For Us Tortured Fans, There is No Offseason

Posted: November 5, 2011 by mzyohai in Mets, MLB, Opinion, Red Sox
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mike: Well, the deadline has come and gone for the Cubs and Sox to make a deal on compensation for yoinking Epstein while he was still under contract with Boston. After John Henry banks a couple of million from this deal, what’s his first move, besides buying himself a fake World Series trophy for the season his manager and team completely squandered?

I know it’s probably still too soon to talk about how epically shitty your team was at the end of the season, but with any Red Sox talk, I feel it my duty to bring up any and all still-painful memories. (By the way, did you catch the Bill Buckner 25-year special on ESPN? I think it was subtitled: 25 Years Since Mets Fans Had a Lobotomy and Were Able to Feel Anything.)
………….

Fuck! Why did I bring up baseball?

Nick: Sadly, I think all the Red Sox are going to get out of the Cubs in exchange for Theo is some midlevel prospect currently at AA. Said prospect will only be good for getting called up from Triple-A after the bullpen has been maxed out in an extra inning game the night before, meaning the team needs someone who can be available to come in and eat up innings if the starter doesn’t last very long (a familiar sensation for you – and no, it never gets old). When he does make an appearance, he will promptly get shelled, but he’ll still have to stay in for at least two innings even though he is completely ineffective in order to save the bullpen pitchers with legitimate talent. The next day, he’ll be demoted right back to his miserable existence as a minor league baseball player too good to quit, but not good enough to have any real future.

I’m 98% sure that is exactly what is going to happen. The Red Sox won’t get any money in the deal, mainly because they don’t need it – John Henry already owns the Red Sox AND Liverpool, a private yacht, and he can buy every member of the Red Sox $300 headphones on a whim simply because they’re unhappy with having to play a doubleheader late in the season when they’re tired and just want to drink beer, eat fried chicken, and play video games. (Ohhhh, right, they did that anyway. Cool.)

Mike: You think that’s bad? The Mets had a “porn room” in late-nineties slash Y2k years. Well, I guess the porn room was something every player could enjoy. Beer, KFC, and X-box only works for those who aren’t playing. Elitists.

Nick: Speaking of pleasuring myself: the Red Sox originally asked for Starlin Castro (I would have had a sports-gasm), then “dialed back” to request Cubs ace Matt Garza. Needless to say, Theo just laughed in their faces, and now they have been playing this game of chicken where neither side makes a serious offer.

Mike: A game of fried chicken?

Nick: Rotisserie chicken. Now the deadline has passed, which originally meant Commissioner Bud Selig would make some arbitrary decision by picking a random Cubs prospect out of a baseball cap (pissing me off to no end). Instead, the Cubs and Red Sox received an extension so Theo can continue negotiating over himself and how much he thinks he is worth (drawing out this idiotic game of cat and mouse, and also pissing me off to no end).

The only good thing about Theo leaving was that it forced me to think about his legacy as a GM. So instead of constantly banging my head against the side of our building ever since the playoffs began, I got to focus on the two (real) World Series trophies he helped bring to Boston!

Mike: Do you think Yankees fans have memories? Or do they just forget about one World Series as soon as they win it?

Nick: You can’t have memories if you don’t have a soul. Similar to how ghosts don’t have a reflection.  But the Theo Era is over, and now Ben Cherington takes over as general manager. He needs to find a manager (I’m pretty much indifferent, at least until the moment when Bobby Valentine’s name surfaces as a serious candidate, at which point I’ll devolve into this).

I’m pretty sure the Red Sox are going to re-sign Ortiz and Papelbon, “for the right price,” of course. I don’t really see any way that they don’t keep them, though, particularly Papelbon after the pitching implosion of 2011. I could maybe see Ortiz walking to another AL team that wants to severely overpay for him, but only the Yankees really have the resources to do that, and I don’t think they’re signing a DH since they like to keep that slot open to rotate in their position players as DH on their days “off.”

