March 2011

Welcome to the new Mets Cetera

This is more of a test post than anything, as I familiarize myself with the new setup here at Mets Cetera. MLB pro blogs underwent a major overhaul today, converting to WordPress. The hope is that with this new platform, we will be able to provide you with timelier and more dynamic content as we link here from Twitter and the MLB.com homepage. All I ask is you be patient as I work out the kinks in learning this new system.

Consider it something akin to Jason Bay working out the kinks in his new stance.

Actually, bad example. Bay scrapped the new stance last week. But you know what I mean.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Jay Horwitz outshines Carlos Beltran

You asked for it, now you have it. Exclusive video of Mets PR man Jay Horwitz running the bases during Carlos Beltran’s simulated game today:

Congratulations, Jay.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

The final word on Oliver Perez

Don’t believe players when they say that personnel issues aren’t distractions. They are, plain and simple. Whether such distractions are generated by the media, by fans, by management or by the players themselves often varies from case to case, but a distraction is a distraction is a distraction.

ollieshrug.jpgOliver Perez was a distraction.

Contrary to popular belief, Perez was genuinely liked in the Mets clubhouse. “It’s one thing if a guy comes in and he doesn’t do anything,” teammate Mike Pelfrey said after Perez’s release Monday. “That pisses guys off. But he continued to work.”

The roots of Perez’s charred reputation in New York probably stemmed from February of 2009, when he reported to camp out of shape mere weeks after inking the largest contract of his life, the three-year, $36-million pact that runs through this season. Before that spring, Perez was enigmatic, with electric stuff and a frustrating inability to harness it. After it, he was overpaid and lazy. Perceptions can change just that quickly.

And reputations can be difficult to shed. In the wake of Perez’s release, several players admitted that the left-hander’s presence in camp had indeed become a distraction, regardless of their personal opinions of the man. That does not mean that inviting him to Spring Training was a mistake — with $12 million on the line, the Mets had every right to exhaust all options before cutting him lose. All it means is that now, with Perez officially gone, the club can move on. Can really, honestly, genuinely move on.

Manager Terry Collins spent a solid five minutes Monday raving about his other bullpen options (remember them?), something that would have carried little interest one day earlier. Over the past week in particular, thoughts of Perez and Luis Castillo have so dominated camp on a day-to-day basis that nothing else seemed to matter.

Now, everything else matters.

“At the risk of sounding bad, there’s a little bit of closure,” said Jason Bay, a teammate in New York and Pittsburgh who, like so many others, referred to Perez as a likable teammate.

“We love those guys,” shortstop Jose Reyes said of Perez and Castillo. “It’s not like they were bad teammates. Everybody loved those guys in the clubhouse.”

Perhaps that’s another reason why closure is important. Over the last four and a half years, for good and for bad (and admittedly, mostly for bad), Perez had been an integral part of the Mets. Now he is an ex-Met. Now the Mets can move on, without making any allowances, without making any exceptions and — perhaps most importantly — without answering any more questions.

Now, in other words, the Mets can play baseball.

That’s important.

“It’s time to move on,” Collins said. “It’s time to turn the page, and now let’s talk about who is going to be here and what this club’s going to be about right now.”

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Mets officially face $1 billion lawsuit

A full story detailing Irving Picard’s amended lawsuit is coming later today on MLB.com. For now, here’s a copy of the Picard’s press release detailing the suit, via the trustee’s web site:

NEW YORK, NY – March 18, 2011 – Irving H. Picard, the Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”) today announced the filing of an amended complaint, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, against Sterling Equities (“Sterling”), its partners, their family members, and certain related trusts and entities (collectively, the “Sterling Defendants”).

The amended complaint provides additional specific detail and quantification of the alleged fraudulent transfers from BLMIS received by the Sterling Defendants.

In addition to the approximately $300 million in fictitious profits received by the Sterling Defendants cited in the original complaint, the amended complaint states that the Trustee seeks more than $700 million in alleged fraudulent transfers of principal received by the Sterling Defendants, bringing the total recoveries sought by the Trustee from the Sterling Defendants to more than $1 billion. The additional alleged fraudulent transfers of principal occurred during the six years prior to the December 2008 commencement of the BLMIS liquidation proceeding and include preferential transfers received by the Sterling Defendants within the 90-day period prior to the filing date.

“The amended complaint sheds more light on the deep dependency of the Sterling business
organization on the continuation of the Madoff fraud and certain knowledge of indicia of fraud by the Sterling partners,” said David J. Sheehan, counsel to the Trustee and a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP, the court-appointed counsel for the Trustee.

“Perhaps the most telling evidence of Sterling’s dependency on Madoff is the fact that postrevelation of Madoff’s fraud, the Sterling partners were forced to negotiate with at least seven lender banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, HSBC, M&T, Wachovia, and Bank of New York (the “Lender Banks”), to restructure more than a half-billion dollars in collective debt – not just the millions of dollars of debt secured by the Leveraged KW BLMIS Accounts,” said Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr., counsel to the Trustee and a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP.

