Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tick, Tick, Tick

For the second time this January, a Texas team is on the clock. And for the second time the Mets are hoping for a buzzer beater. We are all in the dark as to actual numbers, but unlike my fellow writers in the mainstream media I won't make any uneducated guesses as to what each team is offering Carlos Delgado. It is being reported that Texas wants an answer by Sunday. If true, this is good news for the Mets. Other reports claim that Omar Minaya is pondering whether or not to try to outbid the competitors for the left-handed slugger. Delgado's agent, a guy who issues press releases each time he gets a phone call, had this to say today:

"I had extensive telephone conversations today with representatives of the Mets, Orioles and Rangers and a face-to-face meeting with the Marlins due to the proximity," agent David Sloane, who lives in Florida, said in an e-mail.

It is, and has been, my firm belief that Delgado wants to play for the Mets. I don't think this was true in December, but the sudden ascension of Met fortunes has grabbed Delgado's attention. For these reasons the Mets are now attractive to Carlos. But, like most humans, he will chase the money. In Delgado's case, however, I don't believe he'll make this his sole consideration. If the Rangers offer $48 million for 4 years, and the Mets offer $33 million for 3 years, I believe Delgado will don a 10 gallon hat and tatoo a lone star on his arse. But, if the Mets offer $45 million or something close to the Ranger offer, then I believe that Carlos Delgado will become a Met. Why do I believe this? Well, mostly because I want to. Also because Delgado is a guy who has languished in what has become a lukewarm baseball climate. New York would offer him the most exciting atmosphere to spend the latter days of his possible Hall of Fame career. He is good friends with Carlos Beltran. He is, by all accounts, a cultured, intelligent person. New York just seems right for him.

To prove the extent of my delusional ponderings, I also am reading into his agent's statement. Why are the Mets mentioned first? There was a 25% chance of this happening. Shouldn't the Marlins be first? They met with him face to face. What about Texas? They have the most money on the table. Why the Metropolitans? Because this is where Delgado wants to be. And if Omar is thinking about raising the ante, then my strong hunch is that he will do so. The truth is, however, that we have no idea what Omar is doing. This has been true all winter. To me, this proves the extent of his power and influence in the Met organization. He has changed the entire culture. It used to be an amateurish, gossipy, loose-lipped organization. Now they operate with the secrecy of the CIA. This is a welcome change and a sound negotiating strategy.

Why is Texas even in this thing? They don't need Delgado at all. They are a good team that needs pitching. Their tussle with the Mets should have been for Pedro Martinez. They have a great, young, slugging first baseman in Mark Texiera. It just seems that their owner woke up one day this week and decided that he had to have a free agent and Delgado was the only sexy one left. Well, Mr. Hicks, I don't think you're getting him. Sometime next week, let's say Wednesday or Thursday, the Mets will break out the good china and hand a jersey with #25 on it to a very large gentleman named Carlos Delgado. He'll smile, we'll all smile, and then we'll bide our time until pitchers and catchers report.

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