Minaya sounded like his usual calm self, and he laughed when I asked him about taking any down time for the holidays. "I'll be working on Christmas Day and New Year's Day," he said.
I honestly don't care what the Mets do, or how they do it. But I like good discussions based in common sense, and to reiterate a point I've made here a few times this offseason: Baseball teams don't get any extra wins for finishing their work early.
As Mets fans, you should appreciate this more than most, particularly during the Minaya reign. You saw Pedro Martinez make $13 million to look like a broken-down legend. You saw Oliver Perez sign a three-year, $36-million deal, then head off to last year's World Baseball Classic and treat it like sleepaway camp, horsing around with his buddies and neglecting to actually prepare for the regular season.
You saw the Mets give up a bushel full of players for J.J. Putz, only to see Putz (another WBC "casualty") contribute practically nothing. You saw Luis Castillo redeem himself in 2009 with a solid season offensively, and still, you yearned for a second baseman who could actually reach balls three feet away and could hit balls onto the warning track of any stadium, let alone Citi Field.
So now, if the Mets hold the line on Jason Bay, and an unwilling Bay somehow winds up back with the Red Sox? So be it. The word for "crisis" might not actually be the word for "opportunity" in Chinese, but in this case, better to not sign Bay _ and spend those allocated resources in multiple places - than to overpay him.
Or better, honestly, to pocket some of that money and see what trade possibilities present themselves during the season - and then look forward, as Minaya's New York counterpart Brian Cashman has said so openly, to a fantastic free-agent class next year.
But to get worked up over the Mets' inaction, when it's their overly aggressive actions over the prior five years that have them in this mess? I don't understand that.
Minaya has lost the benefit of the doubt. That, I get. Which, to address this from a most cynical perspective, is all the more reason Mets fans should be happy that he hasn't done much this winter. Why weigh down his successor with more bad contracts?
--As for the Red Sox bringing back Bay (thanks to Buster Olney's blog for the link to the Boston Globe story), gosh, that seems like a stretch. I don't think the Red Sox signed Mike Cameron to make him a part-time player. Trading Jacoby Ellsbury for Adrian Gonzalez, moving Cameron back to centerfield and signing Bay to play leftfield would make immense sense, in a vacuum, but 1) It appears the Padres just don't want to trade Gonzalez a this point, and 2) that chain of moves would seem to contradict Theo Epstein's general emphasis on youth and payroll flexibility.
In any case, the fact that, as Nick Cafardo reported, Bay's agent has been calling the Red Sox doesn't bode well at all for the Mets. Which, again, isn't the end of the world.
--Nick Johnson spoke to reporters on a conference call, and said he told his agent at the outset of free agency that the Yankees were his first choice. Even knowing of Johnson's injury history, it still takes you aback when you look at how much time he has missed.
I think the best way to describe Johnson is "accident-prone" or, if you want to be more critical, "brittle." Look at the breakdown of the breakdowns:
2008 - Injured his right wrist tendon sheath on a swing.
2006 - Broke right femur on a collision with teammate Austin Kearns. Proceeded to miss the entire 2007 campaign.
2004 - Strained his lumbar to start the season, and broke his cheekbone in a game.
2003 - Suffered a stress fracture of a bone in his right hand, a hitting injury.
2000 - Strained a muscle in his right hand on a checked swing in spring training, and missed the entire season.
Remarkable. Can he follow up his relatively healthy 2009 with the same in 2010? It can't hurt (pun intended) that he'll be playing for another contract.
--Odd decision by the Angels to sign Fernando Rodney to an expensive, two-year deal. Not exactly a sign of confidence in closer Brian Fuentes. With the Nationals adding a closer in Matt Capps, and the market for closers diminishing, it's increasingly evident that Jose Valverde should have accepted arbitration from Houston. As a Type A free agent, he faces a daunting landscape in which teams aren't going to want to give up a draft pick to sign him.
--The Braves signed Troy Glaus, which could be a good "buy low" proposition, although the terms aren't clear yet. With this righty bat in the fold - and presumably for few dollars - you'd think they'd have an increasing interest in Johnny Damon, who is still durable and who badly wants to play for them.