In the wake of Monday’s explosive interview with the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, ostensibly designed to generate public empathy for Mets owner Fred Wilpon (the budget for Jay Horowitz’ retirement part was just slashed in half), the franchise has found itself the subject of the sort of mockery not seen since, well, the last time Tony Bernazard tore his shirt off in a crowded room. While it is entirely possible Wilpon’s offensive remarks regarding Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran (otherwise known as Greedy, Mr. Nice Guy and Totally Washed Up) were just Brooklyn Fred shooting the shit in-between bites of a Shack Shake burger, the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch suggests it might also have been a calculated way to announce a fire sale (“Wilpon’s observations were akin to a clanging of the Chuck Wagon Triangle bell”), though hardly the most advisable means of doing so.
Jose Reyes never has asked for Carl Crawford money from the Mets. He’s never asked for a penny yet. There have been no contract discussions between the shortstop and ownership, which means Wilpon only has managed to fray the fibers of the relationship. The Mets can forget about getting a hometown discount from Reyes this winter – and that’s assuming they have the money to negotiate in earnest.
Wright? He’s not Alex Rodriguez, but he’s nevertheless one of the five best third baseman in the game, a stand-up guy who has avoided the temptation to point out his failures – at least in hitting home runs — partly is the Wilpons’ fault. They’re the ones who built an absurdly large, asymmetrical ballpark that sabotaged Wright’s home run swing. There would’ve been a different career arc if Wright had played at Citizens Bank Park or Coors Field. Then Wilpon might’ve had a different appreciation for Wright.
One other reminder: Wright has gone out of his way to be kind to the Wilpons during their humiliation in the Madoff scandal. If Fred Wilpon’s payback is to remind the world of Wright’s deficiencies, then Wright should be looking for the door, too.
Loyalists are supposed to forget that Reyes — whom Wilpon disparaged by saying, “has had everything go wrong with him” — battled through a thyroid scare. They’re asked to gloss over the fact that Beltran’s decline is due, in part, to injury. Wilpon mocks himself for signing Beltran to a $119 million contract, as if the Mets didn’t get a return on their investment.
“The only swap that makes sense is new ownership at Citi Field,” concludes Klapisch, “one that has enough money to coexist in the same market as the Yankees and has a sensible three- to five-year business plan”, and while I don’t disagree with that assessment, I remain worried, nay, terrified (perhaps irrationally) that James D’ohlan meeting only half of those criteria would be enough to gain MLB approval.