Mets still can't find any stability
So far, it’s only gossip on the rumor mill.
The thought of the Mets being willing to shop shortstop Jose Reyes and/or third baseman David Wright is perplexing.
Hasn’t this franchise learned yet? This is, after all, the franchise’s 50th anniversary. However, the Mets are still a franchise in transition. They have yet to find stability.
No wonder the Mets remain the Big Apple's other team.
There was a stretch from 1984 to '92 in which the Mets outdrew the Yankees annually. Yeah, nine years out of 50. Wow.
But then nine years is a virtual eternity in the world of the Mets.
Traditions are built over time. However, the Mets have been the team in a hurry that keeps going in circles.
They have two homegrown players with a chance to be the cornerstone for long-term success, but instead they are reportedly ready to see what they can get in return for Reyes, 27, and Wright, 28.
OK, there is the rumbling that the Mets don’t really want to get rid of either one, but the Bernie Madoff fiasco has left the Wilpon family in such a financial mess that the Mets can’t afford to keep them — particularly Reyes, who is free-agent eligible in the fall and figures to get one of those $100-million-plus deals.
That is certainly a headache. But get serious.
The Madoff mess is obviously a financial nightmare, but the Mets have been bungling their own finances without outside inference.
How can a team shudder at paying the price to keep Reyes or question whether it can afford the $15 million that Wright is guaranteed next year, but is paying $12 million to Oliver Perez, $6 million to Luis Castillo, $1 million to Gary Matthews Jr. and $725,000 to Blaine Boyer to not play for them?
Reyes and Wright are a financial drag, and this is a franchise that is coughing up $18.5 million this year for Carlos Beltran, and has $55 million guaranteed over the next two years to injured Johan Santana, who is making $22.5 million on the disabled list this year. Oh yeah, and Jason Bay is making $16 million not only this year but again next year and in 2013.
Bottom line is the Mets never have embraced the idea of creating icons in uniforms. There was never a doubt that the Yankees last winter were going to make sure they re-signed Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. No way will those two ever wear a uniform other than one with Yankee pinstripes.
Jackie Robinson impacted society — not just baseball — arguably more than any person in history, but he was a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who fled to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. Just the same, when the Mets built Citi Field, the focal point was the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. A year later they were busy trying to create some tributes to former Mets.
San Diego and the Mets are the only franchises that have never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter. However, the Mets' farm system produced four pitchers who have thrown no-hitters for other teams. Nolan Ryan has a record-setting seven on his resume. Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Mike Scott each threw one. Gooden even did it, of all things, for the Yankees.
They have had one player, Seaver, go into the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap, and they traded him, in another one of their cash-flushing maneuvers, at the age of 32. He pitched another nine seasons, led the NL in victories for Cincinnati in 1981, and was a two-time All-Star with the Reds.
A diehard Mets fan rattled off his all-time Mets team, and left fielder Darryl Strawberry and shortstop Bud Harrelson were the only members originally signed by the Mets.
When Seaver signed with the Mets out of USC, it was only because of a technicality. Then-commissioner William Eckert voided the contract Seaver signed after being drafted by Atlanta because Seaver’s college team played two exhibition games, even though Seaver didn’t participate in either.
When Seaver’s eligibility at USC was voided because he had signed a pro deal, his father threatened a suit against baseball, which prompted Eckert to rule that any team willing to match the Braves’ offer would be eligible to sign Seaver. The Mets, Indians and Phillies coughed up the money. The Mets won the lottery.
The rest of the all-Mets team came from other organizations.
Catcher Gary Carter is wearing a Montreal hat on his plaque in Cooperstown. First baseman Keith Hernandez spent his first 10 big-league seasons in St. Louis and the next seven at Shea Stadium. Third baseman Howard Johnson was a product of the Detroit system. Center fielder Tommy Agee came up with Cleveland. Closer John Franco was originally a Dodger.
Maybe the Mets should adopt a moving van as the symbol of their franchise to underscore the team’s long-standing transient nature.