Despite a current 4 game winning streak against putrid competition, few expect the New York Mets to contend for much this season other than leading the big leagues in bounced checks. Playing to acres of empty seats at their 2-year-old ballpark, if the Amazins aren’t candidates for an immediate fire sale, the Village Voice’s Allen Barra considers an April 22 item from ESPN’s Adam Rubin sufficient cause to wonder how soon David Wright will be wearing someone else’s uniform (“if the Mets do dismantle and commit to rebuilding, Wright will be into his 30s by the time the team truly is a threat again..the Mets will have wasted much of the prime of his career”).
Last Thursday, in a rare moment of wry wit, Wright (above, left) noted that playing in the Rays stadium instead of Citi Field, “I might get a few more home runs.” The suggestion being that a trade of Wright for Evan Longoria might be in the works – which would save the Mets’ a wallet-full of cash as Longoria’s contract through 2013 calls for him to get $2 million, $4.5 million and $6 million while Wright’s contract calls for $15 million next season with the Mets holding an option for $16 million after that. (Though why the cheapskate Rays would deal for a player they’d have to pay so much for hasn’t been explained.)
Of course, there are a lot of places where Wright might get a few more home runs and where they could afford him, like Coors Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or — the horror, the horror – Citizens’ Bank Park.
Over at Bleacher Report, Christopher Howland writes that “the possibilities of a mid-season fire sale are quickly becoming a reality … ” and that “the worst thing that could happen to the 2011 Mets is that they continue to play bottom of the barrel baseball, and when the July trade deadline comes around, GM Sandy Alderson plays no favorites and puts a majority of the team on the trading block.”
After you’ve gotten your head around the credible Barra citing a passage from the Bleacher Report, ask yourself this — what halfway -savvy Mets fan actually gives a shit about the won-loss record of the 2011 club compared to their long-term ability to compete? Granted, trading a homegrown superstar like Wright would be a bitter pill for many reasons, but if it were to yield a younger, cheaper star such as Longoria (like Barra, I can’t possibly figure out why Tampa would be interested, unless the Mets were ready to give up some less-tenured talent of their own), that wouldn’t be the worst outcome. But rather than harass sweet David Wright when he’s trying to prepare for a ballgame, why isn’t anyone bugging the likes of Fred and Jeff Wilpon about a long overdue reassessment of Citi Field’s dimensions? If the park is such an obvious obstacle to Wright’s offensive production that everyone from Gary Cohen to Marty Noble to Wright himself is willing to say as much, isn’t some adjustment in 2012 a viable alternative to cutting bait on a player the franchise has so much money and hope invested in?