Archive for January 17th, 2007

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Straka extended

Rangers Rumors & News

Larry Brooks of the New York Post is reporting that the New York Rangers have agreed to a one-year contract extension with Martin Straka. Straka excelled last season after being brought to Broadway to compliment fellow Czech Jaromir Jagr. This year, the 34-year-old forward is having one of the best seasons of his career. His 24 goals is tied for the team-high with Brendan Shanahan, and his 55 points are second on the team to Jagr’s 59.

Prior to the 2006-2007 season, Straka had been considering retirement in favor of a return to his native Czech Republic, and as recently as two weeks ago, Straka indicated that he may weigh the same decision in the coming offseason. Apparently, Rangers GM Glen Sather persuaded him otherwise. Straka will make $3.3 million in 2007-2008 – a $200k raise from the $3.1 million he’ll earn this season.

The Post reports that Sather is similarly looking to lock up Shanahan and center Michael Nylander for at least one more season.

Mets: State of the Staff

Mets Rumors & News

The Mets officially announced the signings of LHP Scott Schoeneweis and RHP Jorge Sosa yesterday, and despite recent reports that the Mets continue to show interest in A’s starter Joe Blanton, Mets GM Omar Minaya suggested that these latest free agent signings were “most likely” the last significant addition to the pitching staff prior to spring training. Of course, GMs are often reluctant to show their hand, and it would not be surprising if Minaya continues to tinker over the next month.

While many pundits have criticized the Mets for not adding a legitimate ace to their staff this offseason, the Mets continue to operate within a semblance of a budget, and while willing to go as high as $75 million for premier free agent Barry Zito, the Mets showed no interest in coming close to the absurd $126 million that Zito eventually received from San Francisco.

Instead, the Mets’ strategy under Omar Minaya continues to be to stockpile young arms – particularly young power arms – and hope that …

Pursuing Big Z

Mets Rumors & NewsYankees Rumors & News

While the Mets came to terms today with Endy Chavez and Ramon Castro, avoiding arbitration hearings with their free agents for the 15th consecutive year, the Chicago Cubs remain far apart in their negotiations with ace Carlos Zambrano, and seem likely headed to arbitration, according to the AP. Zambrano is seeking a raise to $15.5 million after making $6.65 last season. The Cubs have offered just over $11 million.

In general, teams look to avoid taking their players to arbitration if possible in case the hearings damage their relationship with the player. In Zambrano’s case, he is in the final year of arbitration eligibility, and will become a free agent at the end of the season. The Cubs will surely look to sign Big Z to a long term contract before he hits the open market, but it will be interesting to see how Chicago manages to fit the 25-year-old pitcher into their budget after their $220 million spending spree this offseason.

This winter’s top free agent …

The Rise of Fernando

Mets Rumors & News

Keith Law over on thinks Kansas City Royals’ third base prospect Alex Gordon is a potential star in the making, however according to Law, the Mets’ Fernando Martinez ain’t too shabby either. Says Law: “No prospect shone more brightly in the Arizona Fall League; Martinez’s ability and demeanor fit in perfectly with players five or more years his senior.” Martinez, 18, signed with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic at age 16, receiving $1.4 million – a huge sum for such a young and unproven prospect.

In Martinez, Lastings Milledge, and Carlos Gomez, the Mets have three blue-chip prospects in the outfield, all of whom could conceivably get a taste of major league action in 2007.

Kidd on the block?

Nets Rumors & News

The Daily News cites a report from the Chicago Tribune claiming that an NBA GM inquired about Vince Carter’s availability, only to find that the Nets were more interested in moving Jason Kidd.

While Kidd has been having some very public troubles off the court, on the court his seven triple-doubles this season lead the league by a wide margin.

HC of the NYG?

Giants Rumors & NewsJets Rumors & News

Now that the Giants have officially retained Tom Coughlin as head coach and selected in-house candidate Jerry Reese as GM, we can put an end to the crazy rumors swirling around both positions, right? Not if Bob Glauber has anything to say about it.

In today’s Newsday, Glauber speculates that Giants fans could one day see Bill Belichick, architect of the growing Patriots dynasty, patrolling the sidelines for Big Blue. Glauber cites “whispers” about the status of Belichick’s contract – which apparently may or may not expire after next season – as his primary source. He appears to have no credible evidence that the cantankerous coach finds the NYG any more appealing than he did the NYJ.

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