By now everybody has probably heard the comments that Fred Wilpon made towards the stars of his own Major League Baseball team, the New York Mets. There are lots of comments flooding Twitter, half of them say “Wilpon is a dumbass!” and the other half say “Wilpon is right about everything he said.” Obviously it’s Twitter and those kinds of comments are expected but let’s take a look at Wilpon’s comments from a rational perspective.
Wilpon says of Jose Reyes, “He’s had everything wrong with him.”
Jose Reyes certainly has an auspicious career so far. Reyes was the one offensive player that dropped off the most during the Mets’ September collapses and has missed chunks of his career due to injuries. On the other hand when Jose Reyes is at his best he’s as electrifying as anybody in baseball. The biggest problem with Reyes though is simply that he plays in New York. If Reyes played anywhere other than New York his eccentricities would be swept under the rug and people would just say that’s “Reyes being Reyes”.
When Reyes ends up on another team'”and if that wasn’t already a 100% guarantee before then it is now'”he’s going to be praised as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and rightfully so. When a player has as big an impact on the field as Reyes you’ll take the bad with the good, just like any team would do the same with Manny Ramirez. The injuries are obviously a concern but the Mets clearly have an internal problem with dealing with injuries. Maybe Reyes is injury prone, maybe the Mets just have the worst medical team in baseball. We won’t know for sure until Reyes plays somewhere else but I have a funny feeling we’ll discover Reyes will stay healthier outside of New York and then the injury problems that Wilpon blames on the players will be as much his fault as anybody else for having a lousy medical team.
Wilpon says of Jose Reyes, “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” and “He won’t get it.”
Wrong. Regardless of whether you believe Reyes is overrated, underrated or correctly rated doesn’t matter. Somebody is going to give Jose Reyes whatever Jose Reyes wants. Will it be a bad deal? Maybe. But Wilpon’s comment wasn’t that Reyes doesn’t deserve Carl Crawford money, it was that he won’t get Carl Crawford money, and I don’t think that is true.
Wilpon says of Carlos Beltran, “We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He’s sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.”
Nobody on the New York Mets is more polarizing than Carlos Beltran. There are some Mets fans that agree with everything Wilpon said about Beltran but I have a few problems with these comments.
First Wilpon throws Omar Minaya under the bus for signing Carlos Beltran to a huge contract. Of course Wilpon never mentions that he is a bigger schmuck for hiring the schmuck that hired Carlos Beltran. He also never mentions that everybody who covers, watches or is a fan of baseball said Minaya should be fired at least a year'”maybe two years'”before Wilpon fired him. If Minaya is such a schmuck then why did Wilpon keep him around for so long?
As for Carlos Beltran’s production, can you make an argument that he got paid too much? Sure you can. You can also make an argument that Carl Crawford got paid too much, that Alex Rodriguez got paid too much and that Albert Pujols is going to be paid too much. What star player doesn’t get paid too much? The bottom line is that, too much money or not, Beltran was a five time All-Star, three time Gold Glover winner and before injuries averaged more than 30 HR and 110 RBI per season and two of those seasons he missed 20 games.
Beltran was derailed by injuries but was it his fault? Is it bad luck? Was it New York’s medical staff? And is it really fair to blame a bad signing on injuries that can’t be predicted? Name three centerfielders better than Carlos Beltran in the last decade and I’ll concede it was a mistake to sign Beltran but you’re not going to be able to name three. Is Carlos Beltran 70 percent of what he was in his brief stint in Houston? Sure. Is he better than almost every centerfielder in baseball? Yes. When Beltran is gone will it be a huge downgrade for the Mets? Yes.
The bigger issue is that even if Fred Wilpon truly believes every single word he said about Reyes and Beltran, he’s a moron for saying it. Wilpon and the Mets are in dire need of some money and nobody brings fans to the games more than Jose Reyes. By sealing the deal on the 1-in-1 million chance that Reyes might stick around Minaya has basically told fans to not bother coming to games anymore. I’m not going to pretend to know how to run a baseball team but I’m pretty sure no attendance is a bad thing financially.
On top of that the Mets will probably try and trade Reyes and/or Beltran this season. How is the current general manager supposed to get anything close to good when the other general manager can say at any time, “Reyes/Beltran isn’t worth that, even your own team owner doesn’t think so.” The Mets might as well just give Reyes and Beltran away for nothing now, because that is what they are going to get.
Wilpon says about David Wright, “Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”
When talks of Jose Reyes being traded started I argued that the Mets should find a way to keep Reyes and trade David Wright. David Wright is a very good player and he is everything you would want in a player, a teammate and a human being. It’s true though, that Wright has never reached that Derek-Jeter-for-the-Mets level that people expected, although to be fair, it’s hard to tell if someone is clutch when your team hasn’t played an important game in several years.
So maybe Wilpon is right. Maybe David Wright isn’t a “superstar”? But what exacthy is gained from throwing Wright under the bus? What did Wright do wrong? Wright hasn’t been in and out of the hospital like Beltran and Reyes, in fact, he tried to play through a concussion. Wright hasn’t avoided reporters when times were rough, Wright hasn’t ever said anything bad about the Mets. Wright shows up every day, works hard and tries to do and say everything right. If you ask any old-timer Hall of Famer about Wright they would probably talk about how he “plays the game the right way.”
At least with Reyes and Beltran you can understand the frustration around both players that could lead to an unfortunate tirade but why Wright? Why would the owner of a team blast the face of his team for no reason? Why would the owner treat one of the most likable players in baseball in such a manner? Regardless of what you think of David Wright, it’s bad business.
Not to mention David Wright is a free agent next year. Wilpon might have closed the door on Wright’s Mets career too. Just like with Reyes and Beltran, why would any team give the Mets fair value for Wright when the owner of the team doesn’t think he’s any good? I actually feel sorry for Mets fans. The Pittsburgh Pirates are my team and I feel we have more hope for the future than the Mets and that’s just sad. I hope that Wilpon and the Mets faithful REALLY like Justin Turner, Jason Pridie and Ruben Tejada or it’s going to be a long couple of years in Queens.