Jon Niese opposes Detroit's Brad Penny in Lakeland as baseball now takes center stage with the drama of releases and lawsuits over ... at least for now.
On to Tuesday's news reports:
• The Daily News reports Fred and Jeff Wilpon aren't looking to sell a specific minority percentage of the team. Instead, they want $200 million. Then the percentage will be determined based on how the parties view the overall value of the team. For instance, 33 percent ownership if the sides agree the Mets are worth $600 million, or 25 percent if the sides agree the club is worth $800 million.
Of course, the complicating factor is that if there is $500 million or so in debt borrowed against the team, the value may be greatly depressed since you would seem to be buying into a share of that amount owed too.
• The Times' Jay Schreiber goes back and looks at the 45-page marketing binder that agent Scott Boras prepared when he was pitching Oliver Perez to the Mets and other teams as a free agent. Writes Schreiber:
Consider the table of contents in the binder, with headings that include: Perez Is One of Baseball’s Top 5 Left-Handed Starting Pitchers; Durable Perez; and A Rare Young Left-Handed Starting Pitcher Available on the Free-Agent Market. Or the heading on Page 3 of the binder, which states: Perez Follows Footsteps of Hall of Fame Pitcher Sandy Koufax. That entry then argues through statistical breakdowns that Perez’s career from ages 20 to 26 was similar to Koufax’s from ages 19 to 26, and implies that just as Koufax became great at 27, so might Perez. Page 5 of the binder makes a similar comparison between Perez and Randy Johnson.
• Newsday's Anthony Rieber believes the Mets did themselves a disservice by bringing Perez and Luis Castillo to camp, even though Sandy Alderson said he had no regrets because he wanted to see the players firsthand rather than act rashly. Writes Rieber:
Spring training is a time for hope, even if there's no evidence your team is going to be good. What the Mets did by keeping Castillo and Perez until the last few days was rob the die-hards of the pleasure of deluding themselves. Want to fantasize about Brad Emaus turning into a Rule 5 gem the way Dan Uggla did for the Marlins? Mets fans couldn't even dream about it without Castillo invading their subconscious.
• Jason Bay, who by the way has scrapped his new batting stance, describes the Perez news this way to the Post's Mike Puma: "At the risk of it sounding bad, there is a little bit of closure. It kind of brings a little more finality to those scenarios. From a player's point of view, you hate to see the answer be two guys go home, but there was going to be a decision made, one way or the other. ... The way things have gone, people would wait for the first thing, to pile on, and then it becomes another entity. It gets a life of its own and it gets in here. That was the unfortunate circumstance both those guys were in."
• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro believes Bay, Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez may be next on the Citi dwellers most-likely-to-be-booed list. Writes Vaccaro:
A word of advice to Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran: Get off to hot starts. An additional suggestion to Francisco Rodriguez: Replicate your perfect spring come April. Because you three, sirs, are the next men up. They don't have Ollie to kick around anymore. Don't have Luis to boo anymore. Until he shows up in a Phillies uniform, anyway.
• Daily News columnist Filip Bondy has the same theme. Writes Bondy:
You sometimes got the feeling this winter that Luis Castillo and Perez were just being kept around for the inevitable sighs of relief that would come with the good riddances. Nobody took seriously these last-gasp auditions, particularly in the case of Perez. Now, though, the Mets have run out of scapegoats -- at least the ones they can dump before the end of this season. Castillo is gone and may yet come back to haunt his old team with the Phils. Ollie is gone. [Omar] Minaya's mistakes are no longer back-page headlines. In order to distract us, the Mets may have to trot out their 1986 stars on many occasions, the way the Rangers always find another way to honor the 1994 Stanley Cup champions.
• Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal said too much attention was placed on Perez and Castillo. He writes:
For all the attention they got this spring, there are about 50 more important reasons the Mets will win or lose this summer. Among them: Carlos Beltran's knees, Johan Santana's shoulder, Jose Reyes's legs, Chris Young's shoulder, Chris Capuano's elbow and Jason Bay's power stroke. That isn't to say the Mets made the wrong moves in cutting Castillo and Perez. Whatever edge Castillo had in talent over his competitors for the second-base job wasn't substantial enough to justify the headache that would come with keeping him. And Perez's audition for a roster spot was a charade to begin with. If anything, the Mets waited too long to release them, allowing them to overshadow just about everything else going on in spring training.
• Jose Reyes tells Newsday's Jim Baumbach he's happy Luis Castillo landed with the Phillies. Reyes tells Baumbach that Castillo had "too much pressure on him here" and suggested "he can still play." The Phillies will only have to Castillo $414,000 -- the major league minimum -- if he makes the club, which is not assured. Castillo signed a minor league deal. The Mets would then only have to pay Castillo $5,586,000 rather than $6 million during the upcoming season.
• The Mets were back in court Monday trying to get out of a lawsuit. They couldn't get this case tossed, but at least there's not $1 billion at stake. Writes Dareh Gregorian in the Post:
The beleagured owners of the Mets have lost their bid to wriggle out of a lawsuit by a fan who was injured by a falling fat guy at the old Shea Stadium. Sterling Mets had argued it shouldn't be held responsible for Ellen Massey's injuries, because the 300-pound Timothy Cassidy's five row fall onto her neck was "spontaneous and unexpected," and could not have been prevented.
• Because Sandy Alderson may not want to lose a pitcher to waivers to carry a pitcher who could be lost to injury quickly, Jason Isringhausen's brief shutdown with right elbow inflammation could affect his ability to make the team. Isringhausen has orally taken anti-inflammatory medication. "I’ve been throwing a lot more breaking balls," Isringhausen tells the Record's Steve Popper. "It causes [rotation] in my forearm and that leads right into the muscle. I’m not worried at all. I’ve done a lot of work to get ready and I’m at a point where I can take a day, long toss [today] and I think I’m already ready for the season."
BIRTHDAYS: Ike Davis turns 24. ... Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith, now with the Cleveland Indians, turns 27.