Fare Thee Well R. A. Dickey

Sorry for the lack of posting the last week but I had tons of work to handle and when I did find time to sit down and compose some thoughts on the New York Mets the news from Newtown Connecticut of the mass killings of little children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded and suddenly whatever Mets news that was out there was of no interest to me at all, which is why this past Saturday was just the kind of day I needed.

When I found out that Greg Prince who along with Jason Fry co-author the great Mets blog Faith and Fear in Flushing was having a get together at Foley’s NY to celebrate his joining the half century club (the more cranky middle aged Mets fans the better) and his new book The Happiest Recap I replied immediately that I would attend. Not only was it the great tonic to keep my mind off the tragedy in Newtown but it reaffirmed my love for the NY Mets by being in a room jammed back with people of my faith, real honest to goodness die hard Mets fans. How devoted were the fans in attendance?  We saluted our beloved Mets and pledged our allegiance to the Orange and Blue by singing a rousing rendition of Meet the Mets, the complete version of Meet the Mets, with butcher, the baker and the people on the street.  I get goose bumps just typing that. No doubt though, Mets fans are the most underappreciate fan base in sports.

Did you really think the break up between the Mets and R.A. Dickey was going to amicable? Let me just put my cards on the table right here, if you have been a frequent visitor to this site you know how much I respect and admire R.A. Dickey. I have been fortunate to meet Dickey and to interview him and I’ve found to be fascinating and a man of class and intellect that made spending time with him a fabulous experience.  But as much of a fan as I am of Dickey’s, this trade that sends him and Josh Thole and a prospect  to Toronto for Travis d’Arnuad , Noah Syndergaard, John Buck and a prospect is one that was absolutely necessary in the getting the Mets back to relevancy .

Sandy Alderson does not act on emotion; he acts on facts, on research from both statistical analytical and scouting departments. He is here to rebuild the NY Mets organization that when he arrived was a shambles in all departments but especially from a player development side. This will be the second time in his three years as Mets GM that he outlasted a desperate rival to pluck a top prospect for a player on the back nine of his career but one that could be the missing piece to their prosperity. Both R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran, who as older players are much more useful to teams in contention than one under renovation (sounds better than rebuilding don’t you think?)  were flipped for two of the top prospects in all of baseball in Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud.  We now have a future.

Back to the nastiness that has surfaced since this deal was deemed all but complete. Mets management, as has been a tradition around here since the days of M.Donald Scumbag, have found ways to try to embarrass players who are leaving but end up embarrassing themselves.  I have no doubt that there was jealousy amongst those who locker with Dickey in the Mets clubhouse. I’ve been told by people I trust that was the case. To me it says more about the people who are doing the bad mouthing than it does about Dickey. Think about the typical ballplayer in a locker room. Most of them are into playing video games, hunting, golf, and playing loud hip-hop music while sitting naked pursuing the latest edition of Swank.  Then you have the anti-Neanderthal ballplayer in R.A. Dickey, who not only reads books but writes them, a best seller no less. He also raises awareness to causes like sexual abuse of children of which he was a victim, going into schools to read and donate books to underprivileged kids. Having a role in a movie that documents his journey from a #1 draft pick who struggled through the system and then reinvented himself and persevered when he was told time and time again to give it up but never gave in to the naysayers and worked harder every time he was doubted to become one of the very best of his craft, to the point where he was honored with the highest award a pitcher can received, the CY Young. Oh and guess where Dickey will be right after Christmas? In India with his two daughters to make and distribute friendship bracelets for children who are abuse victims. Where did I learn this? At the Mets holiday party because unlike Ken Davidoff, I WAS THERE!!!!! And heard Dickey talk of his holiday plan. While I’m on the topic of that holiday party, let me set the record straight. Both Dickey and Ike Davis were helpers to John Franco who played Santa Claus. The media was closed off from the party proceedings by a black fabric partition. When Dickey and Ike were done entertaining the kids, they were brought in to the media area. No children were harmed during the interview process and I doubt any of them cared about hearing about contract extensions as they enjoyed eating hot dogs and opening up presents.  Dickey was asked about the stalemate in negotiations and spoke candidly if the press and media can’t handle that then they deserve to be locked in a room with Jon Niese.  

