Author: Will Sommer
I recently did a phone interview with Ted Berg of Sny.tv. If you haven't read his column "Flushing Fussing" go there now.
- Unfortunately, we not talking about the post-season, we have to talk about the off-season, so let's get right into it. Who should be the Mets closer?
A. Tough question. I have a feeling the Mets will look to a trade. I don't think they want to spend the money it will take to get K-Rod. Locking up that much money in a closer is something I don't think they want to do again. So I'm thinking they will look for a JJ Putz or BJ Ryan in a trade unless no one is willing to spend as much on K-Rod as he wants and his price drops.
Q: What do you think about Joakim Soria ?
A. The Royals would listen. I have heard the talk but no way the Mets have what the Royals want unless you package Evans, Kunz, Martinez and Parnell in a deal but I don't see that happening. And the Royals don't want Delgado. They are looking to build. I would like it to be Joakim Soria the Mets closer but I don't think it will happen.
- Who goes and stays in Mets bullpen?
A. Joe Smith is young and best of group. I thinkStokes will get another chance because he throws hard and is inexpensive. Heilman and Schoenweis won't be back but I think Feliciano as a lefty specialist does stay.
Q. Can Smith pitch to lefties?
A. I don't know if he will be able to well enough to become the eighth inning guy or closer but he did show some improvement during the year. He is young and still learning so he could become a Quisenberry, Bradford or Ziegler as a sidearmer who can get guys out from both sides of the plate.
Q. How come the Mets haven't cut Amborix Burgos?
A. I'm sure it's a technicality. I can't imagine you'll see him ever again in a Mets uniform. I wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole.
Q. Luis Castillo was horrendous this year. Does he get traded?
A. I think so but don't know how. The Mets will have to eat most of his contract but it is an important PR move for the fans to get him out – he is a terrible reminder of a poorly thought-out contract signing. Just getting anything in return will be enough, even if they add him on to some other trade.
Q. Will Daniel Murphy be the starting 2b?
A. Tough call. So much hinges on how he does in Arizona. He may not be athletic like a typical second baseman. He isn't rangy but then neither is Jeff Kent. But if he is for real as a hitter he might have a home at 2b. I hope Murphy can make the move and the Mets will give him every chance. Or,I think they may go after Orlando Hudson. One thing for sure is it won't be Castillo.
Q. Do the Mets get Manny Ramirez?
A. Only know rumors from Jon Heyman but I don't think it would be a good move for the team.
Q. Does Fernando Martinez make the team out of spring training?
A. I don't see it happening. It looks like Martinez is still a full season away. He struck out a ton in Double A and against major league pitching at this point he might strike out every other at bat. Why take a chance with a 20-year-old starting in the outfield in what will be a heavy pressure situation next year for the Mets?
- Will Oliver Perez be back?
I don't think so.
Q. What about Pedro?
A. I think the Mets are leaning against that but may sign him to a small one-year deal. If he says he wants to come back they probably do sign him but not put a lot of faith in him. He would be a contingency plan at best. They won't expect him to be Pedro from 1999.
Q. If Perez and Pedro aren't in rotation, what does that mean for Jon Niese, Lowe or Sabathia?
A. Sabathia will cost a ton of money and after Santana I don't know if the Mets have the cash. They won't have anything left for the fill-in players they need. Lowe would be perfect for the Mets. He's 35 so he's a little old but he's so consistent pitching 200 innings every year since he became a starter. They need a solid second or third starter like him.
Q. I don't trust Niese.
A. He will get a long look in spring training but I'm with you that he may not be ready.
Q. Jerry Manuel is back but will there be coaching changes?
A. There will be some shakeup of the coaching staff. I thinkDan Warthen stays. He did a very nice job. I think Howard Johnson will be back as well. He and Manuel seemed to work well together. I'm not sure if Agauyo returns.
Q. Changing subjects a bit. How did you become SNY's lead writer?
- I had just about given up on sports journalism. It's a tough business to break into. I wrote in college and then interned at FOX in DC. I wanted to be on-air and sent a reel around but only got feelers from places I could never imagine moving to. I went to graduate school and then saw an ad on Craig's List and applied to MLB.com. I ended up on the reject pile but then got called because they thought I could write. I worked on the SNY website for MLB.com. My bosses liked my writing and moved me to SNY to do the job there I pretty much was doing at MLB.com.
Q. Are you recognized on the street?
A. No but I am at Shea sometimes. It will be a special day when I'm recognized on the street.
Q. How do you become a good sportswriter?
A. You need good luck. I got my job because I was lucky. But, you have to approach writing like a craft or skill. We have to constantly break down what makes for good sportswriting because you can always improve. You can learn from the players. Even after having a good game, David Wright will keep working to improve by hitting the weight room at night. There is too much poor sportswriting that you need to pay attention to the truly great writing. I think some of the best writing is sportswriting. Joe Posnaski (sp?) is among the greatest to learn from. You've got to keep reading and studying to improve.
Q. With the Mets out of it who do you want to win the World Series?
A. The Rays. Or, anyone else but the Phillies.