This is what I need you to do, Mike. Try to imagine that you are Sandy Alderson’s teenage son.
I’ve heard that is Sandy’s recurring nightmare.
Well, guess what? Good news! He’s going to buy a car for you, because you’ve been such a swell kid. Pretty exciting, isn’t it? Your first car!
Nothing like it.
First thing, calm the hell down.
Because . . . yeah, no, you are not walking into one of those fancy dealerships with sparkling espresso machines and new cars. No, he’s going to drag you 20 miles down a dirt road, past the empty warehouses and old shacks, until you come to Bud’s Used Car Jubilee!
Wait, strike that. I believe Sandy prefers the term, “Pre-Owned Vehicles.”
But you’re still a kid, Mike, and you’re hopeful. This is exciting. A car is a car, after all. You eagerly point out a red roadster. Sandy frowns. You see some other cars that look pretty good. Sandy shakes his head, no. He points to a jalopy in the far back corner.
“You’re not interested in any of the ones I like?” you ask, a little crestfallen.
“Oh, I’m interested,” he says, drifting away. “Very interested.”
You sulk a little, thinking to yourself, “Well, that’s a strange way to show it.” Maybe a groan of despair passes from your lips.
Sandy pauses for a minute, turns around, stares at you. He sighs and takes the long, slow walk over to the red roadster. He looks under the hood, sticks his head through a window, eyeballs the interior.
“Pretty sweet ride, huh?” you say, getting hopeful.
Sandy pulls back his leg like a long lever, and wham, kicks a rear tire.
He clucks his tongue, shakes his head mournfully.
“No good?” you say.
“Let’s keep looking,” he replies.
As you might have guessed, Mike, the above scene is a parable. There’s no teenage son. There are no cars. There’s only a market full of free agents and potential trading partners — and a bunch of fans who desperately want to see a good team in Flushing.
We are in the tire-kicking phase of the process. A lot of it will come to nothing. It’s important we don’t overreact.
Each day there’s news about the Mets being “interested” in Shoo, “interested” in Furcal. Showing “preliminary interest” in Curtis Granderson, but no word yet on Nelson Cruz. They “really like” Corey Hart and Jhonny Peralta. They are shopping Davis, Montero, d’Arnaud, Murphy, Duda.
The Mets are “interested” in everybody and nobody.
Best of all, miraculously, they are “adding: $30-40 million to payroll while actually lowering the budget.” Meet the new math!
So get used to it, folks. Don’t react to every nugget of dubious information. This is going to take some time. Grab a Coke, pull up a milk crate. Because Sandy is patient as hell, that’s how he operates. He’s going to walk up and down this lot all day long, and he’s going to kick every tire in sight.
Plus, the Mets are not a team with one glaring hole to fill. As Jeff himself pointed out, there are very few players who are under contract and known solid performers. And we do not operate in a vacuum for players, the other major league teams are involved in the process. All of these factors indicate that fans need to let things play out.
Supposedly there’s interest in Ike Davis out there, which makes sense to me. He’ll go cheap and there’s real upside. Joel Sherman identified Norichika Aoki of the Brewers as a guy the Mets might be able to get. The poor man’s Choo. That do anything for you?
Aoki has very little power, and would most likely play a corner. He does have a very reasonable contract for 2014, acquiring Aoki to fill one spot on the field leaves budget to address other spots. For Ike? I would sure do it. Hey, I’m on record that I believe Davis needs a change of scenery to succeed. I’m also on record that I am never right about anything with Ike.
All the bloggers seem to like Peralta.
Add me to that list. If Tulowitzki is off the market I don’t see a better shortstop option for us. And we need a shortsop, no logjam there.
My dream is to one day field an all-PED team. That’s the beauty of PED players — their performance is enhanced! If I could sign up an all-HGH team, I’d do it. Just go after guys according to their hat size. If a player has been busted for trying to get better, I’m all in. That’s right, I’m not giving up on Ryan Braun. I’ll say this, if Braun is even a flicker of a possibility, the early stages would happen on the down low.
I agree a Braun deal somewhere is not out of the question. He has a ton of money still owed to him, that will be a bigger stumbling block for many GMs than anything else.
There are very few guys out there who could change perceptions in the fan base. And by that I mean, behavior. Going out to purchase tickets. Clearly Sandy will change the faces, but will he change the dynamic? A bat like Ryan Braun or Carlos Gonzalez would change the story, IMO.
A big move would help, but it will take a few years to get many of the fans back in the park. They spent three years driving them away, there is no one move that will totally flip the fan base. But yes, a marketable player would be huge for the franchise. For 2014 the marketing department has already lost Harvey, who was becoming a big star around here.
Overall, to sell tickets they need a combination of moves that creates hope that the team will win. It’s hard to sell a season that is designed as one big Arizona Fall League. This isn’t Boise, there are plenty of other things that people can do.
Any other tires you want to kick?
If we could get him for only two years I’m very warm to the idea of Curtis Granderson.
We’ve said it a hundred times. Can’t keep everybody. I would flip Gee or Niese in a heartbeat, btw. We are pitching-rich in the minors with guys who size up like that, future 3-4-5 guys. Sure, I’d like to keep the frontline starters, including Syndergaard and Montero. But, well, something’s got to give. Sometimes you’ve got to pay the piper. My preference would be to flip the established arms rather than the young guns, though all that depends on market value.
In terms of attractiveness on the marketplace, how would you rank Wheeler, Syndergaard, Gee, Niese, and Montero?
That would depend on who the partner is, are they in a rebuilding mode, or going for it? To keep it simple, if we are trading for a major league player, I’ll assume we found a partner who is regrouping. In that case:
By the way, apropos of nothing, I stumbled upon this fantastic, one-minute video of the worst umpired game in playoff history. Eric Gregg, we’re looking at you in disbelief and disgust . . .