Could Griffey be dealt to Rays? (cont.)
Omar's call: Willie or won't he?
Willie Randolph's fate as Mets manager remains in GM Omar Minaya's hands, which is about the best (and maybe only) thing Randolph has going for him now. Randolph's status is said to be "up to Omar.''
Two days ago, Minaya once again told me regarding Randolph, "He's our manager right now. Willie has a contract for next year. I hope he's here for a long time. That's all I'm going to say.''
Since he said that, closer Billy Wagner has blown two saves in two days (though the Mets held on to win the first game), and the Mets remained three games below .500. Things appear to worsening by the day.
What to do about Mets?
Since the people on the inside don't appear to have the answer for what to do about the Mets, I asked an outsider, an executive with another team, who suggested the following:
1) Turn struggling reliever Aaron Heilman into a starter.
2) Trade or demote Carlos Delgado, and replace him with Nick Evans.
3) Bring up top prospect Fernando Martinez.
One by one, here's a review of those ideas.
1) While some other teams believe Heilman can start, the Mets don't see him that way. They see his mechanics as being conducive to no more than 100 innings per year. But a few other teams see his 95-mph fastball, excellent change and recent struggles in New York, and believe he'd succeed elsewhere as a starter. Asked if they might re-consider and make Heilman a starter, Minaya answered, "No.''
2) Eating Delgado's $14-million salary would seem to be a long shot. Mets people are monitoring his progress, but he seems to have improved in recent days, particularly since Randolph showed he might do a little platooning at first with the lefty-swinging Delgado. But if he starts to regress, Mets people will seek a right-handed hitter to platoon with him. Evans had a three-double big-league debut on May 24 but was demoted less than two weeks later when he started struggling. Minor leaguers Mike Carp (.351) and Dan Murphy (.325) are two corner players hitting well at Double A Binghamton. Of Delgado, Minaya said. "He's picked it up, he's seeing the ball better.''
3) With Ryan Church out with continuing symptoms following his second concussion and Moises Alou hurt yet again, the drumbeat to summon Martinez, the Mets' top prospect, will grow soon. One Mets official said only that he'll be here when he's ready. Martinez won many admirers this spring, but he isn't exactly tearing it up at Binghamton (.280, three home runs).
This is no game to Milton Bradley
After apparently hearing Royals TV announcer Ryan Lefebvre say something negative about him while inside the clubhouse between at-bats, Bradley reportedly became so upset that he left the clubhouse after the game in search of Lefebvre and got to within 20 feet of the broadcast booth before he was intercepted by Rangers GM Jon Daniels, who convinced Bradley to go back to the clubhouse. Daniels noted by phone that he's 5-foot-10 and 175 and never could have restrained Bradley, 6-foot-1, 230 and "ripped,'' if he'd actually gotten physical.
Daniels also said, "I think he's very accountable. He owns up to the issues he's had in the past. He just wants to push them behind him.'
Bradley was later heard to be crying and screaming, but apparently never got physical with anyone. Even so, this was no way for Bradley to react.
"We talked afterward, and I think we want to avoid a situation like that where the perception can become that Milton was looking for a conflict,'' Daniels said. "I happened to be there. And there was no aggressive action, and no foul language. [But] in the future, we're going to look for a different way to resolve it.''
It's understandable that Rangers people have come to Bradley's defense. Daniels pointed out that Bradley's teammates "love'' him and that Bradley has given to Rangers charities. Bradley also has played at an All-Star level after returning six months after knee surgery that was incurred last September when his then-manager Bud Black threw him down while trying to prevent a fight between Bradley and umpire Mike Winters, who was subsequently suspended for instigating that conflict.
Bradley's problem has always been his inability to let things go. I'm willing to let this one go since nothing major came of it (it didn't hurt that Daniels and manager Ron Washington were there to save the day), but the Rangers have to understand they are dealing with a time bomb. (Hopefully, Bradley didn't just read that.)
Will Freddy be ready?
Freddy Garcia threw 65 fastballs and changeups Thursday at "Hardball,'' an indoor facility near his Miami home, about 15 minutes south of where his old Phillies teammates were playing the Marlins. He was reported to have hit "85 mph,'' not too far from his velocity while helping the White Sox clinch the pennant in 2005. Garcia is aiming to showcase himself as a potential second-half savior for a contending team by early next month. He'll be a good catch for someone.