Get in the mood for Spring Training!

It’s so cold here today that just reading this article about the first day in Port St. Lucie made me feel better. Ben Shipgel from The New York Times does a nice job of setting the scene for the players starting to show up for Spring Training. It’s just what we needed on a day like today.

Why I’m Scared of Johan Santana’s Contract

Dollar Signs

Johan Santana is currently Elias‘ highest rated starting pitcher in the AL, ahead of the likes of C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, and Roy Halladay. He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner, and the 2007 Gold Glove Award winner. He’s a three-time AL All-Star. He’s an incredible pitcher and probably the second best the Mets have ever had. Don’t forget about Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

I’m thrilled that Santana’s a Met, but his contract frightens me and you should be scared too. Exceeding the $100 million mark hasn’t been done often in baseball, especially for pitchers with good reason. Look at the historical examples of Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, and most recently Bary Zito. Do you think the Dodgers, Rockies, and Giants have been happy with the way those contracts worked out? I don’t either.

The Mets now have two players whose contracts exceed $100 million. This is nothing new to the likes of the Yankees, but breaking new ground for the Mets. Carlos Beltran isn’t the only mega millionaire in Queens now.

In the coming days we’ll look in depth at the performance of Brown, Hampton, and Zito. We’ll talk about the impact that the money has on players. It’s one thing to be scraping by on $14 million/year and quite another to have $137 million guaranteed for Santana. We’ll also look at the worst Mets current contracts and try to forget about the past transgressions of Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, and other high priced under performing Mets.

Briefly on Steroids

syringe.jpg

It’s incredibly disappointing to find out what a central role the Mets organization has played in the ongoing steroid scandal. I understand that when large sums of money are involved people will go to great lengths to get their hands on it. That’s what this whole scandal comes down to.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of the steroids names and stories. The Mets players, former players, and former employees were deeply involved, if not central figures in this situation. That’s the worst part of this as a Mets fan.

On the bright side… we still have the whole HGH scandal to look forward to when reliable tests are developed!

Cards (away)- Season opener

It’s time to get this team going. The 07 version of the Mets looks very strong from an everyday player perspective. I (and everyone else) am not so sure about the pitching staff. I like that Willie got Glavine lined up for the opener tomorrow, especially when I see that the Yankees are opening with Pavano. I really hope the fans at Yankee Stadium boo him. He deserves it. Can you believe this is his third year with the Yankees?

Chris Carpenter is a tough matchup for the Mets tomorrow night. Last year he was 15-8 3.09 ERA in 32 starts. He also had 5 complete games, of which 3 were shutouts. That is a solid season! He also worked 221 innings. He had 184 K’s and 43 walks, so he’s usually pitching in or around the strike zone. He’s 31 years old. I wish the Mets had a starter of this caliber.

The player to watch in the short term is Shawn Green. How much patience does Willie show if he struggles early? Maybe not as much as you might think… Milledge made the team. Even though Green is making $10M this year, Milledge is the future (assuming he isn’t traded for pitching at the deadline). The bottom line here is that Shawn Green has had a severe drop off since his 2002 season with the Dodgers. His lack of performance this spring didn’t do anything to make us believe he can turn things around.

How can Glavine and El Duque hold up this season? Can we tread water until Pedro gets back in August? Can Oliver Perez collect himself and throw strikes again? These are a few of the questions that will be answered starting tomorrow night. The pitchers are a serious question mark!

The positive side of all this is that there aren’t many good teams in the NL. The Phillies, Cards, and Mets are clearly the best teams on paper. Let’s see if it plays out that way over 162 games. It usually doesn’t…