Hey Jeff: Fire The Fraud
Hope you had a nice Father’s Day, Jeff. How’s dad? I know it’s hard to think that there are more Father’s Days behind him than in front of him, so cherish each one. I’m frequently sorry that my Dad passed away before my son was born. They would have really liked each other.
Good of you to be running the family business as dad ages. This way he gets to keep his status and has a place for his memories. Considering that you were the guy who introduced him to “Uncle Bernie,” it’s probably the least you could do. Well, you could sell the whole thing, but I am trying to stay realistic here.
Speaking of smooth talkers who have flim-flammed you and dad, I’d like to bring your attention to one currently in your employ who has been taking you and your team for a ride for almost five years now.
Yes, he got the job because of one of your dad’s pals, but apparently Mr. Bud didn’t really vet this guy enough before he foisted him on you. The team’s overall record since his arrival is nearly 40 games below .500. During the same time he has been in his role, his younger, more energetic and most likely more talented counterparts have resurrected previously moribund franchises in Washington, Houston, the north side of Chicago, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. Meanwhile, he keeps telling you to wait one more year. He takes your money while slyly hinting to the hyenas in the press that your family’s finances are the reason why his hands are tied. These pronouncements made him a somewhat sympathetic figure, but his hubris got the best of him when he signed a contract extension. With that move, he was revealed as not the good soldier in an impossible situation, but as The Fraud. He is perpetrating this fraud on you and on us.
Like Uncle Bernie, The Fraud makes some noises that do indeed sound correct. Too bad he conveniently forgets most of his maxims when he is let loose in the marketplace.
Jeff, in a few weeks, when your team is below .500 and fending off the Marlins for 3rd place, The Fraud will probably come to you with a trade proposal. It will be a bad trade; costing you prospects and making you take on a big contract, most likely for a player on the wrong side of 30, a player whom The Fraud plans on moving out of position. Don’t do it, Jeff. Part of the scam is to push you so far into the hole that you will lose all control to him. Instead you need to end this now by showing The Fraud and his cronies the door.
You apparently don’t let trivialities like justifiable cause hold you back from firing staff members, Jeff , but to help you out, here is a list of The Fraud’s more flagrant fouls:
- The Curtis Granderson signing. Early on, The Fraud stated that he never wants to pay a player for what he did for another team. He cited the Jason Bay contract. Ask him, then, to explain this signing. Granderson is being paid for those two 40+ home run years he had for the Yankees. This transaction had red flags all over it from the moment it was announced and most of the dire predictions have come true. Grandy has become a Punch and Judy hitter. Not enough power to hit in the middle of the order and not a high enough OBP to be a leadoff guy. Then there’s his defense. Get ready Jeff, you are going to have to eat a lot of this contract and maybe even take on a less bad (but still bad) contract just to get rid of this guy.
- Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler. The Fraud launched his reputation off this deal. Ever wonder why a smart team like the Giants was so willing to part with Wheeler? I did, until I saw him pitch in a AAA game at the end of 2012. He looked just like he would for the season and a half before he got hurt: wild and only marginally effective. I get it that a clause in Beltran’s contract made him a difficult move. But the value the Mets have received on this deal certainly hasn’t matched the hype wrapped around it. This is part of the scam Jeff. See through it.
- Marlon Byrd and John Buck for Dilson Herrera and Victor Black. More prospect hype here. The Fraud supposedly acquired the second baseman of the future and a live bullpen arm for two spare parts. Now for the reality: Byrd and Buck helped the Pirates to their first playoff berth in nearly a generation. Brought on as rentals, they did their jobs and then moved on. Black is on what, his third DL visit, while Herrera can’t hit. In fact he is in danger of being replaced by Ruben Tejada, who is The Fraud’s answer to every question. Who is going to replace Jose Reyes? Tejada. Who is going to play third now that everyone else is hurt? Tejada. Who is going to play second after we send Dilson down? Tejada. Good thing Ruben has no bullpen experience!
