Let me apologize for the complete lack of content last week. I was away on business from Monday through Friday in King of Prussia, PA -- good times let me tell you. Last night I was up in Massachusetts for my fianc?e's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary and I neglected to bring my notebook with me. It doesn't get much better for me in the "being around" department, as I'm back out in KOP this week, keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be home in time to watch the Super Bowl.
Airing my personal grievances are all well and good, but they don't get you folks original content here. A lot of minor goingson have happened in the past week, so let's take a look back at the week that was.
Monday, January 23
In the Daily News, Anthony McCarron pens an article/interview with Tom Glavine in which Glavine reflects upon 2005, a season which began as a struggle but wound up a success. Glavine worked with Rick Peterson, who encouraged his pitcher to try throwing his curveball more.
He and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson talked during bullpen sessions about what to do. Peterson recalled Glavine throwing nasty breaking balls when warming up and then not using them enough in games. "Why don't you use it?" Peterson asked. "He said, 'I don't know, I just never have.'"This is an important article for two reasons: one, it makes me excited as a Met fan to know that a pitcher as accomplished as Glavine is constantly trying to improve himself. He's had some rough times these past three seasons in New York, but there's reason to believe that he turned another corner last season -- at age 39 no less -- and that he will carry that through to 2006.
Second, Rick Peterson's contract with the Mets expires after this season, and there has been some speculation as to whether the Mets will bring him back. Many gave credit to Pedro Martinez for pushing Glavine to use his curveball last season, but this article makes it clear that Peterson deserves a lot of the credit for getting Tommy to expand his repertoire.
Also on Monday, buried at the bottom of this New York Times article about Al Michaels was an announcement about the Mets' new TV network:
SportsNet New York , the Mets' new cable channel, will make its debut March 16 with a Mets-Braves game, the first of its 11 spring-training broadcasts.Like myself, I'm sure the rest of Cablevision's subscribers who count themselves among the Shea faithful are keeping their collective fingers crossed, hoping that there won't be a YES-like blackout on Mets games this season.
Tuesday, January 24
Former-Met Juan Samuel was named manager of the Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League. Another formet Met, John Valentin, signed on as the hitting coach. This isn't really that interesting, except that:
a) Wally Backman was rumored to be a candidate for the AA managerial position, and
b) Samuel came to the Mets in one of the worst deals in franchise history, as Lenny Dykstra and now-Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell went to the Phillies.
The Daily News reported Tuesday that Pedro Martinez still intends to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. This is good news for the WBC but bad news for the Mets and their fans. The WBC is a neat idea, but teams around the league have to be kicking themselves for approving this thing to run during Spring Training. There are a lot of players who are very loyal to their respective home countries, so these games will be treated by many as much more than an exhibition. A better time might have been after the season, maybe in November sometime. The last thing a team needs is for one of their stars to go down with a serious injury in a non-MLB game.
Wednesday, January 25
The Mets announced that the following players will be invited to Spring Training: Pitchers:
Rafael Cova, Pedro Feliciano, Jeremi Gonzalez, Jeremy Hill, Tim Lavigne, Dae-Sung Koo, Darren Oliver, Jose Parra, Matt Perisho, Jose Santiago, Jason Scobie and Mike VenafroCatchers:
Drew Butera, Zac Clements, Bobby Estalella, Jesus Flores, Aaron Hathaway, Joe Hietpas, Sandy Martinez and Andy WilsonInfielders:
Bret Boone, Juan Tejeda and Brett HarperOutfielders:
Lastings Milledge, Julio Ramirez, Tike Redman and Todd Self(Link: MetsBlog.com).
Virtually none of these players will make the team, but it's nice to see Lastings get a crack at semi-big leaguers, and guys like Andy Wilson and Brett Harper had big seasons in 2005 so it has to be a thrill for them to get the invite.
The Mets also kicked off their annual Winter Caravan, as David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner and Paul Lo Duca opened the New York Stock Exchange and the rest of the Mets posed for pictures, granted interviews, and spread good tidings to Mets fans everywhere.
WFAN has the following archived interviews from the Caravan:
Omar Minaya with Mike and the Mad Dog
Willie Randolph with M&MD
David Wright with M&MD
Thursday, January 26
The Daily News reports that OFs Tike Redman and Angel Pagan were designated for assignment (DFA) to make room on the Mets' 40-man roster for newly-acquired RHP John Maine and recently-signed Japanese RHP Yusaku Iriki. Neither are huge losses, though I would have preferred that the Mets held on to Redman and DFA'd the utterly useless Endy Chavez.
Friday, January 27
ESPN.com gives us the low-down on the special shoe that Pedro Martinez will begin wearing to help him deal with the lingering pain that prematurely ended Martinez' 2005 season.
"The pain became insufferable during the 2004 season, and I had to take a cortisone shot in order to tolerate the pain and be able to help Boston win the World Series. Last year, the pain returned in June, but the doctors recommended that, rather than ignoring the wound by applying cortisone, I rehabilitate the foot instead, which is what we're doing right now."Eek. The shoe, designed by a physician and created by Nike, will likely be worn by Martinez for the remainder of his career. He expects to be able to pitch normally wearing the shoe, and if that's the case then so be it. I don't care if he has to ride a llama to the ballpark and wear flubber underoos, whatever it takes to keep him on the field is alright in my book.
According to MLB.com, the Mets and Jorge Julio came to terms on a one-year deal worth $2,525,000. Julio asked for $2.8 million and the Mets offered $2.3 million. Actually, the Orioles offered the $2.3 million in the original arbitration hearing and the Mets inherited that offer when they acquired Julio last week.
Sunday, January 29
Mike Piazza signs with the Padres for one year and $2 million. Pretty good deal for the Pods, who apparently told Piazza that "...he could pretty much catch as much as he wanted to." Piazza expects to catch 90-100 games this season, in addition to a handful of at-bats as a DH during interleague play. Seeing Piazza sign elsewhere for peanuts just boggles my mind, considering that the Mets gave up a very good pitching prospect in Gaby Hernandez to get Lo Duca, who by all accounts is a marginal defensive upgrade and a net loss in the offensive department compared to Piazza. Add to that the fact that Lo Duca will make $12.5 million over the next two seasons and you've easily got Omar Minaya's most head-scratching trade in his tenure as Mets GM. Then again, what do I know? I'm just a "blogger".