Meet the Mets
The Mets had their yearly holiday party on Tuesday and there were plenty of interviews with those who showed up. Sandy Alderson, Daniel Murphy, Jon Niese and Justin Turner all spoke. Sandy revealed that he found out about the Wilpons' most recent loan on Monday when we all did. Yes, that's totally encouraging (sarcasm font here). He also mentioned that he's searching for a safety net in case Johan Santana isn't ready for opening day (again, very encouraging). Finally, he mentioned that some minority shares in the team may close in January, though a source told Andy Martino that the club may not end sales in January.
Meanwhile, Murphy says he is ready to play second base and is doing everything to prepare for spring training. Niese is recovered from the side issue that sidelined him in September and also spoke about the swirling trade rumors. Regarding the rumors, Alderson stated that Niese is in the team's future plans and any talk with teams is just that at this point, but Matt Cerrone seems to have a different feeling. And Turner passed on playing winter ball because he felt worn down from the grind of a big league season. Apparently, none of these players are In The Best Shape of Their Lives (ITBSOTL™!) yet but when they are, we will certainly be one of the first to report it!
After the holiday party, Sandy Alderson made an appearance on Fox Business Channel, where he spoke about the team's most recent loan, the Wilpons' financial standing, the loss of Jose Reyes and whether they'll be able to hang onto David Wright. For what it's worth, Sandy's view of the Wilpons' future seems to be much rosier than John Harper's in the Daily News, but let's not forget that positive PR is likely a big part of Sandy's job at this point.
In reaction to the moves the Mets made on Monday, Ted Berg reflected on the end of the Ronny Paulino era in Flushing. Meanwhile, Patrick Flood takes a look at what the team has left to do this offseason, which means building some semblance of a bench and finding some starting pitching to back up the starting five. With so many 40-man slots taken up by prospects who likely won't contribute in the majors in 2012, Sandy's got quite a job juggling players around. At least we know that Mike Baxter has been invited to return to the team on a minor league deal. Whitestone's Own seems like a good guy and decent bench option. Why not, at this point?
Finally, though they may not have the 40-man room, recently non-tendered Dodger Hong-Chi Kuo would make an interesting option as a second lefty out of the pen. If he's healthy, he's definitely a high-upside type pickup and a huge improvement over Danny Ray Herrera (and Tim Byrdak, too).
A few free agent outfielders seem to be close to finding new homes. Former Marlin and Athletic Josh Willingham is nearing a deal with the Minnesota Twins. Meanwhile, the Rockies are now in the mix for Carlos Beltran, along with Michael Cuddyer who they've been chasing for a while now. Obviously, Beltran heard about all of the attention Cuddyer was getting from the Rockies and just had to butt in on it. #SelfishBeltran #BlameBeltran
The Red Sox signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one year deal worth $1.35 million. The Mets were rumored to have interest in him earlier this offseason. Meanwhile, the Phillies signed Dontrelle Willis to a one year deal worth around $1 million. What's interesting about this deal is that the Phillies will use Willis out of the bullpen, likely as a LOOGY. Not a bad idea, as even though Willis has been awful as a starter in recent years, he is still dominant against lefties, limiting them to a .127/.169/.200 line with only 2 walks against 20 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances.
The Yu Darvish sweepstakes is gaining steam as teams have until 5 PM today to submit bids for the 25 year old Japanese righty. I know it's totally unlikely considering their financial issues but I think it'd be pretty awesome if the Mets put in a stealth bid for Darvish's services.
Some more details about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement have been announced. These include changes to the instant replay system, the announcement that teams in the same division can now match up in the Division Series of the playoffs and that teams will play no more than 20 interleague games per season, among other nuggets of info. Just as a note, the Mets played 18 interleague games in 2011, so this isn't much of a difference from previous years.
Rumor has it that Lou Piniella will rejoin the Yankees as an analyst in the YES Network broadcast booth for the 2012 season.
Finally, the talk of the town on Tuesday was the news that surfaced in the Post that New York's favorite gritty, RINGZ-bearing hero Derek Jeter sends off his one-night stands with a gift basket full of autographed memorabilia. I'll leave it up to the community to sound off about this one in the comments.