Mike: I don’t know, the Yankees seem to have taken particular pleasure in yoinking Damen out of Boston pretty much out of pure spite. I’m sure the Yankees would consider paying him to merely wear pinstripes and then send a postcard to every home in Boston. “Greetings from the Bronx!”

Nick: Serenity now, serenity now! I almost vomited until I remembered that Lackey is mercifully out for all of next season after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past week. I can’t decide if I’m a bad person for being excited about surgery to reconstruct someone’s elbow. Since I have to watch him make $80 million for being marginally better than I would be as a major league pitcher, I tend to think God won’t condemn me (at least on this one – I’m still screwed overall).

That leaves us short starting pitching, though. If we sign C.J. Wilson to some 6 year, $90 million contract, please wait until I fall asleep that night, walk down the hall, and smother me with your pillow. Luckily, I think Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka (and Carl Crawford, for that matter) have scared the Red Sox away from big free agent signings. We’re going to go after a bunch of low-risk, high-reward type players that have contracts laden with incentives; Cherington has hinted as much. We’ll gamble on some players coming off injuries or sneaky good seasons, then hope for the best.  In the end, they’ll probably flame out and stink just as much as Snooki’s nether regions. But at least expectations will be low, so there will only be room for me to be pleasantly surprised instead of soul-crushingly disappointed. Can you tell I’m already looking forward to spring training?

But we can’t discuss the offseason without broaching what your Mets are going to do. They’re moving in the walls at Citi Field, making it possible that their best player might actually succeed. The question is, will David Wright have Jose Reyes hitting in front of him next year, or are you already preparing for next season as if he is long gone?

In other words, how do you feel about your owner crippling your franchise by being caught up in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme?

Mike: You know it’s a good sign when I’m already bracing myself for how embarrassed I’ll feel to walk around New York in my Mets hat. During the season I get to feel confident in the beginning and for a 3-week stretch somewhere in June/July. Afterwards, it’s all misery and shame. Especially when the Mets have been so humiliated that I decide I need to publicly shame myself by donning the blue and orange cap.

Reyes is now an unrestricted free agent and the Mets have $65 million tied up in three players: Santana, Wright, and Bay. Better known as: Didn’t Play, Couldn’t Play, Might As Well Not Have Played… Ever.

Nick: In Boston we call those J. D. Drew’s.

Mike: I call them Oliver Perez’s. There is no way Reyes will hit at the top of the Mets’ line up in 2012. With Peter Greenberg at the helm of the S.S. Reyes, you know he’ll be steering for the biggest contract he can land with a team that doesn’t need to have a Blumpkin Day promotion to bring fans to the park – I’m looking at you, Marlins.

Come on, if Peter Greenberg can get the Marco Scutaro a contract with the Red Sox, the man must be talented. Actually, wait. That’s the same Red Sox who signed Carl Crawford to a $142 million deal, right? Damn, this agency business must be easier than you are after a two appletinis. (Don’t forget the cherry!)

Nick: You take that back about Marco Scutaro. He was pretty much the only bright spot in September, hitting something like .377 for the month. He has been half-decent at shortstop, especially considering the curse that saw us run through a revolving SS door of Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Nick Green (dear God), and Alex Gonzalez again – all since 2004.

As for the appletinis, I plead the fifth.  As in, I want a fifth of appletini.  They’re SO delicious.

Mike: Oh, and I would like to set the record straight: Fred Wilpon has not got the Mets franchise caught up in a Ponzi scheme. He’s got the team caught up in TWO Ponzi schemes. One could be a mistake; two is conscious decision. Give the man some credit – he’s doing more than anybody else in that organization to undermine their legitimacy. Slackers.

Fred Wilpon willfully sought to rob each and every Mets fan of their soul to such a degree over the past ten seasons, that every Mets fan has become so accustomed, nay, numb to disappointment and baffling managerial blunders that the Mets organization will actually get away with letting Reyes walk. Non-zombie fans would actually raise a stink about their team letting the only constant bright spot of the organization walk to another team. (If I knew a single Cardinals fan, I would say that they’re likely to raise hell if Pujols skips town. But I don’t. I’ll call Nelly this weekend and see what he has to say about it.)

