"Boy, our bullpen is getting worse by the day. No Chad Bradford, no Guillermo Mota for 50 games, and now, no Darren Oliver. This is getting ridiculous. And do you think maybe you can update your blog more than once a week before the tumbleweeds blow through? I appreciate your optimism, but you're a hump". -reader with dark Chi, in a quote heavily paraphrased and creatively licensed.So let me get this straight: In a shark infested free agent market for pitchers, Darren Oliver takes advantage of the opportunity to triple his salary...and I'm the bad guy?
But dear readers, what surprises me is that Oliver is going to the Angels to resume the very same role he had as a Met. One would think that his six inning liferaft in Game three of the NLCS would have opened some eyes as to his ability as a starting pitcher...and in this market, you would have thought that Oliver would have seized the opportunity to elevate his role with a desperate team like Kansas City or Milwaukee.
Instead, he joins a solid Angels bullpen with nary an overture by the Mets.
Curiously, the Mets are gambling that lightning doesn't strike twice. Blueback Bradford was one story, with Omar Minaya not willing to give three additional seasons to a submariner with back issues. But Darren Oliver is an entirely different ballgame. We all assumed that Cousin Oliver would be a goner with the money flying around for starters...but the Angels signed him relatively cheap for the same role as he had before. At about $1.75 million for one season (with a $2 million) that's just about triple what Oliver made in '06 ($600 K). Consider that the Mets just about tripled Jose Valentin's salary in signing him for '07, but wouldn't do so with the similarly aged Oliver. As Dark Chi so eloquently put it (well, more like he grunted it to me while at the Fatburger drive-thru) why wouldn't you work to keep together the strength of your club, which is the bullpen?
The Chi's answer to the Dark Chi would be that just as with the reasoning for not offering a third season to match Chad Bradford, relievers rarely have two good seasons in a row. And add to that the fact that the Mets will have plenty of internal candidates to take over for Cousin...to name a handful: Jason Vargas, Dave Williams, Jon Adkins, Phil Humber...heck even Orlando Hernandez if Minaya acquires enough top end starting talent (hint hint).
Now if Dark Chi had come complaining to me about Jesus Flores becoming the new Dan Uggla in '07 after the Nats took him from the Mets as a Rule V player, then I would have understood.
Speaking of Dark Chi, what if Keith Partridge and Kelly Leak had a child?
That's right, you get SNY's newest employee.
Yes, Lee Mazzilli is returning, somewhat, to his roots, as he will be a studio analyst for Mets Post Game Live with Matt Yallof on the Home Of The Mets That Sometimes Runs Derek Jeter Commercials, Sports Net New York. It's a homecoming made possible by the fact that Mazzilli couldn't find a job after being fired as a manager, and then as a bench coach. So when Mazzilli says "I love the fact that I'm coming back to work for the team that originally drafted me", he really means "I needed a job on a major league bench but was having no luck...even Art Howe was more desired than I was...so it was time to fall back to television. But when my smooth television persona and my good looks land me a managerial opening I'm sooooooooooo outta here." Of course, this move never happens without Keith Hernandez's desire to expand his vacation time to 130 games in 2007.
Of course, with Mazzilli's expansive infusion of Yankee blood, we can expect to hear such riveting analysis such as "Well, when I was a Yankee coaching under Joe Torre...", and "When I was the first base coach and Todd Zeile blatently interfered with Chuck Knoblauch on the basepaths..."
How I bet you will not be hearing Mazzilli starting a sentence will be:
- "Well I managed Sammy Sosa, so I have some experience with corked bats, and..."
- "Speaking of syringes, I managed Rafael Palmeiro, and you know I looked like Palmeiro way back in 1982..."
- "Hey, with the success of my run in 'Tony and Tina's wedding'..."
Italian Stallion Live...only on SNY in '07.