Mike Piazza Debuts on Hall of Fame Ballot; Deal for Wright is Closer Than We Think


Mike Piazza is officially taking his first crack at being selected into the Hall of Fame, as he was announced on the ballot yesterday. He joins a whole generation of stars from the steroid era, including Roger Clemens, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. The results of who will be inducted as part of the 2013 class will be revealed on January 9th; a player’s name must appear on at least 75% of ballots in order to gain entry into baseball immortality.

Not only am I biased, but I think Piazza’s stats speak for themselves, as the greatest hitting catcher of all time should be entering the Hall on his first ballot. The backstop played 16 years in the Majors after being drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft, and put together a career line of .308/.377/.545 with 427 homers and 1335 RBI. He was selected to 12 All-Star games, won 10 Silver Sluggers, was the 1992 NL Rookie of the Year, and was in the top 15 in NL MVP voting nine times. He hit for a .300+ average nine consecutive years, 30+ homers nine times, and racked up 100+ RBI six times. He deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he’s expressed desire to go in as a Met…so he better be!

September 11, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets former catcher Mike Piazza before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

In two deals that should have some effect on the Mets, the Braves came to terms with center fielder B.J. Upton on a 5-year/$75 million contract, pending a physical. I actually see this as great news because I’d rather be facing Upton than Michael Bourn 19 times a year. Upton does have more power, but doesn’t get on base nearly as much, and has had issues with hustling and putting in effort in the past. Also, the Rays came to terms with utility infielder Mike Fontenot on a minor league deal. There goes one free agent option for backup infielders. However, there’s still Ryan Theriot and Jeff Keppinger if the Mets stop dragging their feet.

Adam Rubin tweeted that Jonathon Niese is planning on having the procedure on his heart done sometime before Christmas, as he will be recovered in time for his wedding in January. In addition to that, the southpaw will be attending Daniel Murphy‘s wedding this weekend. While Niese was in Long Beach this week helping with recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy, he provided a couple quotes regarding the long-term future of teammate David Wright:

"“He’s a guy that leads by example — kind of like Chipper did with Atlanta. I know he wants to be what Chipper was in Atlanta. He wants to be — he is — the face of the franchise. And he wants to be a part of it throughout his whole career. You have to respect a guy like that.”"

R.A. Dickey provided a quote earlier this week with the same idea, as he proposed to the media, “Imagine the Atlanta Braves without Chipper Jones.” I think this is a valid comparison because that’s what Wright means to the Mets organization. After all the tough times of the last six years, Wright still remains passionate about the team and city he plays for, and wants to remain loyal while trying to bring a championship back to Flushing. That’s admirable and something a team should never let go.

After hearing quotes from Wright and his agents that this week’s news of extension offers are “inaccurate,” Mike Francesa shed some light that the two sides may be closer than we think to a deal:

"“My understanding is the offer is legitimate. … You cannot say the Mets have not made a fair offer. They have made a legitimatley fair, sound, offer. The biggest issue is how much is front-loaded, how much is in the later parts of the contract. Is there deferred money after the contract ends? Clearly, how you structure the contract is still open for debate. … I think the Mets have put forth a contract that is substantial and is respectful in every way. … I was a little surprised by some of the comments from Wright’s camp, but it’s posturing. … The only thing I wanted to find out is whether the deal is legit, and the deal is legit. Does he want to stay? I would think he does. I would categorize them as being very close.”"

So, even though we said yesterday that David’s reaction could mean anything, I feel it’s a ploy to continue keeping negotiations private while the two sides continue to work towards agreeing on a deal. One thing that’s for sure is Sandy Alderson wasn’t kidding around when he said he wanted clarity on Wright and Dickey’s potential extensions between Thanksgiving and the Winter Meetings…this is the fastest they’ve worked all winter in an effort to get something done. Now, we wait at the edge of our seats to hear more news on Wright; once we hear that result, a resolution for Dickey should be following shortly thereafter.

MetsBlog reported this morning the Mets have a 7-year/$124 million extension proposal on the table as they wait for Wright and his camp to respond. This would be in addition to his $16 million option for next season, bringing the total amount of the contract to $140 million. Details of the deal haven’t been revealed, but it’s believed to be heavily backloaded, much like Jose Reyes’ deal from last winter. The Levinsons are probably not thrilled about the allocation of money, but this is still a helluva lot of money, and Wright gets the seventh year he desires. This better do it!