I will leave it to others to point out the numerous problems with Fred Wilpon ripping his players in The New Yorker this week. Let’s just take them one by one.
Is David Wright a good guy, not a superstar? Well, even including his 2011, mostly played with a stress fracture in his back and therefore not likely to indicate his current talent, Wright has the seventh-highest OPS of any 3B through his age-28 season. The other six include five Hall of famers- Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Home Run Baker, Wade Boggs- and likely Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.
I’m sorry, but a guy on track to be the seventh-best offensive third baseman ever is a superstar. Period. That doesn’t even take into account his remarkably durability- his current spell is just his second trip to the Disabled List. Strike one, Fred.
As for Jose Reyes, who wants Carl Crawford money according to Wilpon and “won’t get it” because he’s had “everything wrong with him”, afraid that one looks bad, too. Reyes is a comparable offensive player to Crawford, but while Crawford plays left field, Reyes plays shortstop. He’s also more than a year younger than Crawford.
And Reyes played constantly from 2005-2008. If there are teams out there who place the blame for Reyes’ lost 2009 season on the Mets for their failure to diagnose him correctly initially, then starting a whispering campaign to push Jose to return for a meaningless final-weekend series (and injure himself further), well, they wouldn’t be alone. And the same is true of sending Reyes out in 2010 when he felt pain hitting from one side of the plate- and shocker, hurt himself again.
Strike two, Fred.
On Beltran: teams pay a premium of years to get players signed they otherwise couldn’t sign. So the fact that the Mets had the clear best center fielder in baseball for all of 2006-2008 and half of 2009 almost makes the contract worth it absent any production in 2005 or 2010. That they now have the most valuable right fielder through a quarter of 2011? Gravy.
Oh, worth mentioning: Beltran has been playing through an arthritic condition in his knee all along. Fred’s comments are some thank you present, but let’s stay baseball-focused- Beltran is both the best center fielder in team history and the best free agent signing. So Fred taking the “blame” for that one? Strike three.
As to his characterization of the team, that may simply be a projection based on revenue. We shall see.