Because I know he’s going away, I’ve made a list of the teams I find to be acceptable:

Houston Astros – he’ll be absolutely useless, even Reyes can’t make that team good.
Chicago Cubs – I want Epstein’s first move at Wrigley to be signing Reyes, because it will piss you off.
Baltimore Orioles – I want to watch Reyes celebrate beating the Yankees with his dreads flopping everywhere.

Every other team is unacceptable. And no, I don’t care if these three teams clearly cannot afford him. Practicality is not my concern. My main concern is having a good baseball team, and short of that I only care about the vindication of my spiteful feelings and behavior. (And even then, I barely care if I’m vindicated in any way.)

So excluding Bobby Valentine, because everybody knows they’re going to pick him up for another season of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, who’s your choice for next Boston manager? Since you rejected one Mets manager, how about Joe Torre? He coached the Mets and Yankees. And he’ll complement Bill Belichick’s miserable demeanor making Boston the mopiest-looking sports town in America.

Nick: To be honest, I have no idea where to even start with who the next manager will be, let alone who he should be. The Red Sox are pretty much interviewing guys who haven’t been big league managers before, but have experience as hitting coaches or bench coaches or pitching coaches.  The names being tossed around these days are Pete Mackanin (Phillies bench coach), Dale Sveum (Brewers hitting coach), and Mike Maddux (Rangers pitching coach and Greg’s mustachioed brother).

Apparently Sveum is the front-runner, which makes my heart sink like a pair of puberty-stricken testes.  You see, he was the third base coach for the Sox back in 2004 and 2005.  On the surface, that would seem like a positive since he was part of our first World Series title in 86 years. Problem is, he was notorious for taking asinine risks on the base paths that saw Red Sox baserunners cut down at the plate like bystanders at the Boston Massacre (it was about time this blog saw some Revolutionary War analogies).  I know it’s an irrational fear since he won’t be waving runners home, but I just have bad associations with him and I want no part of it.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Maddux take over to see what magic he can work with the Red Sox pitching.  He has been a miracle worker down in Texas, somehow coaxing a sub-4.00 ERA each of the past two years in the Ballpark at Arlington, where balls fly over the fence faster than you can say “electrified.”

I also like the idea of hiring Dave Martinez, who has been the bench coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.  Joe Maddon has been an unreal manager, and everything I’ve heard about Martinez has been good.  Whatever that’s worth.

It seems Epstein and the Cubs have almost an identical list of managerial candidates, however.  While this makes intuitive sense because Theo was working on such a list with the Red Sox before leaving for Chicago, I have a conspiracy theory: Theo is going after all the same candidates to hijack Boston’s top choice and use that as leverage to drive down his own price in the ongoing negotiations between the two clubs.  You’re right, I probably should stop thinking about these things so much.

I want to turn back to Reyes for a second.  Pretend you had a competent ownership group that could “spend money” and cared about things like “fans” and “winning.”  With $65 million already tied up in Santana, Wright, and Bay like you said, would you want them to bring back Reyes on an overpriced contract that eats another $15-20 million of your payroll?  Would he really give you the best chance at winning?  Or might this be a blessing disguised as a really terrible next couple of seasons while you try to (sorry in advance for dropping this word on you) rebuild?

Mike: I’m also going to take it as a blessing in disguise that I might have the opportunity this year to buy a jersey with a name on it so obscure that only the most die-hard of Mets fans will ever know/remember who it is. I’m thinking about the kind of player who is brought up from the farm system way too early, but since the Mets have no choice, they keep him playing that position every day.

In terms of winning, the Mets won something like 80% of games in which Reyes has two or more hits. When he plays well, his team wins. Then again, with Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols in this free agency class, the amount of money that will be flying around might make for some surprise signings. But I’m still betting against the Mets landing Reyes. They just announced today that they’re looking for loans in exchange for minority shares of the team. I might just become a Dodgers fan soon… that seems easier somehow.

Nick: After all I’ve just been through, I might be right behind you.

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