As described in the amended complaint, in the aftermath of the discovery of the Madoff fraud, with full notice of the potential liability to the Trustee faced by the Sterling Defendants, Sterling and the Lender Banks entered into various restructuring credit facilities containing certain provisions that attempted to circumvent any potential recovery action initiated by the Trustee.

“The restructuring demonstrates both Sterling’s and the Lender Banks’ serious concerns regarding potential recoveries by the Trustee, and supports the Trustee’s contention that the Sterling Defendants were inextricably bound to the Madoff fraud,” said Mr. Bohorquez.

The amended complaint also provides additional substantiation of the inter-dependent relationship between Sterling and BLMIS as well as certain Sterling partners’ knowledge of Madoff’s dishonesty in his investment advisory business. For instance, the amended complaint details a multi-milliondollar interest- and cost-free bridge loan from Madoff to Sterling in connection with its purchase of the broadcast rights for the New York Mets from Cablevision. This transaction was documented by a single letter agreement that falsely described the loan as an “investment” by Ruth Madoff in the company that would later become the SNY network.

The Sterling complaint was initially filed under seal on December 7, 2010 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The original complaint was unsealed on February 4, 2011.

In addition to Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Bohorquez, the Trustee acknowledges the contributions of the Baker & Hostetler attorneys who worked on this filing: Lauren Resnick, Kathryn Zunno, Steven Goldberg, Amanda Fein, Keith Murphy, Marc Skapof, George Klidonas, and Henry Bodenheimer.

***

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/17

We’re now two weeks away from Opening Day, and I still have no idea who the starting second baseman will be in Flushing. And I’m pretty sure the Mets have no idea either.

Manager Terry Collins has taken time this week to praise Luis Hernandez, who started at second base for the Mets down the stretch last season. But with nothing more than a handful of spring statistics under his belt, has he really leapfrogged Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Luis Castillo in the competition? Seems unlikely, though perhaps Hernandez could land a bench role in lieu of Chin-lung Hu. Anything’s possible. To that end, it would still surprise me to see Castillo on the Opening Day roster…but it certainly wouldn’t shock me.

For now, I suppose, I’ll stick with Emaus, my original pick. But I will remove Carlos Beltran from the projected roster, under the growing assumption that he will start the season on the disabled list. I just can’t see him being ready in two weeks’ time.

C – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Angel Pagan
OF – Lucas Duda
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz
RP – Jason Isringhausen*
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Luis Hernandez, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/10

I’m not going to count Carlos Beltran out for Opening Day just yet, considering the company line is a minor case of tendinitis. But if Beltran continues to sit out Grapefruit League games, he could have to start the season on the disabled list, possibly pushing Nick Evans, Lucas Duda or Fernando Martinez onto the Opening Day roster.

Also, if Brad Emaus continues to struggle, this may be the last week I project him onto the Opening Day roster. Even now, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt:

beltrandirty.jpgC – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Carlos Beltran
OF – Angel Pagan
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz
RP – Jason Isringhausen*
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Projecting the Opening Day roster: 3/3

Not much new this week, with only a small sample of Grapefruit League innings to analyze and little clarity in the second base competition. Pedro Beato has impressed Mets brass and could sneak onto the roster, as could left Pat Misch. But for now, I’ll stick with my guns (and I’ll include a picture of Jason Isringhausen, since the photos were not working last week):

izzypitching.jpgC – Josh Thole
1B – Ike Davis
2B – Brad Emaus
SS – Jose Reyes
3B – David Wright
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Carlos Beltran
OF – Angel Pagan
Bench – Chin-lung Hu
Bench – Daniel Murphy
Bench – Scott Hairston
Bench – Willie Harris*
Bench – Mike Nickeas

SP – Mike Pelfrey
SP – R.A. Dickey
SP – Jon Niese
SP – Chris Young
SP – Chris Capuano
RP – Francisco Rodriguez
RP – Bobby Parnell
RP – D.J. Carrasco
RP – Tim Byrdak*
RP – Taylor Buchholz*
RP – Jason Isringhausen
RP – Manny Acosta

In
the running: IF/OF Nick Evans, 2B Luis Castillo, IF Justin Turner, RHP
Dillon Gee, LHP Taylor Tankersley*, LHP Mike O’Connor*, LHP Oliver
Perez, LHP Pat Misch, RHP Pedro Beato, RHP Ryota Igarashi*, RHP Boof
Bonser*, RHP Blaine Boyer*.

*Denote non-roster invitee.

Comments: Nickeas makes the Opening Day roster due to the eight games remaining on Ronny Paulino’s PED suspension.

—–Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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