You never know where a night without baseball is going to take you.
I expected to sit down to talk about Rafael Montero and his balk which wound up ruining his day in a 5-1 loss. Then I was going to go lighthearted and talk about the Little League jerseys that the Mets will be wearing in Washington near the end of the month. I actually like them and think the nicknames that players will be wearing is a great way to market players. It’s one of the shrewdest things that MLB has done in a while, (even if it was done first in the XFL.)
But then the chatter started at about 10:00.
“What do you know about Jay Bruce going to Cleveland?”
Something about the man’s tone told that this wasn’t a drill. Sure enough, Bruce was going to Cleveland. Okay. Made sense since Michael Brantley got injured a couple of days ago that the Indians would renew its interest in Bruce, and since he had already cleared waivers a trade would be easy. Now the Mets had a chance to unload him, slide Michael Conforto to a corner spot, bring up Dominic Smith, and set themselves up to get a center fielder next season. Fine. With the Indians now a little bit desperate for help and Bruce having a good season, and since the Mets previously told us that they would pay the freight on salaries to get better players back, this was the trade that was going to yield a somewhat good return, right?
So many aspects that are frustrating about this. I get that the return wasn’t going to be all that great for a guy heading into free agency. I get that trading Bruce to the Yankees would have hurt our psyche short term … but hell, we’re used to that. We lived through Doc and Darryl in 1996 and beyond, we would have lived through Jay Bruce as a Yankee for two months in 2017. The Mets couldn’t trade him in the off-season, and they couldn’t trade him through July. But Bruce’s production this season gave the Mets a chance to get a decent return for him. And I suppose they did … they got $5 million.
The Mets weren’t getting anywhere close to Clint Frazier and Chance Adams for Bruce, but anything the Yankees would have given them would have had a better chance at success than Ryder Ryan, a guy who sounds like he came off the set of an adult entertainment shoot. The Wilpons wanted the money, and made sure Alderson got it for them. Sure, they can re-invest that $4 million into next season’s payroll. But let’s be honest once again: A team in New York City with their own television network has to choose between better prospects and $4 million? Is $4 million going to be the difference between getting Lorenzo Cain or Mike Moustakas and not getting them? And again, be honest: Do you really expect this team to do the right thing and re-invest that money into real upgrades for the team rather than somehow selling us Juan Lagares in center, Travis d’Arnaud as your catcher, and some combination of T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores in the infield?
Let’s face it, spending that money in the off-season … every penny of it … is the only way you can defend the paltry return this deal gives you. Has this organization’s recent history told you that they are going to do that? Yoenis Cespedes was an outlier. He’s here because there was immense pressure for the Mets to not slide back into mediocrity … and because he can be marketed. Jay Bruce wasn’t getting any Marvel bobbleheads to bring people into the park so to the Wilpons, his value was only in the money that could be saved, and not in the prospects they could bring back.
And before anybody complains about how this is Sandy, Sandy, Sandy, remember Billy Wagner? Remember when he got traded from to the Red Sox for Chris “The Animal” Carter and Eddie Lora (who seem like All-Stars compared to Ryder Ryan) because they didn’t want to pick up the rest of the money on Wagner’s contract? Different GM, but wouldn’t you know it, the same owners. Alderson may be too smart for his own good but he’s not the problem here. Let’s not repeat the same pattern of blaming the GM when there is clearly a mandate from ownership, just as there was in 2009. That $4 million is going to finance Jeffy’s e-sports league team. You know it, I know it. Fictional players seem to be more his speed since he seemingly just traded for one.
Today’s Hate List
Probably best not to ask.