Monday, December 03, 2007

Wally Apparently Won't Be Happy Until The Mets are Remade in His Image

Hot on the heels of his leading role in running Lastings Milledge out of town, our generations Dick Young, Wally Matthews, has turned his sights on that other malcontent, Jose Reyes. Now, I try not to read Wally, since most of what he writes is simple ass-hatterey, but in this case, I made an exception. I should not have, as my blood boiled.

Now, I hate the Milledge trade. I think it was short-sighted. I think ITAM (as he was named on Metsgeek), is going to be a very special player. I am not going to rant about it for years, because frankly, nothing will change. I wish him luck in Washington, where Manny Acta knows he is getting a good ball player. For those who think "Well, Omar filled two holes" actually, he only needed to fill one big one, PITCHING. I was fine with Milledge in right next year. I was fine with Castro/Estrada behind the plate. Schneider may call a great game, and Church seems to be a nice player, though at 29, he has probably hit his ceiling. I will not boo either of these guys, they are Mets. I also don't think Milledge was going to be the final piece of the puzzle. Had he been dealt for pitching, no problem. But to get back a catcher who can't hit, and a RF with less upside, that bothers me. And we all know why Milledge is gone. The media reminded us of his "shortcomings" every chance they got.

We've all read of the problems he had in high school. We all know about the hi-5's, the missed bus, the note hung on his locker. The rap record (which was amplified by the whole Don Imus thing). But you know what, the guy came to play. He wanted to succeed. He wanted to show everyone that he could play. And he did well in limited time, thanks to injuries. Are we to expect every player to come up and hit 320 right away? If so, then we will never see another youngster stay a Met. David Wright did it, but he is a special player. Others take time. LIke Mike Piazza. Like Daryl Strawberry. Like Jose Reyes.

You remember when Jose came up. Many fans were up in arms that Willie had him hit leadoff. "He can't do it, his OBP is too low". He kept getting hurt. But the team showed patience, and he blossomed, having a fantastic 2006 season. Then came last year. And now comes the blame game, with Wally leading the charge.

Here is what Wally wrote yesterday:

Of all the assets Lastings Milledge brought to the Mets, none will be missed nearly as much as his speed. I refer not to his time in the 90-foot dash but to the amazing speed with which his status plummeted from Untouchable to Undesirable. In a little under seven months, L Millz went from the kind of precious property with whom the Mets would not have parted in exchange for Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett and a vial of Tom Seaver's DNA thrown in, to a guy they couldn't wait to ship off for the equivalent of a sack of baseballs, a smear of eyeblack and a pine-tar rag.Now that's some kind of hustle.

Wally of course forgets that he wrote numerous stories beating on this kid. He also leaves out the decent stats Milledge put up in his time as a Met.

He followed with this:

There's a lesson to be learned in the fate of Milledge and it has nothing to do with hip-hop lyrics, high-fiving fans or wearing a cross the size of St. Patrick's Cathedral to the plate in your first major-league at-bat.It has everything to do with misjudging assets, overplaying hands and waiting a little too long to pull triggers. And it has a lot to do with Jose Reyes.

Yeah, the lesson is that some members of the media will continue to beat on you no matter what you do on the field if you offend their tender sensibilities.

But Wally did say one nice thing about Milledge:

Now don't get me wrong, Milledge isn't a bad player or a bad kid. In fact, I found him to be invariably polite and cordial in the clubhouse

But had to get in the jab

unlike many of the teammates who openly despised him.

Aw, Wally liked the kid. Yet that didn't stop him from leading the charge against him.

Now, here is where he gets on Jose

Two years ago, Reyes seemed deserving of the franchise player tag. He embodied everything the Mets were looking for - youth, talent and enthusiasm. He brought a joy to his day's work that too many major-leaguers no longer seem able to conjure up. If ever there were a guy to build a team around, it was Reyes.

After last year, however, I'm not so sure. In the second half of last season, when the Mets needed Reyes' talent, he struggled. When they needed his speed, he loafed. When they needed his enthusiasm, he pouted. All of the attributes that had made him an Untouchable were canceled out by his immaturity.

See, I don't mind if Jose wasn't smiling. He was pissed they were losing. If he was smiling, people would be all over him for that. Now, Wally gets on him for not smiling.

David Wright had an awful April. Yet, I did not see anyone saying he should be traded.

Reyes had a poor couple of months, yet Wally and others are saying he should go.

Tell me something Wally, if Reyes goes, who plays Shortstop? Anderson Hernandez, aka IPOR (In Play Out Recorded)? Who leads off? Carlos Gomez, who barely hit last year, and who has no spot since Ryan Church is now in Right Field.

Johan Santana is a great pitcher, but, as his record last year shows, even great pitchers will struggle if they do not have a good team around them. Trading Reyes for him removes Gold Glove caliber defense at short, a leadoff hitter, and a guy who has the talent to win multiple MVP's.

Am I happy he slumped? Am I happy he didn't run out a couple of balls? Hell no. But if he were to be traded, I would stop being a Mets fan. You do not trade 24 year old STARS, and that is what he is, a STAR because they slumped. You do not trade a STAR when you do not have a replacement for him.

Heck, there are no guarantees David Wright can improve on his last season (one in which he should have finished a hell of a lot higher in the MVP vote for by the way), so should the Mets trade him?

Wally, a writer can be short sighted and come up with asinine trade proposals. Thankfully, GM's don't listen to all of them. If Minnesota likes Reyes so much, then maybe Omar is right to not trade him. Minnesota has done a great job grooming young talent. Take a look at their roster sometime. Sadly, the Mets don't have the patience of the Twins. And much of that is due to a press that likes to harp on bullshit.

Wally likes to beat on the Mets. He had a column on Thanksgiving talking about how he had the column with the most negative responses in 2006 until that other asshat Jim Bambauch bitching about Al Arbour coaching the Islanders. The guy gets off on pissing on the Mets.

Maybe I need to take Wally with a grain of salt. Maybe I should look at him like what he really is, comedy, and laugh at the crap he spews.