Honesty Begets Loyalty

An article by posted on July 30, 2010

So I was thinking about urinals…..No I’m kidding, that was a fun blog to write though!

As the trade deadline hovers over the sports world, we’re all following tweets and refreshing espn.com several times a day just to see if any deals have been made. Are the Mets making any moves? Are we getting a veteran pitcher? What about the bullpen?

Something occurred to me last night as I was looking over the Oswalt deal, and reading about how the Astros would’ve wanted Niese, and also how the Cubs want Thole for Lilly. 

The Mets are rebuilding. They didn’t tell us they are, and it may not look like they are on the surface, but they are. Their not in the Pirates or Astros form of rebuilding, but they are rebuilding. 

Think about this, the Mets 2010 team needs a bullpen arm right? The price for Scott Downs is or was Kirk Nieuwenhuis apparently.

If this ownership and management had any intention on REALLY vying for a playoff spot, they’d make that trade in a second. We’re talking about a “prospect” that really isn’t too highly thought about around the big leagues.

A great source for learning about prospects and their “value” is Baseball America obviously. I prefer http://www.scoutingbook.com/ because it gives you more information per prospect. Evaluating prospects is a crapshoot. That’s why some GM’s are so great at it, and others are not. It’s not a skill everybody has. So this is the site I trust the most. Are they right all the time? No way. Nobody is.

Consider this for a second regarding Nieuwenhuis. This site ranks 481 prospects, and he didn’t crack the list, and they update it throughout the season! A good minor league season like Nieuwenhuis is having doesn’t make you a top prospect. 

So if this team NEEDS a reliever like Downs to compete and they aren’t willing to give up “Captain Kirk,” then I’m sorry to tell you this, but the New York Mets are rebuilding. They aren’t trading him for a reliever because he’s only 23 years old, and he has more value down the road if he continues on his current path than Scott Downs has on this roster right now.

And you know what? That’s okay. It really is, but they have to tell us that. I was in San Diego last year for the road trip the Mets took there. I had a conversation with a season ticket holder who told me that he will be renewing his 2010 tickets simply because he felt Jeff Moorad (owner since 2009) was honest and forthcoming about his plans for the future of the ballclub.

He would go on the radio and take calls from fans, he’d did internet chats, and he was as honest as an Owner can be when detailing to the fans how he plans to fix the Padres franchise. I mean can you imagine the Wilpon’s or Minaya going on WFAN and taking calls for an hour? Talk about Must-See TV on the YES Network huh?

A lot of Mets fans expect a championship right now, or they expect the playoffs. I really do not think that was really ever in management’s plans. It’s a bummer, but I just think they knew they didn’t have the horses.

First, think about the Mets current situation. Let’s call it the 2011/future roster okay?

C – Josh Thole – 23
1B – Ike Davis – 23
2B – Ruben Tejada – 20
3B – David Wright – 27
SS – Jose Reyes – 27
LF – Jason Bay – 31
CF – Carlos Beltran – 33
RF – Angel Pagan – 28

That’s a very young lineup. If you take Carlos Beltran and move him somewhere in the winter, you’re talking about an average lineup that could realistically have an average age of 25. Do you realize how ridiculously young that is in terms of everyday lineups in MLB?

The 2007 Rockies were a pretty young and upcoming team, but they still had an average of 28 in their lineup.

The 2008 Cubs who should’ve been good enough to get to the World Series after winning 97 games had an average of 30! The 2008 Phillies who won the World Series were on average 29 years old.

The 2009 Phillies up’d that total to an average age of 31!

When you consider the absolute best teams in the league put lineups out there where the average age is that of a player either in their prime or approaching “past their prime” age, you have to wonder why we ever really expected much except a .500 caliber baseball team?

I’ve stopped wondering. This is where I blame the Wilpon’s and Minaya. Look, Mets fans are really disgruntled and it doesn’t help when you flat out lie to them. Don’t go on Francesa’s show and pretend you are going to spend spend spend, and go for a title this year. A lot of Mets fans aren’t angry that this current team is slightly above .500, they’re mad because you said you’d do whatever was necessary to win right now. You’re not doing that, and we’d respect you a helluva lot more if you came on the radio and said the following, 

“We believe that we are preparing younger players to be big leaguers by 2011. We have Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, and Jon Niese all less than 24 years old. The fact that we can only acquire a top starter like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt if we include these guys, tells us how valuable they really are. With the previously mentioned players, we will continue to build on our foundation which is now made up of; David Wright, Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Jason Bay, Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana. We are putting a quality product on the field, one that is worth the price of a Citi Field ticket, and we expect the Mets fans loyalty to pay off in the immediate future.” 

Bang. Done. 

If you tell me to my face, that you realize you made some financial mistakes in the past, but that you have learned from them and feel like the foundation of young players you’ve built will soon payoff in the end, then I’m a happy guy. I’m bought in. I’m not sitting here wondering why we didn’t trade for Roy Oswalt. I know why, because he doesn’t fit the plans for the future of this franchise.

This is why everybody speculates on the amount of $ in Fred Wilpon’s wallet. It doesn’t look like they want to spend any of it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Maybe it means they’ve started to figure out that when you stack up our “foundation” to the rest of the NL, the Mets are really in quite good shape for the future so long as they stop making poor financial decisions.

I realize I’m an optimist at times, and most likely I’m totally wrong and they really don’t have any sort of plan. I believe every front office makes mistakes. You can’t be perfect in evaluating talent, and signing free agents.

All I ask is for honesty. If the plan is to win now, then act like it. Go spend, go trade guys like Captain Kirk for a good reliever.

If the plan is as I suspect, to build a foundation of young players through the farm system and maybe by dealing away a veteran like Beltran next year, then act like it.

Come out and tell us what your plans are. Tell me or the person reading this why they should go to Citi Field this year? The answer doesn’t always have to be a World Series trophy.

That’s all you have to do Wilpon’s & Minaya.

Just be honest, and we’ll be loyal.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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