Ravaging the Mets

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In a perfect world—sans Bernie Madoff—would the Mets have done everything they could to keep Jose Reyes? Would they have kept Reyes?


We’re not in a perfect world and there is a Bernie Madoff and the Mets don’t have the money to spend on Reyes while trying to fill all the other holes they have and put a product on the field that isn’t going to lose 105 games.

We can go down the woulda-shoulda-coulda road for weeks, months, years. If there wasn’t Madoff, would Sandy Alderson even be the GM of the club? Would they be taking the tack of stat based, ruthless and cold-blooded reality-based analysis? Would they have kept Omar Minaya? Or would they have hired someone who was an aggressive, veteran-centric, money is no object GM?

There are no answers.

The ranting and raving about the Wilpons is conveniently ignoring that they’re in the middle of a lawsuit for which they proclaim their innocence. Comparing them to the McCourts of Los Angeles by way of Boston is a colossal waste of time because the situations are entirely different by every possible metric apart from public rancor.

Opinions are everywhere as to what the Wilpons knew and didn’t know. I don’t see how they couldn’t have been warned about Madoff or had someone see something strange in the consistency of his moneymaking skill.

But they’re saying they did nothing wrong. They want to keep the Mets.

And we don’t know what would happen if they did sell such a massive asset as the Mets; if they have that cash on hand, it might be snatched away immediately if they lose their case. They can’t be forced to sell the team if they haven’t been convicted of anything and they’re still fulfilling the bare minimum of organizational needs. That holds true whether fans are happy about it or not.

Here’s some ruthless reality in an objective, cold-blooded fashion: You can’t use financial acuity as a basis to credit Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman for being a “genius” or “forward thinker” then rip them for not spending money they don’t have to spend on one player for a team that isn’t going to be any good with or without that player.

However they arrived where they are, the Mets are in this position now. They can’t afford Reyes and they had to let him leave. That’s the way it is.

What’s being missed through all the self-serving vitriol; obnoxious and omnipotent attempts on the part of the media and fans to get the Wilpons to sell the team; the threats and tantrums and I told you sos is that with fan/media apathy comes freedom.

The morphing of Beane’s strategies from doing what needed to be done to seeking public acceptance are directly correlated to his image as an infallible genius; this was created by the twisted narrative in Moneyball. It’s coming to a merciless end as the movie was rife with ghastly inaccuracies and dramatic license to bolster a series of lies and make it more easily understandable to a layman; now the book is being viewed with renewed scrutiny as to what was true and wasn’t.

Would Friedman and the people running the Rays be able to dispatch and deal away their known players like Matt Garza if there was an intense interest in what they’re doing? If there were afternoon radio shows and tabloid rabble-rounsers, plagiarists and liars documenting what they were doing with a slant on selling papers and books at the expense of the underlying facts that may differ from what they’re presenting?

It’s easy to say yes, but the truth is that the it’s an imperceptible alteration from doing what needs to be done for the good of the organization and what might be good for the organization but will be avidly swallowed by the media.

We don’t know.

You can’t have it both ways.

You can’t clamor for an adult in the room the likes of Alderson to avoid spending long-term and deranged sums of money on Johan Santana and Jason Bay to placate the fans and win hot stove championships and then complain when he doesn’t spend more money that he doesn’t have to maintain a positive image with the masses.

This is where the Mets are. They don’t have any money and couldn’t afford Reyes. He’s gone.

Accept the basic tenets that the media at large either knows nothing or is following orders on what to write—or both.

Accept that the fans are responding to the stoking of their emotions with attacking the Mets and the Wilpons and that it’s ignoring the bigger picture of building a team; of legality; of finances.

Maybe the Mets will be better in the long run.

How they get there is irrelevant.

Because this is where they are now.


Young Chronicles

Hot Stove

It would be nice if the participants assisted me by doing whatever they’re going to do before I finish my book.

Selfish desires aside, the Rangers are trying trade Michael Young and there are several teams for whom Young is a fit as a person and player.

