Friday odds and ends in bullet-list form:
- Steve Popper of the Bergen Record has a video report from Spring Training, with footage of Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez throwing a bit and an interview reel with Martinez as well. If you're jonesing for anything that might signal the forthcoming arrival of actual baseball games, this is probably as close as you're going to get.
- Speaking of Popper, he and the rest of the tireless beat writers for the Mets and Yankees are in Florida following our favorites teams around. It's a largely thankless job, but it's hard work that is especially appreciated during these cold days of winter. Here are links to the various Mets beat writer blogs so you can keep an eye on what's happening down in Port St. Lucie.
- Amazin' Stories (Steve Popper, Bergen Record)
- Ledger on Mets (Jeremy Cothran, Star Ledger)
- On the Mets Beat (David Lennon, Newsday)
- Surfing the Mets (Adam Rubin, Daily News)
- LoHud Mets Blog (John Delcos, Journal News)
- Bats (Ben Shpigel, New York Times)
- Ben Johnson is back, so the Mets still have something to show for the utterly short-sighted and regrettable Heath Bell deal from an offseason ago. Johnson has been inked to a minor league deal and has been invited to spring training. He did basically nothing for the Mets last year, and spent most of the season at triple-a in New Orleans.
- Lots of good stuff at MetsGeek this week:
- Market Shifts by Dan Scotto continues his look at some of the economic swings that have taken place in Major League Baseball of late, specifically as it pertains to the Johan Santana trade-and-sign.
- The Best Pitchers to Wear a Mets Uniform by Marc Normandin uses JAWS to come up with a list of the best pitchers the Mets have ever had. This doesn't necessarily mean they were great pitchers for the Mets (or in the case of Santana, have ever even pitched for the Mets).
- Know Your NRIs by Chris McCown looks at the non-roster invitee pitchers the Mets will have in training camp this time around.
- Spring Training Competition That Should Exist by John Peterson breaks down some positional and rotational battles that may only exist in our minds because the Mets have already made up theirs.
- Don't look now, but the Mets' string of fifteen consecutive arbitration-less offseasons may be coming to an end. The Mets and Oliver Perez are almost two million dollars apart on their respective salary proposals, and Perez has an arbitration hearing set for next Thursday unless a deal can be struck beforehand. It's beginning to look more and more like Perez will flee into the waiting arms of the highest bidder after the 2008 season closes. If he has a very strong walk year performance this season he will be in prime position to get paid. If he puts up another ERA in the 3.50 ERA with close to a strikeout an inning does anyone doubt he'll be getting offers in the 5/$70 million range next year? If Gil Meche got 5/$55 last year is it ridiculous to assume that Perez, who is younger, more talented and more accomplished than Meche was at the time, could get the same years and a few more dollars?
I'd like to think that the fact the Mets basically turned Perez's career around when they rescued him from baseball purgatory (read: Pittsburgh) two years ago would mean something to him, but he is represented by Scott Boras after all.