When the franchise owner is mocking his franchise players’ reliability in the pages of The New Yorker, isn’t it a bit loud to be called “a whispering campaign”? Should we lend any credibility whatsoever to the Mets’ take on a star’s physical condition given, for instance, the manner in which Ryan Church was placed on a cross-country flight while nursing a concussion? David Wright was unable to grip a bat prior to Friday’s 5-2 win in Philadelphia, but if you’re inclined to think his fractured pinkie has no bearing on the third-baseman’s pending free agency, The Mets helpfully provided the New York Daily News’ Andy Martino with the start of a smear job (“the new regime has simply not seen Wright play enough to decide if he is still in his prime,”), which in the view of Capital New York’s Howard Megadal, is uncannily similar to the club’s handling of Jose Reyes. Amongst others (“who can forget when the Mets held a conference call to discuss their legal options and anger with Carlos Beltran for having the knee surgery that has allowed him to resume his career as a productive player?”).
The point isn’t that the Mets don’t have the right to hope their players return to the field. But the organization continues to both feed the sympathetic members of the press internal doubts about their players, damaging reputations in the process, while failing to provide cover to their players so they can make intelligent decisions about returning.
Which, by the way, is not only in the interest of the player, but of the team as well.
Ultimately, this public pressure on two fronts with Wright could be about either of two goals. The Mets could be so intent on getting Wright back, along with the box office draw he represents, that they have prioritized this over making sure his pinky is healthy. Or they finally see an opening to go after the reputation of a player who is loved by the fans ahead of any decision to ultimately trade him or, more likely, simply fail to retain him once his contract is up.