Sad but encouraging news yesterday, as the Mets let Al Leiter go after a desultory attempt to re-sign him on the cheap. Leiter will be remembered well by Mets fans not only for quality pitching but also for being an all-around gritty, emotional guy who took his job seriously, bonded with the fans and was always accessible to the media. No game he pitched was bigger or better than the utterly dominating 2-hit shutout he threw at the Reds in a 1-game playoff for the Wild Card in 1999.
On the other hand, the team needs a new direction, and tossing overboard a 39-year-old who’s been known to meddle in the GM’s business is a must. Leiter was still very effective this season, but his durability is questionable – he’s thrown less than 190 innings three of the last four years – and he’s playing an unsustainable game by nibbling around the corners, walking more batters and striking out fewer:
It’s to Leiter’s credit that he’s managed the guile and guts to stay effective against such an evident pattern of declining ability, but he can’t keep it up much longer. Let the Yankees have him back.