Squawker Lisa and I are going to Citi Field on Saturday for the second exhibition game with the Red Sox. I can't wait to see Oliver Perez pitch a couple of innings in his last tuneup before the regular season starts. Oh, who are we kidding - what I can't wait for is Shake Shack, pulled pork, lobster rolls, steak tacos and all the great food options at the new ballpark. Metstradamus suggests that Ollie might be subject to the same temptations!
It will be great to see the Mets take the field at the start of a season in which they are a popular choice to make the playoffs, and deservedly so. (Yes, Uncle Mike, I know the same was true the last two years.) Considering what could have happened this spring, things have gone very well so far. Johan Santana is healthy. Jose Reyes is still batting leadoff. Luis Castillo will usually bat eighth. At least one of the retreads for the last rotation spot is still standing. And, at least at the start of the season, Nick Evans is on the team as a righty bat off the bench
Once it is time for Livan Hernandez to make his first spot, the Mets will need a roster spot, and the person who needs to be cut is Marlon Anderson, who has not been hitting and is a lefty. Sending down Evans because Anderson has a guaranteed contract makes no sense. The money spent on Anderson is gone. At about $1M, it is not even that much anyway. Look at the Tigers - they ate $14M of salary by releasing Gary Sheffield.
But speaking of Sheffield, Metsblog reports that Joel Sherman in the Post warns that the Mets are talking about trying to sign the cranky, washed-up slugger. Sherman's item is dated April 3, so it is unfortunately no April Fool's gag.
Why would the Mets be willing to get rid of Anderson for Sheffield and not Evans? They are better off with Evans in every possible way. Except for one - and I really hope this has nothing to do with their reasoning. At 499 homers, Sheffield could sell some tickets as he goes for 500.
But even that makes no sense. Sheffield is tainted by Balco and the Mitchell report, so his pursuit of 500 is less compelling, even if Met fans had any reason to care about him.
And with allegations swirling around Mike Piazza, the last thing the Mets need is for the organization to embrace someone like Sheffield and have him sitting on the bench when Piazza is on the field helping to open the new ballpark.
The Phillies are said to have interest in Sheffield. Let them have him. What better way to show that the magical run of the Phillies is coming to an end.
Update: Metsblog reports that Jon Heyman of SI says that the Mets are showing "real interest" in Sheffield.
This is infuriating on so many levels. Not least of which is that if the Mets were not happy with their outfield, they had ample opportunity to address that fact in the offseason.
The last time Minaya signed an aging former All-Star outfielder, it was Moises Alou. But at least Alou had something left when he actually got onto the field. Compared to Alou, does Omar think Sheffield is a youth movement?
Most teams are turning away from much older players because, in the age of at least some form of PED testing and the ban on greenies, they recognize that turning 40 for a ballplayer is more like what it used to be than what it appeared to be in recent years.
Sheffield has been primarily a DH the last two years. Last year, he batted .225. The Tigers, a team that made the World Series a lot more recently than the Mets have, wanted to get rid of him so badly that they were willing to eat $14M worth of salary. Shouldn't that tell the Mets something?
It would be so typical of the Mets if they were unable to start a new season in a new ballpark without putting a cloud over it. Just say no to Sheffield.
Do you think the Mets should sign Gary Sheffield?