The Question Nobody Asked
Okay, I have to out myself: I’m a Mets fan. Pity me – for a little while. We will have a very good team, sooner or later. Though it always seems to be later and a lot of people in the fan base and now the national sports media are understandably getting tired of waiting. I sent this post to one of the fan blogs today as a response to some of the coverage I’m reading:
I’m wondering if the accounts of Sandy Alderson’s press conference yesterday all focused on the wrong segment: his rambling non-answer to the question (my rephrase but I think I’ve got the gist of it): Do you REALLY have the money to do anything and, if so, will you just ignore that opportunity again like you have all these past years?
Let’s ignore the fact that it’s the baseball equivalent of ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ and focus on a more interesting question.
The injuries and lack of performance by the team on the field every night proclaim that the Mets should be desperate. The fan base is screaming, the national sporting press is now piling on and Sandy Alderson offers rambling platitudes that say nothing.
Why bother holding a press conference if you have nothing to say?
I think maybe he did have something to say, something he felt he had to say publicly and without qualification:
The Mets are not trading Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard or Matz.
He didn’t ramble about that. No equivocation, no fumbling around, no wiggle room.
I think that tells us a lot about what’s going on backstage this week–and maybe last winter as well.
I suspect that every conversation Sandy’s had with Billy Beane and the other general managers has gone the same way: Send us one of your studs. You need hitting, we’ve got it. Balance your team. You can’t have four like that, it’s overkill.
If I was Beane or any of the other GM’s, I’d figure I had the Mets right where I wanted them. All I have to do is wait. With the pressure coming from everywhere, I’ll get what I want. Thinking as a general manager, it’s almost unthinkable that you wouldn’t trade one of the four. Think of the hitters the Mets could pick from if they were willing.
Certainly, Oakland has great offers for Ben Zobrist on the table already (just using him as an example, in case he goes between the time I write this and you read it). I think they’re among several teams hoping the Mets will crack. Meanwhile, Sandy is hoping to find a partner before the deadline who’ll accept he won’t crack, one who’ll make a (smaller) deal for the guys he wants to trade.
This is a poker game and everything any general manager says this time of year is meant for the ears of other general managers. This press conference wasn’t meant for us or the writers and Alderson didn’t call it to ramble and say nothing. He called it to put out an important message that will hopefully clear the deck for the deals he’s willing (or empowered) to make.
In general, I think this front office is talented, not insane, not egomaniacal. It’s trying to play a very tough hand given them by ownership. I’m waiting and hoping and not throwing rotten tomatoes. Yet…