2003 NEWS

2003 News > 9/12/03

GLAVINE'S EXPANDING ROLE

By Brian Heyman, The Journal News

Tom Glavine gave the ball to his manager, Art Howe, the other night and headed down from the Shea mound and off toward a hot shower. The 251-game winner would try to wash away the frustration of another winless game despite leaving one run behind him across 7 1/2 innings.

The Mets' bullpen and bats would lose that Tuesday game to the Marlins, 3-1, and give Glavine a no-decision, leaving him at 9-12 despite allowing three runs or less in 18 of his starts.

And Florida would finish off the sweep, 7-3, on Wednesday and hand the NL East's basement tenants a season-high seventh straight loss, leaving them at a sorry 62-83.

After dumping salaries the last few months, the Mets can do some shopping this offseason and add to the handful of quality veterans and promising rookies they do have. Phillies right-hander Kevin Millwood and Braves right fielder Gary Sheffield should be on the list of potential targets if they don't re-sign before the free-agency period begins, according to Glavine.

The 37-year-old lefty also said Wednesday during a one-on-one interview about the future of the team that he has valuable insight beyond the stats and wants to be consulted on possible player moves by Jim Duquette, the interim general manager who's the favorite to become the permanent GM, as well as the Wilpons, Fred and Jeff.

"They will seek me out and they already have," Glavine said. "Whether it's been them personally or them through Jim Duquette, I have had conversations with them, certainly for the most part about Millwood. That process has already started. I'm sure they're going to want to talk to me some more about Sheffield. He's going to be on their list."

Glavine said he would play recruiter and try to get his two former Atlanta teammates to join him in Queens along with any other available player the Mets are interested in landing that he thinks can improve the team.

Indeed, Glavine already has begun recruiting Millwood. A rotation of Glavine, Millwood, Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel and Jae Weong Seo at least looks good on paper. Millwood is only 28, and he's currently 14-10 with a 3.74 ERA.

"I've talked to him a little bit, but not a lot, obviously trying to be respectful of the fact he has a lot on his mind right now," Glavine said. "But absolutely I think we're in the market for him.

"As a free agent, if nothing else, you have to keep the New York markets on your list just for the pure business side of it. But I think he's definitely looking at our team. I don't think he's resigned himself to anything yet or ruled anybody else out. But I think he's interested in staying on the East Coast or somewhere close to it.

"Hopefully, my coming here is proof to a lot of people that this is a place where you can come and play."

This place packs no real power outside of Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd. Sheffield isn't short on volts at age 34, delivering 35 homers, 117 RBI and a .337 average. The Mets could have gotten him during spring training a couple of years ago, but former GM Steve Phillips wasn't high on bringing him over from the Dodgers.

"He might as well go ahead and be a free agent and see what's out there," Glavine said. "I know he was interested in coming to New York before. I think it would be something that certainly would be on his list.

"But he's certainly happy in Atlanta and lives at home in spring training. Those are all things that are hard to measure what they all mean. But I had a pretty similar situation, too, and I ended up here. So who knows?"

Glavine also laid out a blueprint of exactly what the Mets need to start spinning this thing around.

"I think we need a big bat," he said. "We could probably use some help at second base, and a starting pitcher and a closer. I would guess that probably a power hitter and a starting pitcher would be the top two."

Quality defensive players at second and in center are definitely on his wish list. Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo and Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron qualify and are also on track for free agency.

Howe said the organization is continuing to evaluate its greatest needs and has some targets.

"We need some offense," Howe said. "But things you want and things you can get might be two different things."