Jon Heyman’s best friendster, David Sloane, continues to rub it in. The agent for Marlins 1B Carlos Delgado seems all to eager to burn all bridges, toll roads and highways to Mets GM Omar Minaya, writes Newday’s David Lennon.
The Mets convinced Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, the two most coveted free agents, to take their money this winter. But it is the one that got away, Carlos Delgado, who won’t go away.
Delgado’s agent, David Sloane, apparently is not satisfied that his client snubbed the Mets to sign a similar four-year, $52-million contract with the Marlins. Why else would Sloane send out an e-mail of a Toronto Sun story that traces a timeline of Delgado’s path to Florida and portrays Al Leiter as a Mets detractor?
According to Sloane’s account in the story, Leiter was a key figure in Delgado’s meeting with Marlins officials Jan. 15 at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami, when he reportedly conjured a nightmare scenario of playing in New York.
Leiter is quoted as saying, “Who better to discourage him from going to New York?” He then describes what happens when things go poorly in the media capital of the world. “It just chip, chip, chip, chips away at your resolve, cracking away your protective toughness,” he said. “Every bad game it’s like, ‘Are you worried? … The manager says this … Are you worried?’ You begin to doubt yourself. That’s why slumps in New York are so elongated.
“Then the guys on [talk radio] get on you, move it up another notch, and everyone driving to the game listens. You get to the park and your home fans are booing you and after the game you say something stupid.”
Mets officials were surprised that Leiter might have been the secret weapon for the Marlins in winning the Delgado sweepstakes, and Leiter denied that he specifically ripped his former team during the negotiations.
“I don’t know if I said exactly that, but it sounds like that actually happens to players from time to time,” Leiter said yesterday in an e-mail exchange. “I wasn’t ripping New York. I was telling him how sometimes it is more difficult to get out of slumps and it is when a player slumps that he is most vulnerable.”
Mets general manager Omar Minaya dismissed the notion that Delgado was scared away by Leiter. “When you create a winning environment, people want to come there,” Minaya said. “It also comes down to dollars and cents, and trust. I always ask the player if he feels like he could handle New York, and even if he says yes, I can tell by looking in his eyes if he really feels that way.”
Ed Whitson could not be reached for comment.