- R.A. Dickey and two catchers for Travis d’Arnaud, “Thor” and a Single-A Slugger. Like many of The Fraud’s other moves, this one looks good on the surface. He converted an aging journeyman with a gimmick pitch coming off a season of a lifetime into two top prospects and one lottery ticket. As predicted, Dickey has come back to earth. But TdA reminds me of Joe Namath: talented yes, but so injury prone as to be unreliable. The Jets built their team around Namath (they let go of John Riggins as part of this) and when he suffered a series of injuries in the early 70’s, it put them into a tailspin that took nearly 10 years to recover from. This latest injury for Travis is just another reminder of how fragile he is and the potential foolhardiness of anointing him as both their main catcher and an important offensive contributor. Syndergaard needs to start saying “Just call me Noah,” until he you know, actually wins something.
- Collin McHugh for Eric Young Jr. EYJ was The Fraud’s response to those calling for more speed in the Met lineup. EYJ’s stats in Colorado weren’t an aberration: he just doesn’t get on base enough. The Fraud traded an unsexy pitching prospect for him. True to form, EYJ just couldn’t get on base enough. But wait, wasn’t The Fraud proclaimed as the Godfather of Moneyball? Didn’t he invent OBP? Did he even look at McHugh’s minor league pitching peripherals? Two years later, EYJ is gone, while McHugh and his half-million dollar contract is a top of the rotation arm on a surprising Houston team. If the Mets kept McHugh there is no Dillon Gee and his $5M contract playing in AAA Vegas and no $20M being spent on Bartolo Colon. Ouch!
- Banishing Justin Turner. He didn’t “hustle enough.” He is slashing .333/.401/.579 right now for the Dodgers, about what he did for them last year as well. Quick: how many Mets regulars are even close to this slash line? Ouch again. There is some “hustling” going on somewhere in this organization for sure, don’t you think Jeff?
- Drafting Gavin Cecchini over Corey Seager. Cecchini had a nice month in Double A, but has since slumped and returned to his previous non-prospect status. Seager, the next shortstop taken in the 2012 draft, is probably the best prospect at that position in all of baseball. After five years of drafting, only one of The Fraud’s picks (Michael Conforto) looks as if he may be more than an average major leaguer. Conforto is part of the next wave of propaganda from The Fraud and his cronies: wait for the young pitchers hitters to arrive. Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario are part of this shell-game narrative that will grow more audible as the season drags on.
- Banishing Angel Pagan: Very much like the Turner situation. In this case, The Fraud got two warm bodies for Angel. The Giants got their World Series champ centerfielder. The Mets **ahem** “leaked” some **ahem** “messy” stories about Pagan. He apparently cleaned up pretty well.
- Paralysis by Analysis: It happens every winter Jeff and then echoes at the end of every July: The Fraud stands pat, refusing to re-arrange or augment his roster, ignoring the fact that it needs an overhauling and apparently lacking the creativity and/or the energy to do what he is being paid so handsomely to do. Instead there is a bunch of talk about monitoring and canvassing and having conversations. But in the end, it’s (almost) nothing, which when you ponder many of the points above, isn’t an entirely bad thing!
A little history lesson here Jeff: if your team finishes the year below .500 it will mark seven consecutive losing seasons here in Queens. This will match the franchise records for futility. The other two stretches included the Mets of the Casey Stengel era (1962-68) and the post-midnight massacre era of 1977-83. Do you really want a third dry spell, this one attached to your stewardship of the team?
Given the stadium you play in and the number of good pitching staffs in the National League, you need a team that makes contact at the plate and runs the bases well. They need to be at least adept defensively. If a bespectacled History major, whose pinnacle of athletic achievement was the starting right fielder for a church softball team can see this, then why have you paid The Fraud and his henchmen millions to build a team that is almost the exact opposite of this? And this team he has built is a loser. That’s the beauty and the curse of baseball, Jeff. The game exposes every weakness and every flaw. It has exposed The Fraud. You alone Jeff, have the power to end this. For our sakes and for dear old dad, do it. You do know that you and dad are once again the laughingstock of this city and probably most of MLB right now, don’t you?
Apparently a few scribes for Alexander Hamilton’s tabloid read this blog. Is it too much to ask them to at least acknowledge where they get some of their content?