With the Isiah Thomas Boycott nearing its 650th day and my Florida State Seminoles drifting closer to an NIT Tournament berth, I am slowly turning my attention towards the pop of the mitt, the crack of the bat, and the realization that baseball season has once again emerged from its winter slumber. As I was once a quality Little League pitcher, I am drawn to baseball more so than many. We share a bond, we who have played the game. We understand its intricacies, its nuances, its beautiful subtleties.
Ok, maybe I need to tone down the Robert DeNiro The Fan references. Anyway, this season will be my 20th following the Mets and I should have a lot to be excited about. Promising young players, ageless wonders, numerous established superstars. Lone gone are the days of Tim Bogar and Satoru Komiyama. Good riddance.
Every year, however, no matter how good their potential, I am always prepared for the worst. Being young and believing Bobby Bonilla was the savior ruined my positive outlook. This year is no different. As a courtesy to my loyal flock of readers, here is my continuing look at the Mets many off-season acquisitions (my first off-season Mets rant covering the Alou signing and the Vargas trade, etc. is here).
In reverse chronological order:
C Sandy Alomar Jr. signed to a minor league contract
Sandy Alomar, Jr.? Why? I think the Mets have become an elephant graveyard for old Latin ballplayers. First Andres Galarraga, now Sandy Alomar, Jr. I wouldn't be surprised if Minnie Minoso or Luis Tiant were signed sometime this year.
RP Marcos Carvajal acquired off waivers
According to baseball-reference.com, young Marcos is not the ex-former guitarist of the rock band P.O.D. (that would be Marcus Curiel). He is however, a pitcher who struck out 47 in only 52 innings with the Rockies back in 2005. Good. He also had a 5.09 ERA. Ouch.
SP Chan Ho Park signed as free agent
This might not be that bad of a signing. At first, I'll admit, I thought "Chan Ho Park, why? Just shoot me and get it over with." Didn't this guy have one year where he was absolutely terrible? Yes, in 2003, he had an ERA over 7. In seven games. Otherwise, he will give you 20-25 starts, approximately 150 innings, 10 wins, and an ERA around 5 almost every year. Not good, but not particularly bad for an end of rotation pitcher.
LF Ruben Sierra signed to a minor league contract
Ok, we get the point. Omar Minaya likes old Latin players like Wimpy likes hamburgers. "I'll pay two old Latin players tomorrow, for each one playing today."
SP Aaron Sele signed to a minor league contract
The American-born version of Chan Ho Park. Expect the same type of numbers. And his middle name is Helmer. Not the guy I want starting Game 7 of the World Series, but he could be a lot worse, he could be Wally Whitehurst.
(Off topic note: Before the 2002 season started I told ol' Zheke Snow to watch out for the Angels, as they just acquired Aaron Sele and I knew they were going to be tough. I predicted the Angels when no one else did. Sele didn't pitch exceptionally well that year, but the Angels did win the World Series. One of my best predictions of all-time.)
RPs Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa signed as free agents
I am taking both of these guys in one entry. I don't know too much about either of them, other than they have both been decent relievers/spot starters in their careers. Some people were a little curious when the Mets signed Schoenweis after letting Chad Bradford walk, but the last time the Mets had a "weis" on their roster, they won the World Series.
Infielder David Newhan signed to a one-year contract.
Take a look at David Newhan. Doesn't he look like the love-child of Ernest P. Worrell and Adam Sandler's buddy Alan Covert? Hopefully he plays the role of super utility guy well, knowwhutImean?
SP Eddie Kolb signed to one-day contract.
Ok, maybe not. But given the Mets' patchwork starting rotation, I wouldn't be too surprised if they took a page out of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders handbook and signed a cigar stand salesman off the street to pitch. Pitching eight innings in your major league debut doesn't look too bad these days. Allowing 18 hits and nine runs in those eight innings on the other hand - no good.
My prediction: the Mets will win between 90-93 games and repeat as NL East champs. Anything else depends on the right arm of one Pedro Martinez.