Ruben Tejada has more errors than hits this spring, but manager Terry Collins gave him a vote of confidence on Thursday.
“I talked to him today about trying to relax a little bit,” Collins said, according to Michael J. Fensom of The Star-Ledger. “I said, ‘Listen, you’re the shortstop here. Your name and your number are going to be in the lineup. Go be the player we know you can be.”
It’s nice that somebody is showing a little faith in Tejada, no matter how misguided it might turn out to be. After all, there’s really no one else in camp now that can play shortstop every day at the major league level.
Word comes this morning from New York Post writer Josh Kosman that New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz have made their biggest move of the off-season. Thanks to an increase in franchise value as a result of the record sale price of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, Wilpon and Katz had no difficulty finding banks willing to refinance a loan weeks ahead of the due date of a $250 million principal payment.
The new loan still has to be approved by Major League Baseball, but with Fred Wilpon’s good friend Bud Selig still in charge, that’s likely to be a formality.
What this means:Wilpon and Katz, who might have been forced to sell the team if the refinancing negotiations went badly, will continue to own the Mets for the foreseeable future.
The payroll will continue to hover around its current range, and Sandy Alderson (or whoever takes over for him if his contract is not extended) will have to continue to look to the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays for a blueprint to possible success. Not ideal, but not quite completely hopeless.
Terry Collins sure knows how to spread excitement about the 2013 New York Mets, doesn’t he?
“If you’re talking about a guy who’s in this camp who has a chance to make a huge difference besides Lucas Duda, it might be Marlon Byrd,” Collins said. “This guy was one of the best players in the National League not very long ago. If he’s the same player he was in Chicago a couple of years ago, we might have found ourselves the right fielder. I know he’s that kind of talent.” (as reported by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo)
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to buy a Marlon Byrd jersey to go along with the Lucas Duda one I (don’t) already have.
In other Mets spring training news this week:
Jenrry Mejia hasn’t arrived in camp yet because authorities are reviewing his identity. Supposedly he was just picked for a random check… let’s hope he’s not “the pitcher formerly known as Jenrry Mejia” by the time he gets here. I’d guess that barring an injury or trade to open a door for him, the delay will cost Mejia whatever chance he had to open the season with the Mets.
Fred Wilpon said stuff, but I wasn’t paying attention. I’ll be interested in what he has to say when he’s accepting a World Series trophy or announcing plans to sell the team… until then, it’s just so much hot air.
And a couple of other stories that caught my eye:
Jose Reyes is talking about Jeffrey Loriaagain, though it seems like that’s mostly the media’s fault. We get it – Loria is the worst boss ever. (Well, unless you have to work in the real world where you don’t get paid $10 million a year – then Loria is just a rich jerk.) It’s time to see if Reyes can help the Blue Jays win – it seems like that would be the best way to stick it to Loria and the Mets front office that he believes didn’t appreciate him.
The Washington Nationals might not carry a lefty specialist. “We’re going to go with the best guys,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Nationals Insider writer Mark Zuckerman. “The amount of left-handed relievers has never been a priority to me. Mostly because we’ve got right-handers that can get left-handers out. And it coincides with Davey [Johnson]‘s managerial style.”
Think about that for a second – the defending National League East champion isn’t going to worry about having a Tim Byrdak or a Pedro Feliciano just to play lefty-righty matchups. It’s almost enough to make me a Nationals fan. (Of course, Rizzo is also the “genius” that decided to shut down his team’s best pitcher in the middle of a pennant race.)
On bright side, we’re a week away from the Mets’ first spring training game, and about six weeks from the start of the season. Baseball will probably be more fun with actual games. I hope.
“Now I can smile again,” Fred Wilpon said after the settlement was announced, according to Newsday. “Our first priority is getting down to Florida tomorrow to try to bring the Sterling [Equities] Mets back to prominence. Our fans deserve it.”
Point taken. Instead, let me point out a different t-shirt – one being sold by Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling‘s non-profit foundation to honor Gary Carter‘s memory and raise money for a hospice that provides care for the terminally ill. (via The Real Dirty Mets Blog)