The Mets endured one of the dreaded road days off yesterday in Cincinnati. If you’ve ever been there you know that its not one of the most exciting cities in the United States. The reports were that the most entertaining thing that the Mets could find to do yesterday was go to the movies. Apparently, the city is so boring that they decided to do a double feature and kill the whole day at the movies. If that’s not an indictment of a boring city, I don’t know what is. The Mets chance to enjoy the entertaining city of Cincinnati comes to an end today when they go back to work against the Reds.
Onto today’s top stories:
The Sporting News is reporting that Bronson Arroyo will start for the Reds against the Mets tomorrow. He’s been suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome but he had a cortisone shot and is feeling good enough to pitch. Micah Owings was going to take his place in the Reds rotation.
Ben Shipgel of The New York Times recounts the whole Ryan Church concussion saga from last season. He talks about how the Gary Sheffield signing will impact Church’s playing time. Shipgel says he can’t understand why the Mets are pushing Church so hard this season. It’s simple… They expect more from him than what they’re getting. The Mets think Church is capable of doing more than he’s shown.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post talks about the Mets bullpen and how Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church both played well on Monday. The Sheffield signing could push both of them to step up their games or lose playing time.
Saturday’s game against the Marlins won’t be televised for the first hour of the game. It’s scheduled to start at 6:10 pm because there’s a concert by rap star Flo Rida after the game. SNY is scheduled to broadcast the game but Fox has exclusive rights on Saturday’s until 7:05 pm.
Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated writes another column about how Mike Pelfrey and other young pitchers are at risk of injury or regression in performance because of their increased innings pitched at a young age. At this point, Verducci is pretty much making a living off of this theory of his that most major league teams don’t subscribe to. I’m not saying that Verducci is wrong about this. But he needs to find another topic to write about. He’s beating a dead horse now. We all know about his grand theory about young pitchers. Move on now Tom.
Nick Evans was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo today to make room on the roster for OF Gary Sheffield. The move doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, it never made sense to me to keep Evans on the big league roster if he wasn’t going to get significant playing time. The guy just turned 23 years old in January. What good does it do for him to sit on the bench?
Evans needs to be playing every day at Buffalo. The best thing the Mets can do for him is to prepare him to be an everyday player. Hopefully, next season Carlos Delgado will be gone and Evans can take over at first base. Keeping him on the roster as a pinch-hitter and part-time player isn’t in his best interest or the Mets.
The bigger issue will be what the Mets do next Saturday to get Livan Hernandez on the roster. Most likely, they’ll release Marlon Anderson and keep Jeremy Reed as a defensive replacement outfielder. That makes the most sense to me. An option they have is to move one of the relief pitchers off the roster though. Bobby Parnell still has options so they could send him to Buffalo. But I think they like him and believe that he can make a contribution this season. My guess is that Marlon Anderson is waived.
The newest Met, Gary Sheffield, spoke to the media today after the last exhibition game of the season against the Red Sox. Sheffield talked about how his uncle, Dwight Gooden, had spoken to him over the years about signing with the Mets. But it never quite worked out, until now.
One interesting fact that came out during the press conference was that David Wright called Sheffield urging him to sign with the Mets. Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies and Dusty Baker from the Cincinnati Reds had also put calls into Sheffield.It seems that Sheffield was most impressed that Wright made the effort to get in touch with him about signing with the Mets.
“When you have the face of the franchise making a call to you, that means a lot,” said Sheffield, who’s one home run shy of 500. “You never want to tell other people you’re going the other way, but when he made that call I made my decision.”
Apparently, David Wright really has some clout around baseball now. That’s great for a young guy that hasn’t been around that long to have established himself. We’ll see how much Marlon Anderson, Ryan Church, and Daniel Murphy appreciate Wright’s call to Sheffield. They’re the ones that stand to lose the most by Sheffield’s presence on the team.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
New York Mets GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel talk to the media about today’s signing of outfielder Gary Sheffield.
Mike Francesa is reporting on WFAN that the Mets have agreed to a contract with Detroit Tigers castoff Gary Sheffield. Its a good low risk, high reward move that could play a big part in the 2009 season for the Mets. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported that two Mets scouts met with Sheffield in Tampa on Wednesday for a workout at a college field. They wanted to see what Sheffield could do in the outfield. He hasn’t played the outfield regularly since 2005 when he played 131 games in right field for the Yankees.
This move may spell the end of Marlon Anderson‘s tenure with the Mets. Anderson’s contract was a mistake. The Mets shouldn’t have given him a 2-year deal before the 2008 season. The Mets will have to eat the $1.15 million that they owe him for 2009.
Sheffield shores up the possibility that Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church can’t handle playing the corner outfield spots every day. It also relieves the Mets of their lefty heavy lineup that’s been a concern for Mets fans throughout the offseason.
The other teams that were reported to be interested in Shef were the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Philles. A point that I haven’t heard anyone address to this point is that signing Sheffield keeps him away from the Phillies. The Mets haven’t engaged in that type of activity much in recent years but its not a bad idea. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have been doing this to each other for years. There’s no reason that the Mets shouldn’t try to keep useful players like Sheffield away from the Phillies.
Overall, I think its a good move that will pay dividends for the Mets. The key is to make sure that Sheffield gets enough at-bats in the outfield to keep him happy. If he’s not happy with his playing time, he can cause real problems for this team.
Adam Rubin of the Daily News reports that the Mets management is “intrigued” by the prospect of signing Gary Sheffield but haven’t met to discuss the situation yet. I’ve read reports that Sheffield was set to clear waivers Thursday at 1:00 pm, and that several team were set to be in contact with his agent, Rufus Williams, immediately.
Sheffield reportedly wants to play for two or three more years. He wants to find a spot as an every day player. I’m not sure that’s going to happen, and it certainly won’t happen with the Mets. If the Mets did take on Sheffield it would be to replace Jeremy Reed or Marlon Anderson on the roster. I don’t think the Shef wants to be a fifth outfielder or 25th man on the roster.
Sheffield should check in with the San Francisco Giants if he wants playing time. They’ve got some really good pitchers and a pewtrid offense. Sheffield could definitely get some playing time in that outfield of Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand, and Randy Winn. I think the Giants believe that they can compete in the National League West this season too. The Giants are a much better fit for Sheffield than the Mets are.
WFAN‘s Ed Coleman checks in with Joe & Evan to talk about the Mets news from today. Here are the topics:
- Oliver Perez‘ nice start last night after being called out by pitching coach Dan Warthen for being out of shape.
- The Mets potential for interest in Gary Sheffield. Coleman doesn’t think that the Mets will have any interest there.
- The relationship between Warthen and the pitchers.