Where is Edgardo Alfonzo?
The Mets were rained out on Tuesday, forcing a good old fashioned twinbill on Wednesday.
Meantime, the Mets did some roster shuffling, bringing up Steve Schmoll for the express purpose of putting him on the 60-day DL and in effect ending his season so that another body could be added to the 40-man roster. The Mets already had an open spot, presumably to make room for Kelly Stinnett, as Paul LoDuca is in dire need of some extra breathers. When they maneuvered Schmoll, there was nostalgic hope that the move was intended to free up space for Edgardo Alfonzo.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. Remarkably, the space was opened up for none other than Ricky Ledee.
Did you get that? Luh-DEE … not La-DAY, as even the Mets announcers insist on calling him (he’s Latino, not French). No matter how you pronounce it, it makes no sense whatsoever to go through roster hula-hoops to make room for him. For what reason? Are 17 lefthanded-hitting outfielders sitting at the ready on the dugout bench not enough for Mr. Willie? Didn’t we already figure out that Michael Mother Tucker and Ledee was a virtual redundancy?
Even if Ledee proves to be slightly better than Tucker, it makes no difference, as he can’t be added to the postseason roster. And at age 33, it’s a little late to be auditioning for a possible 2007 roster spot; there are younger, better-tooled, cheaper alternatives. Unless this is a monthlong tryout for Jose Valentin’s winter team.
Rather than Ledee, the Mets could easily have promoted Edgardo Alfonzo. He was part of Omar’s first go-around with the Mets (when Minaya was under Steve Phillips), so he’s still welcome. As a fan favorite, his presence could help put at least a few fannies in the seats in September; lord knows it’s going to be tough to sell out meaningless games with the kids back at school. And out of all the positions where the Mets need help, second base and third base would appear to be the most obvious examples — after catcher — of where they could use some depth. Both old man Jose Valentin and young stud David Wright could use a few days off to get fresh for the playoffs, and, gee, Alfonzo plays both of those positions with aplomb. Not to mention the fact that he’s been playing fairly adequately for Norfolk, putting up a .265 average. That’s no great shakes, but it’s not awful — and it’s no worse than Ledee.
In addition to the nostalgic aspect, there is one huge reason the Mets should have added Alfonzo: he’s a winner. He’s always conducted himself as a winner, an all-around ballplayer who could do the little things as well as the big things needed to win a game. Whereas Ricky Ledee’s postseason experience was as a bit player and late-inning defensive replacement, Alfonzo was a starter, a top-of-the-lineup star for a championship team. His experience in that vital role, and his way of carrying himself, would have made him an excellent addition to a clubhouse that seeks a championship.
Instead, we have Ricky Ledee: an overhyped never-was who can sit on the bench next to Mike DeFelice, spit sunflower seeds, and keep Michael Tucker’s shoes polished.