Blaming Mets Stars: Just a Prelude to a Fire Sale?


Now it’s Jason Bay who we’re told symbolizes what’s wrong with the Mets. You might have thought it was Bernie Madoff, but a couple of weeks ago it was Luis Castillo, and this week it’s Bay. According to ESPNNewYork’s Rob Parker, “It may sound a bit harsh, but in reality, Bay represents all that has been wrong with the Mets the past five or six years. The team is filled with overpaid players who never lived up to their paychecks.”

Well, yes, I’d have to say that does sound a bit harsh. First of all, that’s a hell of a way to greet a guy playing his first game of the season. Let’s give him a chance to perform before we accuse him of representing the problems of a team that he only came to last year.

Second, who exactly are these high paid players who are underperforming? Jose Reyes? Well, he did hit .282 last year, and while many of us think he still has the potential to be a superstar, you can’t really call that underperforming, as his career BA is .286. And, by the way, he’s hitting .318 so far with eight stolen bases. David Wright? Well, same thing. But he did hit .283 last year with 29 home runs. Are you really going to give up on him because he’s hit .247 this year?

Carlos Beltran? It seems to me he’s been steadily working his way back from that knee operation. As I write he’s hitting .283. Johan Santana? That’s a case of injury, not underperformance.

It does seem as if the Mets front office is putting out the vibe that the teams needs to be gutted – a fire sale that will clear out the dead wood. In today’s Daily News, Andy Martino put it this way: “It is too early to being what feels like an inevitable auction of players such as Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez, and maybe others because trade partners are not yet ready enough to pay steep prices. [Sandy] Alderson knows this and wishes he can do more, but realizes that he cannot.

” ‘Probably the best thing I can right now is stay out of the way,’ he said. To be a brooding omnipresence is not conducive to changing our direction.'”

Translation: let’s hope we keep losing so we can dump these guys as soon as possible and save some money. BTW, does anybody know if the Yankees are interested instead?

But are the Mets’ best players dead wood or merely high-priced wood? So far the New York sports press is fully cooperating with this message.

Parker’s attitude is typical: “It’s not impossible to get the Mets turned around. But it has to being with unloading dead-end player in exchange for prospects.” With this, he’s right in line with a caller I heard on WFAN a couple of weeks who suggested that the key for the Mets was trading Jose Reyes for Josh Hamilton (This was before Hamilton’s injury.) Great solution: how about Beltran for Albert Pujols and Jason Bay for Joe Mauer?

If players are really “dead-end,” why would any team be interested in trading genuine prospects for them? No, the Mets are going to have to live with their high-priced stars, injuries or no, or be honest and admit they’re unloading them for lesser players simply to save money. Let’s not con ourselves that that’s going to put better talent in the lineup. And until the Mets start producing prospects of their own, they’ve got nothing to trade for other people’s prospects.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 22, 2011

Archive Highlights