Pitching staff should be better this year than last year because I don’t expect injuries to 12 pitchers to occur. Starting five: Orlando Hernandez, Tom Glavine, Oliver Perez, John Maine, Jorge Sosa. Relievers: Scott Schowenweis, Ambiorix Burgos, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, Aaron Heilman, Chan Ho Park, and Billy Wagner. I believe Chan Ho Park could replace Darren Oliver as a long reliever. I don’t believe he is as good, but more consistency in the starting rotation should reduce the need for a long reliever. Our starting pitching will be bolstered by the return of Pedro Martinez and our relief pitching will be bolstered by Guillermo Mota. If Billy Wagner shows mediocre in closing situations, I think Mota may split relief duty. This is only a prediction. Of course only Spring Training will tell.
Even though it is the beginning of Spring Training, I think it is fun to project the opening day roster. It should be similar to last year except for a few minor surprises. I project the lead off hitter to be Jose Reyes, followed by Paul LoDuca, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Moises Alou, David Wright, Jose Valentin, Lastings Milledge and a pitcher. David Wright is usually the fifth place hitter, but I believe he will be sixth because Moises Alou provides better protection for Carlos Delgado. This will take pressure off of Wright and allow him to avoid a second half slump similar to 2006. I don’t have much faith in Shawn Green. The same reason that Arizona replaced him is why the Mets need to go with youth. With Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez developing, its time for Lastings to prove he is major league ready. Another year in the minor leagues will not do him good. This is just a prediction and like anything else only Spring Training performance can tell.
Bernie Williams has had a wonderful 17 year career with the Yankees. At 38 years old and coming off the 2006 season, he has shown he can still play baseball. Apparently, he has chosen to put loyalty to the Yankees ahead of his baseball career. As Brian Cashman and Joe Torre would have you believe, he is a washed up player. The Yankees are offering him a face changing chance for him to be a non roster invitee to spring training. I don’t understand why Bernie Williams still chooses to continue with an organization which disrespects his years of contributions.
This is not the first time the Yankees played hard ball with Bernie in negotiations. In 1996, after the World Series, the Yankees were slow to offer Bernie Williams a long term deal. Bernie actually turned down a higher offer from the Boston Red Sox to return to the Yankees. With an agent like Scott Boras, that seemed to be very unusual. He chose to stay and became instrumental to the Yankees gaining three more World Series and successful playoff runs. In 2006, Bernie turned down lucrative offers from other teams to sign a one year incentive laden contract with the Yankees. The Yankees also found they needed him with major injuries to Gary Shefield and Hideki Matsui. Even, though he proved himself valuable to the Yankees in 2006, they have insulted him so far this spring. This is the right of any organization. However, I don’t understand why Bernie just does not move on.
Bernie’s age of 38 is not a problem. The Mets signed Moises Alou to a one year 8 million dollar contract with an option. Moises is 40 and has a history of being injury prone. Other players older than Bernie has signed on to deals. Loyalty should never overide your best interests. Bernie turned down a 5 million dollar offer to play with the Phillies. This baffles me.
I don’t feel sorry for Bernie, however, I don’t understand why he is so loyal to a team that has decided to go on without him. This won’t be the first time that star players have moved on from a team. Even Babe Ruth had to play his final years with another team (Boston Braves). If you choose to continue to play I hope you can consider the Mets. Please.
I am not sure of the intentions of the Baseball Writers who chose Joe Girardi as National League Manager of the Year. However, they have ruined the integrity of the award. When does a manager get an award with a losing record? In addition, the manager of the year lost his job. How can you give him so much credit for what young players hungry to be in the major leagues did in a down regular season for the National League. There was only one reason for this mokery. To deny Willie Randolph manager of the year.
Based on the merits Willie should have been a runaway NL manager of the year. His Mets team won 97 games during the regular season and were consistent. His team never lost more than 3 in a row during 2006. That is unheard of in Major League Baseball. His consistency was better than Jim Leyland’s. He also showed class with dealing with the players, the front office, and the fans. Never would you see Willie Randolph showing up any players, Omar Minaya or Fred Wilpon. Girardi lost his job because he has no class. What ever your owner has done, he is responsible for your paycheck. It was irresponsible for him to embarass an owner in public. The owner did not endorse Girardi’s managerial skills so why should the Baseball Writers? Furthermore, if he did such a great job, why didn’t the Yankees immediately hire him as bench coach when Mazilli was fired?
Willie Randolph is too much of a class act to express disappointment to this mockery. But I can. Willie knows how to talk to people. When Pedro Feliciano went public with his comments, it was easy for Willie to blast him in the press, bench him or cut him. Instead he called the player into the office to privately discuss his displeasure and ended the conversation with winning teams don’t do this. Imagine the pressures of managing in New York, and successfully keeping your team out of the bad press of the tabloids. He was successful because of his style.
You have cheapened the value of your award by this selection and Willie is the true 2006 National League Manager of the Year. He would not be bothered by your snub because he measures success by World Championships. He is now working with Minaya to bring the Mets the championship in 2007.