As Repoz at Baseball Think Factory has aleady noted, Newday’s Wallace Matthews is riding Gotham Baseball’s jock. Though it took the print journalist to come up with gratuitous swipes at Lastings Milledge and Bobby Valentine (!) while claiming, “one general manager’s 24-and-1 guy could just as easily be another’s 54-and-156 guy.”
In the seven years since they passed on A-Rod, a lot has changed around the Mets. They have gotten a little better on the field and they have gotten a lot more tolerant in the clubhouse toward the concept of the 24-and-1 guy, hence Pedro Martinez. Then there’s Tom Glavine. 23-and-1. Jose Reyes. 22-and-1. Lastings Milledge. You get the idea.
Think of how easy a transition this would be. Rodriguez could hold on to his apartment in Manhattan. He still could sunbathe in the park. (Flushing Meadow, not Central.) The Mets, having learned from past mistakes, could offer Alex and Cynthia their own reality show on SNY. (Anna Benson is going to be sooooo jealous!) And just like that, all those unsold luxury boxes and season subscriptions to Citi Field will vanish like Carlos Delgado during “God Bless America.”
For the first time in their history, the Mets would have the best player in the game while he still was the best player in the game. For the first time in their history, they could sign a free agent and watch him get better, not worse.
And for one of the few times in their history, the Mets’ lineup would have a hitter you would delay a trip to the rest.room to watch hit. Darryl Strawberry was that guy 20 years ago. A-Rod is that guy now.
Sure, they would have to rearrange some furniture — how about A-Rod to third, David Wright to first and Delgado to the American League as a DH? Or A-Rod back to short and Jose Reyes to Minnesota for Johan Santana? — but you’re adding a Ming vase here. You can lose an end table.
And before you start carping about A-Rod’s postseason performance or lack thereof, just remember that these are the Mets we’re talking about. Chances are there will be no postseason. Unless, of course, Rodriguez does for them what he did for the Yankees this year.
Incredibly, all it took was one poor 2nd half for the game’s most exciting player to turn into trade bait for Johan Santana. I can’t argue the latter wouldn’t be a better fit in the Mets rotation than say, Kyle Lohse, but he did give up 33 HR’s in 2007.
Baseball considerations aside, Rodriguez could be excused from tiring of the losing battle with the New York media. He’s unlikely to find a move to Flushing any less pressure packed — keep in mind the Mets were the local team whose owner’s son felt compelled to offer a public apology for a 2nd place finish.