I read this article over at Mets.com, and that's the only thing I can think of. Here's the blurb:
Staying or leaving: Scott Strickland, assigned to the minor league complex last week, has until Saturday to determine whether he will remain with the Mets or declare himself a free agent. The Astros, Rockies and Brewers are said to have interest in the 28-year-old right-handed reliever who didn't pitch in the Major Leagues last year. There was no indication that he would have a major league job with any of the three clubs. The Mets' sense of Strickland's readiness for Major League duty is that he still hasn't regained the arm strength he had before undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in 2003. One minor league colleague indicated he thought Strickland was inclined to use his contractual right and look elsewhere.I don't know what Scott Strickland did to Omar Minaya, but it must have been pretty bad. Just a recap, for Scott's career Omar has traded him from a solid Expos team to a lousy Mets team, and then three years later takes over the Mets, rebuilds them into a competitive ballclub, and then banishes Scott to AAA. Did Strick key Omar's car or something? Maybe Omar and Willie don't realize this, but Scott Strickland is actually a pretty good relief pitcher for a team that needs some pretty good relief pitching. Somewhere there's a conncection missing.
While Strickland has been pretty lousy against lefthanded hitters, he's been death on righties, as they've hit .194 against him over the past three seasons. That means that the majority of the hitters in baseball have trouble hitting Strickland, whereas they've seemed pretty successful against the rest of the makeshift Mets bullpen.
Now I know what the blurb says. The Mets don't think his arm strength is back to where it should be. He's coming back from a huge surgery, and they don't want to put him on the big league club where he's going to get clobbered and might cost the Mets some games. They'd rather he pitch for the Tides, get his strength back, his control better, and come back up to New York when he's ready.
But the problem with that is it's the ideal situation. It's not the likely one. What Omar needs to be asking himself is would he rather Strickland be pitching for the Mets or the Astros? The Mets or the Brewers? God forbid the Braves or the Marlins pick him up. What then? The Mets get shut down in August and September by a now healthy Scott Strickland? It doesn't sound too appealing to me.
If the Mets can convince Strickland to stick around for a month, or even two weeks, just to get himself back to around normal and then promise him a callup to the big league squad, then that's what they need to do. But if he's going to run for the door the second the calendar hits Saturday, it's a huge mistake. This is a ballclub that gave bullpen spots to John Franco and Pedro Feliciano last year, and are giving one to Felix Heredia this season. Like an injured Scott Strickland couldn't outpitch either of those three guys healthy?
This is one of these moves that seem small on the surface but will mean a lot later on down the line. If worse comes to worse, just let Strickland heal himself on the big league roster. Take twelve pitchers, and let him pitch in blowout situations. It'll mean a lot more when the Mets are chasing the pennant then it will on April 15th.