So here’s a little update for those who have been in a food coma the past three days: Manny Machado will not be coming to the New York Mets this offseason.
Financially speaking, it’s not a huge shock. It’s really no easy task committing $300MM or more over eight to ten years on anything. You have no idea what your life will be like a decade from now, much less that of an athlete, who loses such a title about halfway through theirs. And heaven forbid you wind up in a Chris Davis fever dream, paying Albert Pujols to husk around a Cardinal red corpse from 2011 that will never come back to life, giving Jacoby Ellsbury $21MM a year to refill the water cooler and shag fly balls during batting practice.
But that’s not actually the issue at hand – or at least this isn’t the reasoning Fancred Sports‘ Jon Heyman gave us on Thanksgiving Day: because why be grateful that a 26-year old who has missed just 11 games since 2015 while slashing .284/.345/.511 and averaging 36 homers and 96 RBI a year has a shot at revitalizing your lineup and the faith of your fanbase when you can instead complain like a buffoon about his character?
Sure, it was lousy of him to spike Jesus Aguilar during the NLCS this past year, and even if worded to plan, the timing of his oft-misconstrued “Johnny Hustle” comments certainly wasn’t kosher. But it sure is rich hearing from a team source that Machado “isn’t [their] kind of player,” on the basis of “demeanor seen.”
The same guy who has hosted charity bowling events every year since 2014, raising over $80,000 in support of Baltimore’s Recreations and Parks initiatives is off limits because, as longtime Mets fan and eccentric video oracle Jim Breuer
(who may or may not have used the 2015 run as a plug for his comedy career, seeing as he has been significantly less active in recent years) so eloquently announced on Instagram, he’s an “ASSHOLE… not worth the aggravation, attitude, or care,” and implored the organization to “save [their] money on that piece of garbage.”
I’m not going to impugn Breuer’s integrity as a baseball fan, even if I think his involvement with the Tears of Joy documentary was totally overblown, but it’s almost like he was in the bathroom from 1984 to 1988, when Lenny Dykstra and Gary Carter led league polls as baseball’s most hated players and the Mets actually ruled the roost in the National League that one time in their 56-year history.
Hell, I’d love to hear this guy’s opinion – or really that of anyone stupid enough to see Machado in this sort of light – on Jose Reyes, whom the organization nominated as its Marvin Miller “Man of the Year” because he took a role off the bench in stride.
On top of the fact that Reyes threw his wife through a glass door, sinks more money into his (cringeworthy) rap career than he does towards any sort of domestic violence initiatives, and openly complained about not receiving significant playing time – thus negating the already asinine notion that he was a good sport about losing playing time. He’s the best shortstop in team history (not too hard an accomplishment when the next guys in line, Bud Harrelson and Rey Ordonez, combined for an 8.9 offensive WAR over 20 years, but I digress), and he came back to the Mets for three years, so it’s only fair he get an award following his worst year.
As if this sort of logic isn’t flawed enough, let’s add another dimension to it and recall the winter of 2013, when the Mets effectively released Justin Turner because they were “frustrated over his effort.” There’s an argument to be made that his numbers wouldn’t have translated had he remained in a utility role in New York, but considering such a decision regarding a guy who (debatably) didn’t hustle backfired as horribly as it did (.305/.383/.505 with 85 homers and 316 RBI since 2014), it would make sense to take a different approach to evaluating players.
The Mets, god bless them, may not churn out a player of Machado’s caliber until after that soon-to-be lucrative contract expires ten years from now.
Instead, they’ll put money into 31-year old Tim Tebow and invite him to spring training every year, because that’s the kind of player they’re willing to invest in. Oh, but he hit .273/.366/.399 in Double-A last year? You’re telling me he’s actually worth a shot?
But the perennial MVP candidate who hit 37 homers and went .331/.427/.540 with men in scoring position last year isn’t our kind of player because some players don’t seem to like him. He’s not your kind of player. It must be difficult having such an advanced, penetrating view of baseball.