Robbie Alomar wants to be a Met for life or at least as long as is financially worthwhile. Unfortunately for him, the Mets are not extending his soon-to-expire contract. Apparently, they have a whole boatload of players that are in the final year of their contract, to whom they have not offered any extensions for next year.
Robbie is disappointed. You see, he told every newspaper reporter in New York that he wanted to retire a Met:
"Maybe I felt upset about it, because I wanted to be a New York Met," Alomar said. "I'm not offended that they didn't offer me a contract. Maybe I'm a little sad that I might not be here after next year."
"I want to be a Met until I retire," Alomar said. "But at the same time, you don't know what's going to happen. I have one more year to go, and I feel comfortable on the team."
Normally, I would say that this is bad business even with today's downward spiraling baseball salaries. This team could win their division and sneak into the Series. Or it could capsize on departure like last year. Either way, this is an old team that will be revamped, possibly from the GM on down.
Alomar is a probable Hall-of-Famer coming off the worst year (by far) of his career. The Mets could get him at a bargain-basement price if he returns to his 2001 brilliance. But then again he is 35 and may never play at his previous level again. This year will be his proving grounds. If he starts strong, the Mets may reconsider. However, given the Mets eventual rebuilding, having a 36-year-old starting second baseman in 2004 probably is not in their plans unless that second baseman is the Alomar of old. Then again, how many positions can the already-legendary Ty Wigginton cover?
In other Mets news: According to the AP, Shinjo arrived in camp in style:
Making a spring training entrance befitting a rock star, Shinjo stepped out of a stretch limousine Tuesday dressed in denim jeans and a denim jacket with the collar turned up. In his right hand, he carried a bat bag that some observers likened to a guitar case.
Great, now if he could only hit his weight...
Art Howe is pleased:
Howe thinks that Shinjo can return to being the hitter he was in his last stint with the Mets.
``It looks like he did two years ago,'' Howe said. ``He's had success with the Mets in the past and that should make him feel good mentally.''
Great, so instead of being an abysmal hitter, he'll just be a poor one.
Mo Vaughn was a description, not a name, last year. Well, Vaughn showed up n camp a few (~25) pounds lighter. He thinks that this will help revive his career:
"I haven't had four good years," Vaughn said. "It's about time I'm capable of doing the things I'm capable of doing. I didn't play two years ago, but I showed signs in the second half what can happen if I get some consistency. I look forward to it now. I'm prepared. I have stuff going on in my mind that's positive."
Vaughn has certainly declined, though he is still a useful hitter. Perhaps he is better suited to the AL where he can DH at least part of the time. That said, even if Vaughn goes on the Jarrod-Subway diet, it is highly doubtful that he will be able to be the player he once was. The man is 35 and has suffered the typical decline attendant with his age.
Could Vaughn have another 40-homer, .300 BA year? Sure, stranger things have happened, but I don't think the Mets can bank on it. Four years isn't a slump, it's an established level.
Should that stop him from getting himself in shape? Of course not. It can't hurt, but how much it will help is debatable. If nothing else, it will help him field a grounder or two this year.