Things were rolling well for Duaner Sanchez. It was July 2006 and, having been acquired in a steal from the Dodgers for Jae Seo (remember THAT muppet?), he had accumulated a 5-1 record with a 2.60 ERA in 49 relief appearances and was well on his way to Bullpen Superstardom.
Then came the taxi crash.
He was in the backseat on his way to a Dominican restaurant when his cab was broadsided by a Ford Crown Victoria that had cut across three lanes. Sanchez never saw it coming. Bam! Dislocated or maybe even broken shoulder, a few surgeries and, some 2 years and 7 months later, give or take a few weeks, the Mets have sent him packing.
In addition to ruining his career and knocking him back into mediocrity, apparently it has ultimately cost him some $1,405,687, too. According to media sources, because the release preceded March 15, the Mets were obligated to pay only one-sixth of his $1,687,500 salary for 2009.
Tricky, those Mets.
Of course, it might have had some thing to do with Duaner's 23 mph fastball as well, not just recouping Wilpon money.
Not that Sanchez could have been counted on but this does in reality, create a bit of a vacuum in the bullpen. Right-armed bullpen side, that is. Immediately one might think this will benefit the big, fire-armed 24 year old Bobby Parnell or Brian Stokes.
Stokes, who consistently throws in the mid-90s, "deserves" the shot having survived last year's Nuclear Summer in the pen with a 3.51 ERA and having proven his complete and unremittant incapacity to get lefties out. I like Parnell but Stokes will be hitting 30 this summer, the right kind of experience needed to help the pen through the dog days of August AND is out of minor league options. Guess who gets the call. Of course, it's nice having Parnell to call up should Stokes choke like a dog but I rather think that's not going to happen.
That also leaves, if Jerry isn't telling porkies about carrying only 6 men in the pen, one more spot considering K-Rod, Putz, Green and Feliciano are pretty much locks.
No doubt, given the shite performances of the starters to date and the question marks about Superman Santana's dodgy elbow, this spot will require someone like Livan Hernandez or the omni-injured Tim Redding, or basically, whichever mutt that doesn't make it as the 5th starter.
Hey! Guess who's back in town!
That's right, after the DR was unceremoniously dumped in the early stages of the WBC and playing cabana boy at shortstop for Florida's Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes can go back to getting regular playing time again with the Mets although with Luis Castillo's .478 OBP this Spring, that might be knocked back down to the third spot in the order.
More importantly, The Dutch kicked their arses!
Het onvoorstelbare is gebeurd. Nadat Nederland zaterdagavond de honkbalwereld al opschudde met een sensationele overwinning op de Dominicaanse Republiek, ging de ploeg van bondscoach Rod Delmonico afgelopen avond op herhaling. In het Hiram Bithorn Stadium trok Nederland in een historische elfde inning de winst met 2-1 naar zich toe. De spelers kunnen hun koffers pakken. De volgende halte van de Oranje-trein is in Miami, waar Venezuela of de Verenigde Staten de volgende tegenstander wordt. En met de prestatie tegen de Dominicaanse Republiek is nu alles mogelijk voor de Nederlandse stuntploeg.
That's right, the once-mighty Dominicans were trumped by a country who calls it "Honkbal". Go home with your mofongo and chew on that awhile, Senor Reyes.