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Baseball Card of the Day: 2006 Topps Factory Set Bonus Henry Owens

I barely remember Henry Owens, the right-handed relief pitcher who appeared in three games for the 2006 New York Mets before being traded to the Florida Marlins for Jason Vargas. (In a few years, I will probably get him confused with Henry Owens, the left-handed starting pitcher who plays in the the Boston Red Sox organization.)

Henry-Owens Henry-Owens-B

In fact, if it weren’t for baseball cards I’m sure I would have forgotten the Owens that played for the Mets by now. He came to mind because I recently ran across this 2006 Topps Factory Set bonus card when I was looking through rkcollectibles‘ eBay inventory to see if they had anything else I might need when I bought my 2014 Stadium Club Mets team set.

In a bid to sell more factory sets in 2006, Topps included five cards from a 20-card bonus set of rookies along with all of the regular cards from Series 1 and 2. Unfortunately for collectors, Nick Markakis is the best player in the set and most are guys like Owens who didn’t manage to stick around for long.

When I bought the card for a dollar, I thought it might be Owens’ only one as a Met.  I was wrong – he’s got more Mets baseball cards than Mets innings pitched (2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects, 2006 Bowman Prospects, 2006 Topps 52, and 2006 Upper Deck in addition to this one.)

At least I probably still need it for my 2006 Mets team set (I haven’t checked yet.)

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So when can we start talking about baseball again?

ESPN New York (and to a lesser extent, the other New York media outlets) have been pushing their Wilpon finances stories for the past couple of days. Andrew Marchand was particularly obnoxious: “That is why my teammate Adam Rubin‘s excellent piece on how the Wilpons will either end up keeping or losing the team will certainly be the most important thing you read on the team today and possibly this year.”

If you’ve been paying attention at all, there’s not a lot of new information in the ESPN New York articles… but I suppose they’ll be convenient references if you need to catch up. Newsday and the New York Times have updates on the Irving Picard court case, if you’re looking for something more news-ish.

Back to the ESPN New York pieces, on Thursday Rubin wrote that the Mets might have made the biggest one-year cut to their payroll in MLB history. And that certainly appears to be true, if we’re just talking about actual dollar value. (The Texas Rangers’ payroll dropped $48.4 million from 2003 to 2004; the projection is for the Mets’ payroll to fall $52.1 million from 2011 to 2012.)

But raw dollars are only part of the story. Rubin’s article includes data for six teams, and the Mets are actually making the smallest percentage reduction of any of them. The Florida Marlins slashed their payroll by 75 percent from 2005 to 2006. The Kansas City Royals chopped their payroll in half from 2010 to 2011. By comparison, the Mets’ cuts are projected to come in at 36 percent.

John Maine (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Mets are not spending enough to field a strong team, given how much money is tied up in unproductive players signed to bad contracts. But it seems disingenuous to pretend that what the Mets did this off-season is worse than the Florida Marlins’ firesale after 2005.

On a different subject, can someone tell me to pronounce Matt Tuiasosopo‘s name?  The Mets have signed the 25-year-old utility player to a minor league contract. (I don’t imagine I’m going to have fun trying to remember how to spell his name, either, should I need to write it in on my scorecards this year.)

In other minor league signings, the Phillies added outfielder Juan Pierre and the Boston Red Sox are giving former Mets pitcher John Maine a shot.

Just 23 days to the official start of spring training for the New York Mets… baseball season can’t come soon enough.

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Tuesday Night News & Notes

 

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About last night

R.A. Dickey (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets beat the Florida Marlins in their final meeting at Sun Life Stadium last night. R.A. Dickey, Josh Stinson and Manny Acosta combined on a five-hit shutout as the Mets won 1-0.

It’s clear that Dickey is the best pitcher in the Mets rotation at this point, but he didn’t face a star-studded lineup. Hanley Ramirez is on the disabled list, Mike Stanton is limited to pinch-hitting duty by a leg injury… even recent Met killer Greg Dobbs was on the bench. Meanwhile, the Mets hitters could do little with Brad Hand. The Mets need more talented players, but aside from getting Ike Davis back next year I couldn’t tell you where they’re going to get them.

Continue reading “About last night”

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Mets change the script, still lose

Jason Isringhausen (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

After tying the game in the ninth only to lose on Sunday and Monday, the Mets changed the script last night. On Tuesday, they fell behind early but rallied and took a 3-2 lead to the ninth.

Jason Isringhausen blew it. He walked Logan Morrison to start the inning, then gave up a hit to Mike Cameron and hit John Buck to load the bases. Bryan Petersen hit a weak ground ball to Justin Turner, who threw wide of Lucas Duda and suddenly the Marlins had a 4-3 lead. Maybe it’s time to reconsider playing Daniel Murphy – and his .319 batting average – at second base.

I know it’s time to start giving Bobby Parnell the save opportunities. Sure, he might blow them too – he was responsible for Sunday’s loss in Washington, after all. But the 26-year-old Parnell could be part of the Mets’ future; the 38-year-old Isringhausen is not.

Continue reading “Mets change the script, still lose”