Contractually? That’s another story.

Despite the protestations of stats obsessed, Young is a very good player; I’ve never quite understood why they don’t like him. He hits for power and average and plays every day. Defensively, he’s limited in range, but versatile in where he can play. His on base percentage is relatively low in comparison to his batting average, but it actually is amazingly similar to…Ichiro Suzuki‘s!

But Young does things that Ichiro doesn’t do such as accumulate hits other than singles.

His contract and that Young nor the Rangers appear comfortable with him DHing are the main reasons for his availability. Young is owed $48 million through 2013; he also has a limited no-trade clause until May in which he can submit eight teams to whom he’ll accept a trade; and coincidentally (or not) Young also becomes as 10-and-5 player in May where he could refuse any trade.

As is said in this ESPN posting, the Rangers don’t want to dump him for nothing; nor do they want to pay a vast chunk of his salary just to get rid of him and acquire a decent return.

With that in mind, let’s see where Young would be a fit.

Colorado Rockies

They could use his bat, but as is being continually reported on MLB Trade Rumors, they can’t afford to take his whole salary. If I were the Rangers, getting Jose Lopez wouldn’t excite me in the least.

An interesting fit salary-wise would be Todd Helton, but would the Rockies trade him?

The Rockies could really use Young at second base, but it would require creativity/concessions on both ends to get it done.

Los Angeles Angels

Young would slide neatly in at third base and give the Angels another bat they desperately need. Young is extremely close friends with Vernon Wells and, as a person, fits perfectly into the Angels clubhouse.

They could absorb the majority of the contract, but would that be enough to spur the Rangers to trade Young within the division to a team they’re going to be fighting with for a playoff spot?

I doubt it.

Los Angeles Dodgers

It’s a perfect fit everywhere but financially.

I can’t imagine that the McCourts can take more salary onto the ledger and they don’t have a contract to exchange for him. Apart from that, they could—depending on defensive preferences—play Young at second or third; Juan Uribe at second or third; and shift Casey Blake to the outfield.

New York Mets

Would the Rangers take Carlos Beltran and one of the contracts of either Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo?

Could the Mets add the $18-24 million they’d need to to acquire Young?

With the way the Bernie Madoff/Wilpons/lawsuit mess has begun, probably not; and I can’t see Sandy Alderson doing this knowing how the season is looking to be a total bridge year in every conceivable sense.

Atlanta Braves

They don’t need him now, but what are they going to do if Chipper Jones can’t come back? They don’t have a viable backup plan; and they’re pinning their playoff hopes on a rookie at one corner—Freddie Freeman; and Jones returning at full strength.

Any deal involving Young would have to include salary relief and would need to wait until the Braves know what Jones is capable of.

I would expect the Young situation to have been settled by then.

Chicago Cubs

Would the Rangers be willing to take Carlos Zambrano?

The Cubs are short on pitching after Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza if they did this, but the slashing of the Zambrano salary (possibly worth $55 million) matches relatively neatly with Young’s deal.

I’m not a big Blake DeWitt fan and Young would bolster the Cubs lineup.

The Cubs shouldn’t have traded Tom Gorzelanny.

Detroit Tigers

Their current second baseman is listed as Carlos Guillen. If you think he’s going to stay healthy, then I admire your faith.

If the Tigers were willing to take Young’s salary and the Rangers took Guillen’s $13 million for 2011, it could work.

Pittsburgh Pirates

No, Young wouldn’t help the Pirates; nor do the Pirates need Young—they can lose 95 games with or without him; but if I’m Jon Daniels or Nolan Ryan, I call the Pirates and put the “used car salesman” hit on Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington of the Pirates.

“I want you and only you to have the widely respected and versatile Michael Young; all I’m asking for—ALL I’m asking for is Andrew McCutchen. This offer is on the table and will be removed within 5 minutes and I have two other offers that are far better than this; but since we’re friends, I’m willing to do you this favor!”

Who knows? They’re the Pirates. They might bite.