Those Who Contribute the Least Shouldn’t Be Made the Story

Mets historians will recall how former GM Frank Cashen declared, ““those who contribute the least spray the most champagne” after being doused by reliever Randy Niemann during the 1986 NLCS championship celebration. I think it’s time to take that mantra when it comes to Jordany Valdespin, except those that contribute the least shouldn’t be made the story.

With Twitter, Facebook and blogs – both mainstream and otherwise – available throughout the 24/7/365 news cycle, it’s impossible to not transfer that meme to those that cover and watch sports.  On Saturday, Jordany Valdespin took one to the forearm a day after he embarrassingly celebrated a home run during a Pirates blowout win.  What resulted was talk about the validity of Pittsburgh’s Bryan Morris‘ actions, and how the Valdespin’s teammates reacted. Instead of continuing this news “filler,” let me set everyone straight as to what the deal is with Valdespin.

First, Jordany Valdespin is nothing more than a backup player. He isn’t the future, nor is he a clone of Jose Reyes, the answer in the outfield or infield, or some sort of energizer for a slumping offense. He possesses poor plate discipline and is an average defender, at best, at any position. His career MILB on-base percentage was .330. In the big leagues he’s shown even less of a penchant to get on-base with his .287 clip. Even worse, he doesn’t come across as a hard worker or someone that possesses a big league baseball IQ. There is nothing with Valdespin’s process that screams big league starter, much less star. I have my doubts he will stick around since he seems unable to endear himself to any clubhouse throughout his career.

This is not about race. The players dislike Valdespin because of who he is. Think it’s just his current teammates? After a game-winning grand-slam against the Dodgers, former B-Mets reliever Erik Turgeon took to Twitter and shared these nuggets:

“Valdespin with a walk off home run. If you need me I will be in the bathroom throwing up! I have Zero respect for that piece of s***”

“If your shocked that, then you don’t kno bout all that! Happy for the mets wish someone deserving got the hit like Lagares!”

“Tough for me to get Valdespin out when I’m on the same team as him don’t ya think?”

“Evidence ask your favorite guy in the organization who there least favorite guy is”

jordany valdespinWho cares what a retired minor league reliever says, right? What about his current teammates, none who seemed upset or enraged that he was plunked on Saturday. There was furor about how John Buck conducted the pie celebration after that very same grand slam. When I asked Buck about it last week his response with a coy smile was telling: “A big walk-off home run deserves a big pie to the face.”

Read from that what you will, but contrite, at least in my opinion, is not the word to use when describing Buck’s comments. Remember, this is the same guy that was suspended in the minors for an undisclosed incident (some speculation is that it was for a Ruben Rivera-type action, read into that what you will), and again this past offseason during winter ball. There is too much smoke around Valdespin’s fire.

On a good team Valdespin provides speed and power off the bench. Those are characteristics that do make him valuable. His clownish behavior is probably overshadowing that right now, making the story more about him than the team. This will be tolerated when someone like R.A. Dickey is winning Cy Young Awards, but rarely so with a borderline big league player. Valdespin embarrassed the Mets this weekend. Take those blue and orange sunglasses off and see what the opponents do to another bad team celebrating a meaningless home run. It reminds me of how the Nationals used to be when they had Anderson Hernandez, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes: Bad attitude, clownish behavior and, worst of all, a lot of losses.

The shame of it all is Valdespin does have some raw talent. If he took the time to learn from those around him, and put the effort into improving, perhaps there would be hope for better days ahead. Right now, you can’t even get him to take extra batting practice. He consistently never shows up to such events, which is almost sacrilegious on a team that is hitting so poorly; even more damning for a wet behind the ears rookie.

If I were the Mets I would move on from Valdespin ASAP. You probably don’t want to release him as he is too good to be put on the waiver wire. Perhaps there is a minor deal that Alderson can spring for an outfielder. Not a starter or star, but someone that is a bench player, but is a starter on this team due to circumstances. Maybe another team looks at Valdespin’s talent and thinks they can “steal” a future contributor. You never know what you can get if you ask.

Sandy Alderson needs to set the tone and show the club that professionalism and behavior matters to this organization. Ridding the clubhouse of Valdespin won’t turnaround this lost season, but it will be addition by subtraction. You are not losing anything on the field as those late-game home runs are bound to run dry as he makes his way around the league.

I am sure this opinion will stir up debate, however I doubt it’s worth the time.

Those that contribute the least spray the most champagne; they also take up the most space when it comes to the news.