While there is football, basketball and hockey in the United States right
now, there is an obsession about baseball as the national sport in Puerto
"You don't see 162 games in San Juan," Delgado said. "This is their
chance to watch big-league players in real games. ... This is a unique event
because you're playing against teams you don't normally play against."
One such team is Cuba, which Delgado said is the mystery team, known by
its collective reputation rather than by personalities.
"I'm not anxious to see them play good," Delgado said. "It will be
interesting. They are fundamentally sound and know how to play the game.
Non-professionally, Cuba is one of the best teams in the world."
Delgado is entering his first season with the Mets but doesn't anticipate
that he will be hurt by leaving the team for the WBC during spring training.
"This is a very unique opportunity," Delgado said. "It is once in a
lifetime and you have to make exceptions and adjustments. I am proud of
being Puerto Rican, and we think this is a big deal."
The Puerto Rican team will train at Port St. Lucie, Fla., which Delgado
said should lessen any impact of his lost time in spring training.
"If I was going to lose any time, I'll lose less than other players,"
Delgado said. "The first 10 days (of spring camp with the Mets), I'm going
to go to work and be with my teammates."
Former Mets C Mike Piazza signed a one-year, $2 million contract with a
mutual option for an $8 million contract in 2007 with San Diego.
Think Bengie Molina is having second thoughts these days? The former
Los Angeles Angels catcher rejected a three-year, $18 million contract offer
from the Mets. New York filled its catcher need by trading for Florida's
Paul Lo Duca. Molina ultimately agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with
the Blue Jays.
As of now, the Mets don't have interest in RHP Jeff Weaver, 29, who won
14 games for Los Angeles in 2005 but remains unsigned. Mets general manager
Omar Minaya said the team would like to add a power arm to the rotation
after the trade of RHP Kris Benson to Baltimore.
BY THE NUMBERS: 376 -- Career homers as a catcher by former Met Mike
Piazza, who signed with San Diego. Piazza is the career leader in homers by
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Pedro's been doing well. He's feeling really good." --
Mets general manager Omar Minaya on the status of RHP Pedro Martinez's
strained right big toe.
ARRIVALS: INF Julio Franco (free agent from Atlanta), 2B Jose Valentin
(free agent from Chicago White Sox), C Paul Lo Duca (trade from Florida),
LHP Billy Wagner (free agent from Philadelphia), 1B Carlos Delgado (trade
from Florida), 1B/OF Xavier Nady (trade from San Diego), OF Endy Chavez
(free agent from Philadelphia), RHP Chad Bradford (free agent from Boston),
RHP Duaner Sanchez (trade from Los Angeles Dodgers), RHP Steve Schmoll
(trade from Los Angeles Dodgers), 2B Bret Boone (free agent from Minnesota),
RHPs Jorge Julio and John Maine (trade from Baltimore), C Bobby Estalella
(minor league free agent), RHP Jeremi Gonzalez (minor league free agent),
RHP Jose Santiago (minor league free agent).
DEPARTURES: C Mike Piazza (arbitration not offered, signed with San
Diego), 2B Miguel Cairo (free agent, signed with Yankees), RHP Braden Looper
(free agent, signed by St. Louis), RHP Roberto Hernandez (free agent, signed
by Pittsburgh), C Mike DiFelice (arbitration not offered, signed with
Washington), 1B Doug Mientkiewicz (free agent, signed with Kansas City), INF
Jose Offerman (arbitration not offered), RHP Shingo Takatsu (arbitration not
offered, OF Gerald Williams (arbitration not offered), 1B Mike Jacobs
(traded to Florida), RHP Yusmeiro Petit (traded to Florida); minor league 3B
Grant Psomas (traded to Florida), OF Mike Cameron (traded to San Diego), RHP
Danny Graves (option declined, signed with Cleveland), INF Marlon Anderson
(free agent, signed with Washington), LHP Felix Heredia (option declined),
RHP Jae Seo (traded to Los Angeles Dodgers), LHP Tim Hamulack (traded to Los
Angeles Dodgers), LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (released, signed with Yakult
Swallows), RHP Kris Benson (traded to Baltimore).
FREE AGENTS: INF Jose Offerman, OF Gerald Williams, LHP Felix Heredia,
LHP Dae-Sung Koo, RHP Shingo Takatsu.
ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE: No one.
IN LIMBO: There have been continued rumblings that the Mets are trying to
unload 2B Kaz Matsui.
MEDICAL WATCH: No injuries of note to watch during the offseason.