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Good risk and bad risk, starring Kelvim Escobar - and there's a live chat today

The Mets announced last night that Kelvim Escobar will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, thereby getting paid $1.25 million for the Mets to never throw a pitch for them. Not even in Grapefruit League action.

And, still, I say, this was the sort of deal you want the Mets to make, going forward.

If you remember Escobar from his prime, you recall a pitcher with one of the best arms in the game. And the right-hander apparently showed off that arm last winter, in a throwing session scouted by the Mets.

$1.25 million is a considerable amount of money for most of us. For the Mets, though? Look at it this way: It's 1/16th of the annual payment they receive from Citi, for the naming rights to their ballpark.

And Escobar at least has the talent and track record to provide the belief that, had he stayed healthy, he could've done some great things. He would've been a bargain if he actually had succeeded as Francisco Rodriguez's setup man.

Compare that to, say, the deals for Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez, or even Alex Cora. In each of those instances, the Mets were paying - quite handsomely, in the cases of Castillo and Perez - for value that could not be reasonably expected. Even if the players maintained optimal health, their histories didn't justify Perez's or Cora's annual salaries, or Castillo's length of contract.

The Mets are evening out again. They're now just two games over .500, after last night's loss. But the lesson learned from the Escobar deal should be: Keep thinking high-end. Do so with the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft. Do so next winter. There's no point in spending $126 million or so on a team if your team is replete with established mediocrities.

--Off last night's Yankees game, I wound up writing two columns. First, figuring that Javier Vazquez's situation would trump anything that occurred in the game, I wrote about how stumped the Yankees are by Vazquez's situation.

Then, as always occurs in this situation, Vazquez's deal became old news once Jorge Posada left the game and Mariano Rivera never entered it. So I wrote about the "Sore Four," to steal from whoever wrote the clever headline.

The early read last night was that Posada wouldn't need to go on the disabled list, but that he would need a few days to rest his right calf. Since the Yankees were about to call up outfielder Greg Golson and dispose of a reliever, they could just get catcher Chad Moeller instead from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barres, although such a move would require some maneuvering of the team's 40-man roster.

As for Rivera, he insisted afterward that, had this been a playoff game, he would've been in there. It's remarkable that Rivera hasn't been on the DL since 2003. He obviously deserves the benefit of the doubt.

--Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees' lineup, while Randy Winn had his first good night as a Yankee. Joba Chamberlain picked up his second career save. If Rivera isn't ready to return tonight, Joe Girardi said he would let matchups determine the closer's role. Big-picture, though, with the idea that Rivera might actually retire someday, the Yankees have to like getting a small sample of Chamberlain in action.

--Speaking of closers retiring, Billy Wagner has notified the Braves that he won't pitch beyond this year. I'm skeptical. If he stays healthy and vests his $6.5 million option for 2011 with 50 games finished, then let's see where Wagner's head is.

--A Phillies fan was tasered last night, after running onto the field.

--Live chat at 1:00 today. Who will win the coveted Live Chat MVP trophy? And when I write "trophy," what I mean is "Me writing that you're the Live Chat MVP, and that's it."

UPDATE, 9:21 a.m.: My mistake. The live chat is at 11 this morning, not 1:00.


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