The Many Faces of Cameron

Mike Cameron's offseason has been a rollercoaster of self-perpetuated drama and has throbbed like a nagging toothache in the back of the mouth of the Mets rightfield plans all during this offseason and Spring Training.

First, Cryin' Mike's role was that of the magnaminous team player volunteering to shift from his normal spot in centerfield to rightfield should the Mets (winkwink) somehow happen to land Carlos Beltran as a free agent.

Shortly thereafter, Cameron revealed that he'd had surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his left wrist, elevating the urgency of signing a centerfielder, at least temporarily, who might be available on opening day.

Then, to everyone's disbelief, but most especially Mike Cameron's, the Mets managed to sign Carlos Beltran as their new centerfielding superstar and suddenly Mike Cameron, injured wrist and bruised ego, was no longer quite so magnaminous and especially queasy about the idea of moving from centerfield to rightfield. I've always played centerfield" he sniffed indignantly, indicating through third parties that he wanted out in a trade to a team where he could feel the love for his centerfield play and not have to carry Carlos Beltran's glove every inning.

So in the case of Cryin Mike, it appeared that ego had triumphed over team. Mike Cameron, the victim. Mike Cameron, for the team, so long as he came first. Hmmm. What an odd conundrum.

Since then, everything's been on hold. The rumour mill has been busy with Mike Cameron trade scenarios to the A's, Rangers, Orioles, Tigers, etc., all with the Mets never really getting much in return. Suddenly we began to realise that Mike Cameron might have been overvalued all along. Funny, it seems an oft-injured 32 year old centerfielder with a dodgy wrist who hit .231 last season with 143 strikeouts isn't in as much demand as one might have imagined. In fact, when it comes right down to it, why would the Mets even want a 32 year old malcontent with a dodgy wrist making a positional move for the first time in his career who hit .231 last season with (hey, did you hear this??!) 143 strikeouts?

Now, after all this posturing and wishful thinking, it appears Cameron doesn't want to be traded after all.

In fact, he's happy to stay with the Mets and play rightfield.

Awww, isn't this a happy ending if you've ever seen one?

So he instructed his agent, Mike Nicotera, to call team brass and tell them he wants to stay. Nicotera did just that in a conversation with assistant general manager Jim Duquette on Tuesday.

"I think he was very pleased to hear what we had to say," Nicotera said. "I think this is something the club hoped would happen."

Not only that, but it appears Darryl Strawberry of all people, has helped convince Cryin' Mike Cameron to stay with the Mets.

Cameron said that Darryl Strawberry, who is in camp this week as a special instructor, was one of several people who persuaded him to accept his move to right field and not demand a trade. "I'm not going to say he influenced me or didn't influence me," Cameron said very revealingly, "but he did talk to me the other day on the field." Strawberry said, "Sometimes you have to sacrifice to win."

This is priceless, perhaps the best quote of Spring Training: Darryl Strawberry, former crackhead extraordinaire dispensing advice on how to sacrifice to win. Or was that, how to sacrifice your family for your coke habit?

As the Wolf once aptly noted in Pulp Fiction, "Well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet."

I'm certainly not going to perform any celebratory dances in honour of Cryin Mike doing the right thing after several months of wrestling with his ego. Even if he'd moved over to rightfield quietly, the bigger issue is still that Mike Cameron isn't necessarily how you'd like to fill out your starting eight lineup card every day.

As previously noted, this is a guy coming off wrist surgery which means, even if he IS ready by opening day or the first few weeks thereafter, he's going to be on a learning curve of several months hoping his wrist is appropriately strengthened. Not only that, but he'll be learning a new position to boot.

Now when considering this guy hit just .231 and struck out 143 times last season when he was playing his natural position and NOT coming off wrist surgery, you've got to be compelled to wonder what his numbers might look like this season and do we even want them?

Ok, so he hit 30 homers. He's not meant to be a power hitter and if he's hitting .231 or worse whilst he does it, what difference does it really make in the end? A little oomph at the bottom of the lineup?

As a gold glove centerfielder with speed, Mike Cameron made us quasi-excited last offseason when we'd signed him. Now, as a rightfielder with a bad wrist and a bad attitude, why is Omar so keen on keeping him?


Pitching coach Rick Peterson decided last summer Trachsel needed a "keep 'em honest" slider to complement his split, fastball and changeup. Trachsel didn't disagree, but he had been unable to develop one over the years.

Peterson showed him one thrown with greater pressure on the middle finger than the index finger, and Trachsel found he could throw it. "It's worked in the bullpen," Trachsel said with a smile.

This has feel-good 15 game winner written all over it.

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