2/11/10

Endy Chavez, Gary Sheffield, Mike Jacobs, Kirk Nieuwenhuis... and Citi Field Junk Bonds

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Endy Chavez:


In related news, the Mets are considering bringing back fan favorite Endy Chavez — according to John Paul Morosi. Chavez is reportedly doing very well in his rehab from major knee surgery last year, and could be back on the field as early(?) as April or May. Of course, that’s what the agent of every player returning from surgery says.  From Morosi’s report:  At this point, Chavez and his agents must decide on one of two courses of action: Chavez could sign with a club soon and rehabilitate with the team’s medical staff throughout spring training, or continue his workouts individually and stage a showcase in late March. -  link

Gary Sheffield:

Gary Sheffield says his 41-year-old body is ready for the rigors of a 22nd major-league season. Now it’s just a matter of deciding if he wants to do it. “There are things on the table that I have to accept or not accept," the former Mets and Yankees slugger told The Post on Wednesday. “Right now I have not made up my mind." According to Sheffield, the Mets, who could use lineup muscle, haven’t contacted him. Sheffield batted .276 (74 for 268) with 10 homers and 43 RBIs in 100 games (64 in the outfield) a year ago for the Mets. He was second to Daniel Murphy (12) in homers - link

Mike Jacobs:

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, first baseman Mike Jacobs will make a $900,000 base salary if he makes the Mets' roster. The contract includes $1.15 million in performance incentives which could push the total to $2.05 million. Jacobs, 29, batted just .228/.297/.401 with 132 strikeouts in 434 at-bats for the Royals last season, but packs more punch than Daniel Murphy. Unfortunately he can't field and struggles against lefties, so he can't work in a strict platoon with Murphy. Still, with the first base position largely unsettled, he stands a decent chance to make some noise with the team. - link

Kirk Nieuwenhuis:

CF (2009 – Power 76; First Base Rate 45; Discipline 41; Speed 73) - While Nieuwenhuis still has his detractors, and doesn’t have a tremendously high-ceiling, he did make some believers with his 2009 performance, earning the #14 Performance score in the FSL. Showing the potential for plus power and above average speed, Niewenhuis played a solid CF for St. Lucie, and likely profiles as an above average defender in RF. His negatives include merely adequate contact skills, and below average strike zone management skills. There is enough here to believe that he could potentially become an average Big League outfielder, though the likelihood is that he is best suited as 4th OF type with value, capable of plus defense at all three positions. Nieuwenhuis will open 2010 in AA, with a likely shot at a roster spot in New York in 2011. -  link

Citi Field Junk Bonds:

Citi Field’s bonds have been lowered to junk status by Standard & Poors and Moody’s Investors Service because the company that insures the reserve fund for many of them is having financial troubles. The bonds’ underlying rating was dropped from Baa3, an investment grade, to Ba1, a speculative grade, by Moody’s last Thursday. Standard and Poors cut the bonds from BBB to BB+ on Tuesday while still giving them a “stable outlook.” The Mets sold $613.1 million of three types of bonds in 2006 and an additional $82.28 million of bonds last year. Ambac Assurance Corp., the company having financial difficulty, insured $547.6 million of the 2006 PILOT bonds (payment in lieu of taxes). “We lowered all the bonds ratings because the 2006 PILOT bonds do not have a reserve fund with adequate liquidity to support any disruption in project cash flow,” Standard & Poors said. “Because Ambac is currently rated speculative grade, the creditworthiness of the debt service reserve fund supported by the surety policy is below the creditworthiness of the bonds.”

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