51° Good Evening
51° Good Evening

Carlos Beltran, Hiroki Kuroda, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kosuke Fukudome and Hideki Irabu

Greetings from the always lovely Citizens Bank Park. Let's roll through everything:

--The Carlos Beltran trade is official - of course it is. That's why I'm in Philly - and Sandy Alderson, in his telephone news conference - made it clear that Beltran's strong preference was to stay in the National League. Basically, Alderson indicated, the only way Beltran was considering an American League team was if Alderson convinced him that the NL options had been exhausted.

Alderson said he's not inclined to trade anyone else, and at this juncture, I believe him. With the way the Mets are playing, finishing off the Reds in a four-game sweep today at Cincinnati, there's much incentive to keep this going and keep fans interested and coming to Citi Field.

If things turn south in August? Then the Mets can sell off parts like Tim Byrdak, Chris Capuano and Jason Isringhausen, although that becomes more difficult in the waivers process.

As for Beltran, he looked plenty comfortable in his new uniform, and when a San Francisco reporter asked him about the great expectations from Giants fans, given how brilliantly Beltran performed for the Astros in 2004 (his last walk year), Beltran said, "I already got paid for '04." Gotta love the honesty.

Of course, he also said, "I had a great time with the Mets," so it's not like Beltran was hooked up to a lie-detector or anything. He did tell me that Jeff Wilpon, his longtime nemesis, called him earlier today to wish him well.

--So if the Mets are truly done for now, then we can turn our attention over to the Yankees, who obviously need starting pitching.

At this juncture, the top bet is Hiroki Kuroda. At the moment, the Dodgers are not taking offers for Kuroda, citing his no-trade clause. But that very likely could change - for a price. In the spirit of Roy Oswalt, Eric Gagne and others, expect Kuroda to ask for (and receive) an extra fee in return for waiving that clause.

The price for Ubaldo Jimenez remains prohibitive, and as we disucssed yesterday, the Yankees are wary of why Colorado seems so interested in dealing him.

--The Indians acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs. Eh.

--Finally, sadly, former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu is dead, in what Los Angeles police ruled "an obvious suicide."

I got to know Irabu somewhat well during his Yankees years. He could be funny at times; his interpreter, George Rose, told me that Irabu referred to me as "Fish eyes," because, as a young, nervous reporter, I would often look out to the side while speaking with people, to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

But Irabu never clicked with the Yankees, despite a handful of excellent month-long (or so) runs, and while you could probably say it was part cultural, it was part straight personality difference. Irabu wasn't a hard worker at all, as Billy Connors says in this linked story, and he even clashed with the Japanese media, which is very unusual for a Japanese player.

Thoughts go out to his family.

--Have a good night.





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