So who would have a problem with people wanting to celebrate a man who has fought so much adversity and rose to the top of his profession? Maybe a bunch of players who fade every August, September and October for the last four seasons. There are not a lot of players with intestinal fortitude in that Mets clubhouse. It could be that some of those who fail to rise up and contribute dislike Dickey because he makes them look bad. How would you feel if you were sitting the bench due to fatigue, while a 38 year old takes the mound with a torn stomach muscle that would need off season surgery and fights his way to lead his team to victory?

I do have hope that this trade will start a spiral of ridding the team of petulant posers,  pie throwers and the charter members of the bitch and moan club. The Mets are losing a stand-up guy in R.A. Dickey but that doesn’t mean we have to stop rooting for him. The Blue Jays come to the South Bronx for a four game set from April 25-April 28, how it would be great for Mets fans to show up if Dickey gets a start to express our appreciation for all he’s done as a Met on and off the field. Oh and it will piss off the Highlanders and their fans as well.

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SANDY ALDERSON WILL BE WHEELING AND DEALING THIS OFF SEASON

I don’t understand how some members of our Flushing congregation have a hard time comprehending that due to the financial problems of our beloved Skill Sets, it is not business as usual when it comes to restructuring this Mets team.  There will be no more careless bidding on free agents (I’ll see your 4th year and raise you a 6th year) as has been done in the past. Let’s put the cards on the table right now, the Mets will not sign Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, CC Sabathia or Ted Williams severed head.

Now that does not mean it will be a quiet off season, in fact I’m looking at what will be the busiest off season in Mets history. When you look around and the needs of this team (again as opposed to years past when the Mets focused on wants instead ) there are so many, it could take two off seasons to fill the gaps.

There is still a need at 2nd base, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy are not every day 2nd basemen. Turner, while a hustler, leaves much to be desired in the field and as for Murph, he may get killed trying to turn a double play. So a bonafide 2nd baseman is on the want list. Ben Zobrist would look nice in a Mets throwback uni.

Shortstop will be manned by Ruben Tejeda. Get used to reading that.

In a perfect world, the Mets would have a whole new outfield in 2012. But we Mets fans live in the most imperfect world on baseball earth.  I’m sure Sandy Alderson will try very hard to move Bay and his cement shoes contract. Unless he is willing to eat a lot of dead presidents or take back another unseemly contract, this will be near impossible to do. Angel Pagan should be an ex-Met soon and Lucas Duda looks to be attractive trade chum. Of course the name Grady Sizemore comes up as a choice for center field but his injury history is a huge caveat. There will be suitors for Sizemore among teams that have outfield depth, something the Mets lack. Coco Crisp and David DeJesus are nice fall backs or how about BJ Upton (get him with Zobrist in a mega deal with the Rays?  Would the Rays take a package of Murphy, Duda, Parnell and another minor league pitcher for both?) or how about a deal with the Orioles for Adam Jones (is Mike Pelfrey a viable trade chip? Would you trade Jon Niese for Jones? Hummmmm?)

The bullpen and starting pitching will be the toughest to fill as we have seen in this past post season, pitching is at a real premium these days.  There is a glut of closers on the market and one, Joe Nathan has declared the Mets a destination of choice, if a two year deal with incentives could be worked out with Nathan that would be a great signing by Alderson.

Josh Thole is not an everyday catcher, in fact he may be better off in Buffalo learning the tools of the trade but that won’t happen, I don’t think.  I’d love the Mets to get their hands on Chris Iannetta or Nick Hundley but I think I’d settle for Kelly Shoppach as a tag team partner for Thole. A top flight catcher is hard to find.

I can see the Mets making a lot of deals this winter, when you are strapped for cash, the barter system is the way to go. As the late Bob Murphy said “Fasten your seatbelt” and be careful of getting whiplash.

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