Mets Sign Cone to Minor-League Deal

David Cone is calling Shea Stadium home once again, as the Mets announced that they have signed the forty-year old pitcher to a minor league deal. He is expected to battle for the fifth starter's job in the rotation with Jason Middlebrook, Aaron Heilman, and Mike Bacsik.

He decided to come back instead of joining the Yankees' YES Network in a more advanced role during the upcoming season.

The Mets organization presented the former Cy Young award winner with the opportunity and the competitive Cone, who spent 1987-1992 with the Amazin's, took it. He is seven wins shy of 200 for his career and still has the burning passion for baseball.

He will fight for the fifth starters slot behind Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, Pedro Astacio, and Steve Trachsel. Fred Wilpon this off-season has made every effort to change the face of the franchise, and what better way to continue that goal by adding a warrior like Cone.

The 1994 American League Cy Young Award winner last pitched in Boston during the 2001 season and went 9-7 with a 4.31 ERA in 135.2 innings. He has a career record of 193-123 with a 3.44 ERA during years with the Mets, Yankees, Royals, Blue Jays and Red Sox. Cone ranks 17th in major league history with 2,655 strikeouts.

Citing a baseball official, the New York Times reports that the deal reportedly will pay him a base salary of less than $1 million if he makes the club and then having a chance to earn more in incentives based on starts and innings pitched.

Al Leiter, the leader of the Mets rotation last year, said a few days ago that he wouldn't mind seeing the five-time All-Star joining the franchise.

"If the guy has anything left and is even remotely close to the pitcher he was before, you take a chance on him," Leiter said to the New York Times. "What's the downside for the Mets? Let him come to spring training and pitch for a spot. What's the worst thing that could happen?"

Cone, 40, led Major League Baseball in strikeouts three times -- 1990, 1991, 1992 -- and had a league high 20 wins in 1998 when he went 20-7 with a 3.55. He has been a influential voice in the sport for years, most notably during the 1994 strike year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. Writer Christopher Guy covers the Mets for NYMFansOnly.com and you can e-mail him at CGGuy86Yahoo.com


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