Though the Daily News’ Adam Rubin falls in line with conjecture that Mike Piazza will not return to Flushing next spring, Newsday’s Wally Matthews claims there’s still a chance the NY catcher — currently talking about his troubles with sidearm pitchers during today’s Red Sox/White Sox massacre — will be back.
(whoever said May/September relationships can’t work doesn’t know anything about Mike Piazza and Charlie Samuels)
Conventional wisdom says Piazza, 37 years old and with a right arm best used for waving bye-bye to opposing baserunners, is headed to the American League, where he conceivably still can command healthy dollars as a designated hitter.
But conventional wisdom often is sadly mistaken. “Mike may not want to go to the American League, you know?” Minaya said. “At the right price, I think we could find a spot for him here.”
What the “right price” is has yet to be determined, but obviously, it would be nowhere close to the $91 million, seven-year deal he just completed. “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Jeff Borris, Piazza’s agent said.
And yet, the Mets might be willing to spend some serious money to lure Piazza back for another year or two. At some point, they have to move on, but apparently, they haven’t reached that point yet.
Although he got the last important hit of their season, a three-run homer in the eighth inning against the Phillies on Aug. 30 that left the Mets a mere game out of the NL wild-card spot, the Mets don’t seem to consider Ramon Castro a long-term option behind the plate.
In fact, among the only available free-agent catchers out there is the Padres’ Ramon Hernandez, a 29-year-old who hit .290 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs and missed 63 games with a knee injury. And Hernandez wouldn’t come dirt cheap, he made $4.3 million in 2005 and will expect a big raise.
No NL catcher hit more homers than Metal Mike last year (19 in 383 AB’s), and the Piazza/Castro tandem combined for 103 RBI’s. If you get past the inferior defense, the Mets could do a lot worse than Mike Piazza hitting 6th or 7th.
What might’ve been Piazza’s final game in a Mets uniform happened to coincide with the only area appearance of Belle & Sebastian, who played Sunday night at Keyspan Park, home of the Mets’ single- A NYPL affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones. The Glasgow band’s career is none the worse for wear following the release of “Piazza, New York Catcher”, though it is a shame they couldn’t have been invited to take part in the tributes taking place at Shea earlier in the afternoon.