Billy Wagner was introduced to the media for the first time as a New York Met today. Here is an interesting article from the New York Times, which covers the timetable of the Wagner courtship, and also mentions how a Mets staffer from Virgina was able to play a role in the acquisition of Wagner. You know, at first I think Wagner and his buddy Bean Stringfellow (the name will never die in this blog – every time I mention Wagner, I will mention the Beaner as well) were just using the Mets to drive up the Phillies’ offer. But when the Mets did so much to make Billy feel at home during his trip, what with tickets to the opera for his wife, trips to the suburbs, bringing in a Virginia staffer to help ease any reservations he may have had, I think all of these things made the Mets look like a first-class organization that goes the extra mile for players, and when the Mets offered Wagner financial security for the rest of his life, I think he had to take the offer. Whether I like the Wagner deal or not (and I think short term, it will be great, but it could suffer long-term), I have to give Omar Minaya credit for being a very good general manager for the way he handled the Wagner courtship. He does go the extra mile to land players he wants to get, which is why I think it will be clear shortly who he wants between Benjie Molina and Ramon Hernandez. By the way, my favorite part of the article linked above is the story about Tom Glavine and his wife entering into the picture, showing Wagner and his wife around and trying to make them feel at home in New York. It’s almost like the Glavines were college tour guides showing a prospective 17 year old student around campus. Maybe a few years down the line, the Wagners can take over that role from the Glavines. Maybe Bean can get involved as well.
So is Manny Ramirez next? Bob Klapisch from the Bergen Record says…maybe. First of all, ol’ Bob may want to go with a better nickname than “The Klap.” His nickname conjures images of sores on one’s genitals. That isn’t exactly the image people want to receive from their sports writers, though sometimes I wonder if instead of “Mad Dog,” Chris Russo’s nickname should be “Gonorrhea of the Soul.” Anyway, back to Klap’s article. He’s reporting that there is a trade on the table right now that would involve Cliff Floyd, Aaron Heilman, and Lastings Milledge for Manny Ramirez and cash. I say “Hell no,” and here’s why. Giving up Lastings, in and of itself, is not a bad move. He’s a young kid, has never played above AA, and who knows if he’ll pan out, especially with the Mets’ record of developing outfielders. But Heilman AND Floyd? If they trade Floyd, then they still have a hole to fill in the outfield. They still have to find somebody to play right field, unless they’re going to go with Diaz or Nady there, both of whom have flaws (though I wouldn’t be against leaving Diaz there and letting him bat sixth or seventh). Plus, they would trade away one of their few returning bullpen pitchers who actually pitched effectively last year. Heilman would have a lot of value to the Mets as a spot starter/setup man next year. He would go a long way towards fixing some of the problems the Mets have had in the ‘pen the last few years, as much as signing Billy Wagner. So the end result is an upgrade in left (and perhaps not even that big of an upgrade; Floyd had a really good year last year, and Manny’s numbers are falling, and a move to Shea would only hasten that fall) and a downgrade in the bullpen, plus they take on more money and lose a prospect. I don’t have a vote, but I say no.
Here’s some leftover articles from the Delgado press conference. That sure got buried underneath the Wagner signing, didn’t it? Here’s some quotes courtesy of the Daily News. You know, he said all the right things, smiled, talked to both the English and Spanish media. I think he’ll be absolutely fine in New York, at least the first year or two. Oh, and here’s a quote for Chris “Gonorrhea of the Soul” Russo:
“I’m competitive and if you’re competitive and you don’t win, it kind of sucks. I’m here because I want to win. There’s a good opportunity here, they’re putting together a good ballclub and trying to make it better. That’s all a player trying to win can ask for.”
Did you read that, Russo? He’s a competitive player. He wants to win. Just because he didn’t want to be dealt to the Dodgers doesn’t mean he isn’t competitive. Just because he doesn’t display emotion the way others would doesn’t mean he isn’t passionate. Keep that in mind before you smash a player you know absolutely nothing about. Anyway, enough of the Russo slams. The Delgado signing looks to be beneficial for Carlos Beltran as well. Delgado will give Beltran more of a support system than he had in his first year, and with Delgado hitting behind him, Beltran should have a bounceback season. He won’t be required to carry the load as much, and with a year to adjust for Shea for the first time, and hitting against NL pitching, he should be better. Also in that article, the yearly Barry Zito rumor has is thrown in for good measure. I think the Barry Zito rumor mill has been around almost as long as the Alfonso Soriano rumor mill. Anyway, that probably won’t happen. The Mets are a “tools” organization, and the A’s are a “statistical analysis” organization, I doubt they have anybody the A’s would want in exchange for Zito.
Here’s some more on SportsNet New York, with this article indicating that it isn’t the TV network that is funding the massive payroll increase, at least not yet. It’s going to need some cable and satellite clearances, (and on a personal note, damn would that stink if DirecTV doesn’t carry it) plus, it would have to, you know, exist before it could generate revenue. It also notes that no color analyst has been named to go with Gary Cohen, with Ron Darling’s name also being thrown in there for the first time that I’ve seen. I wouldn’t be against that; he’s an intelligent guy, and a player from the ‘86 team that isn’t Keith Hernandez. The article also notes that Ralph Kiner and Tom Seaver will likely be a part of the network. In Kiner’s case, I hope it’s as the host of Classic Kiner’s Korner, which absolutely NEEDS to happen. I think I would set a Tivo season pass for that. As for Seaver, as long as he’s not doing games, I’m fine with him being a part of the network. But please, keep him out of the booth. He’s a Mets legend, one of the best pitchers to ever play the game, but man, is he irritating to listen to.
That will do it for tonight’s update. You’ll notice that the site has undergone some aesthetic changes lately, that I think are for the better. You’ll also note that, after three weeks of having one Good Person on the Good People list, that I’ve started to include some Mets blogs on there. With future updates, I’m going to start linking to Mets blogs when an interesting point is made, but I encourage all readers here to check out these Mets blogs. They all have good information and give you other takes on the situations I talk about here. I’m also looking to add writers to the site here, so if interested, send a writing sample to MiracleMets@optonline.net. Also, if you have a site and would like to exchange links with me, feel free to drop me a line and I would be happy to do so.