
But even then, the Steinbrenner family’s offer - a one-year, $5 million contract, with incentive clauses guaranteeing him an additional $3 million if he got the Yankees to the World Series, still kept him as the highest-paid manager in baseball. Yet it was infamously deemed “an insult” by Torre, as he quit the team in a huff.
Here’s how the Torres described what happened. Ali Torre told her husband and Simers, “The parallel was very similar to what you had with your father. Some of the people in the Yankee organization were bulying you and not treating you with respect all along. You kept trying to survive until you got worn down.”
Yet, by Torre’s own prior admission, he would have stayed on as Yankee manager if the team had only given him a two-year contract. Some abusive situation that was.
Maybe they should have just batted him eighth.
Former New York Mets star Wally Backman has been named the newest manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, tabbed to lead the club in its tenth season of play.
Backman was a standout second baseman for the Mets in the 1980s - a gritty, hard-nosed table-setter at the top of the lineup for a team that won divisional titles in 1986 and 1988, and an iconic World Series championship in 1986.
Backman played in the major leagues for 14 seasons, including nine with the Mets (1980-1988), and five with the Minnesota Twins (1989), Pittsburgh Pirates (1990), Philadelphia Phillies (1991, 1992), and Seattle Mariners (1993). He finished his career with a .980 fielding percentage, and is one of only 66 MLB players ever to notch six hits in a single game (4/27/90). Backman's 106 stolen bases with the Mets ranks eighth on the franchise's all-time list and his .283 career batting average for New York ranks ninth. Backman hit .333 in six games against the Boston Red Sox in the Mets' 1986 World Series win.
"I am thrilled and grateful to be coming back to the Mets' organization," said Backman. "The greatest days of my professional career were spent here in New York, and I have always felt a special connection to the city. I am especially excited to be joining the Cyclones. Brooklyn is a major minor-league team, and I know the borough's fans are - like me - intensely passionate about baseball and about winning."