Joel Sherman wrote about Roy Oswalt and the Mets, with interesting thoughts from Andy Pettitte concerning whether Oswalt would waive his no-trade clause to come to Flushing.
I think that, if the Mets can keep themselves in the playoff conversation, Oswalt would agree to come. He has no reservations about playing in New York, as Pettitte notes, and he clearly wants to get out of Houston.
To me, the biggest impediment to this deal getting done is not Oswalt, but Astros owner Drayton McLane, who - as we've discussed previously - essentially doesn't believe in rebuilding.
There's no indication that McLane feels financial pressure to unload what's left of Oswalt's contract, nor is there any sign that McLane is excited about the idea of, say, paying the freight on Oswalt in order to get better prospects in return.
In his column, Joel referenced last year's Jake Peavy trade, and noted that the key conversation took place between Peavy and White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, who sold Peavy on the White Sox's long-term commitment to winning.
In these Oswalt proceedings, the key conversation might be the one not between Oswalt and another team's general manager, but rather between Oswalt and McLane. Can Oswalt convince McLane, basically, "I've given you all I have. I'm getting old. I want to pitch in the World Series again. Please let me go"?
If the Mets can indeed put themselves in a place where they'd have reason to trade for Oswalt, then they'd at least benefit from the fact that the starting pitching market is looking somewhat buyer-friendly. Barring dramatic turnarounds from their respective teams, Seattle's Cliff Lee (the grand prize, obviously, at least as a short-term buy), Baltimore's Kevin Millwood and Cleveland's Jake Westbrook all figure to be available.
--Francisco Rodriguez and Mets bullpen coach Randy Niemann had to be separated during Sunday night's game, David Lennon reports. It seems as though K-Rod and Niemann will be able to peacefully coexist starting tonight, and really, if they can't, does it really matter?
No, the bigger issue appears to be Rodriguez's objections to Jerry Manuel's deployment of him. Not the actual, in-game usage; asking K-Rod to get five outs on Saturday and then two more Sunday isn't egregious. But rather, the multiple warmups.
As David Waldstein reported for The New York Times, Manuel had K-Rod warm up in the eighth with the understanding that he would enter the game if the Yankees brought the tying run on deck. Yet when that exact scenario came to be, Manuel went to Pedro Feliciano, who retired Cano. So then K-Rod had to warm up again for the ninth, when he bailed out Ryota Igarashi.
It's one more indictment of Manuel's in-game managing. K-Rod has shown that he's willing to work hard. But as he said, essentially, to Waldstein, wasting bullets in the bullpen is just stupid.
--As promised, I appeared on NY1 last night with Tom McDonald. I enjoy doing the show with Tom because he knows how to lure me into a debate, and I know, even as I get worked up, that it's not personal. It's hopefully decent TV.
Anyway, McDonald got me going when we discussed, of course, David Wright. He said, "Just from watching every game, we know that he hasn't come through in the big spots."
"He did over the weekend," I countered.
"Right, but not all season," Tom said.
"Do you have the numbers?" I asked.
"No, but we've been watching. We know," Tom said.
"I want to see the numbers," I said.
So...overall, Wright is at .368-.490-.859. With runners in scoring position? Slightly worse on-base and better slugging, .350-.531.-.881.
With two outs and runners in scoring position? Considerably worse on-base and even better slugging, .304-.565-.870.
Late and close? Dreadful - .294-.276-.570.
Mixed messages, it appears, wrapped in a small sample.
--Here's my preview of the Phillies-Mets series. I'll be covering all three games.
--John Maine has rotator cuff tendinitis, and who knows when we'll see him again, or if we will. His story serves as yet another reminder of just how hard it is to be a consistently good starting pitcher.
--The Subway Series generated huge ratings. The Fox rating for Saturday night's game was the highest for a game since June 2007.
--Brian Cashman voiced optimism about the Yankees to Jim Baumbach. You could view it as simply as this: The Yankees are clearly underachieving right now, when you look at players like Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, and their losses have mostly been close. If these guys start playing up to their track records, then their close losses should, in theory, turn into victories.
--The Rangers still owe Alex Rodriguez money, hence making their filing for bankruptcy protection more intriguing to New York fans. I won't for a second pretend to understand all of the intricacies of this, but it appears that this is under control.
I asked A-Rod the other day if he was following the Rangers' situation, but only because I know he enjoys following finance. I forgot that the Rangers still owed him big bucks.
"Not at all," he said.
--Fans can't bring iPads into Yankee Stadium.
--Very interesting news out of Boston, where Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will switch positions, from leftfield and centerfield, respectively, to center and let. That is a concession to Cameron not being as good as the Red Sox thought, or as the defensive measurements showed. What Cameron - who has spent the bulk of the season on the disabled list - gives you offensively is very good for a centerfielder, not so much for a leftfielder.
What's just as interesting, arguably, is where I discovered this story: Twitter.
--See you tonight, from Citi Field.