Heyman: Sour Grapes?
Just hours before the Shawn Green deal was announced, SI.com columnist Jon Heyman “broke” the story that the Mets were on the heels of a deal to bring Moises Alou to New York.
The story to acquire the leftfielder came out of left field, as Heyman was the only legitimate news writer to broach the subject (unless of course, you consider me as legit … I’m not, as I’m without “inside sources” and therefore a lowly theorist). Heyman wrote that the main reason the Mets were stalling on the Green deal, was that they were waiting for the Giants to fall out of contention and deal away Alou.
However, while Heyman was typing up his story, Shawn Green was saying goodbye to his Arizona teammates. Minutes after the Alou column was posted to SI.com, the Green deal was being unofficially announced on talk radio.
Today, Heyman led his column by berating Gary Sheffield for sitting on the DL. On page two, his bitterness continued in his second headline: “Green is no Alou, or even Nady”. He went on to argue that Moises Alou was indeed the Mets’ true target, going as far as to say that Omar might still be after him. Further, he pointed out the negatives of Shawn Green’s recent downslide and big contract, as well as comparing a few well-selected statistics of his against the “improving young player” that is Xavier Nady. Looking at the random stats, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference between Nady and Green, which was why the Mets didn’t really “panic” (as Heyman stated), in the deal that netted pitchers Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez: because .260-hitting outfielders with some power are a dime a dozen, while pitching — any kind — is always at a premium. While it was true that Nady is blossoming this year, players like him are much easier to replace than a dominating relief pitcher. Heyman also glazed over the fact that the Mets received Oliver Perez — a 25-year-old, 97-MPH lefty — in the Nady deal.
What today’s column amounts to is sour grapes. Heyman’s thunder of “breaking” the Alou story was quickly silenced, which must have really peeved the writer. Further, he may have realized that he was the object of a ploy by Mets brass to — ironically — accelerate the Green deal. If you’re a conspiracy theorist consider this possibility: the Mets want Green, but don’t want his salary. The D’Backs want to dump Green, but with Cliff Floyd out indefinitely, and Lastings Milledge struggling, they figure they can get the Mets to take on all or most of Green’s green. Time is running out as they haggle over the dollars, and the closer it gets to August 31, the less leverage the Mets would have to make Arizona take on salary. So, Omar Minaya gets one of his aides to float the rumor that their real target is Moises Alou. If the Mets get Alou, there’s no way they go after Green, so Arizona no longer has the upper hand and must move quickly to complete the deal, before the Giants clip their wild card hopes.
However, by the time the aide gets the “story” to Heyman, it’s too late; the deal is done. Heyman doesn’t know this, bangs out the column, and now looks the fool.
Of course, this conspiracy theory can be proven moot if in fact the Mets obtain Alou in the next week — which seems highly unlikely despite Heyman’s assertion that “some Mets officials … haven’t given up hope that it still can be accomplished”. The main problem is, no one is sure if Alou has passed through waivers, nor if he’d be able to. It’s hard to believe a clutch bat of his caliber, combined with the end of his contract, would pass through so easily. Surely the Cardinals, who just took a flyer on Preston Wilson, would have considered renting Alou for the stretch run. If not the Cardinals, what about the Astros, the Twins, or the Angels? They’re all desperately looking for a bat. Since the waiver wire is not available to the public, we’ll never know for sure if Alou passed through safely, but I’m betting it wouldn’t happen — not when there’s almost no money owed to him after October.
Would the Mets preferred to have Alou? Maybe. But the possibility of landing him, at this point in the year, seems closer to a pipe dream than reality. Heyman would have done better to swallow his pride and pretend that he never “broke” the Alou story, rather than bringing attention to it again. At this point, there’s a better chance of the Mets bringing in a second-string catcher (Paul Bako? Josh Paul? Ronny Paulino?) than Moises Alou.