Somewhere deep in the bowels of a NYC high-rise building a new confederacy of dunces convenes with the solemnity and intrigue of a papal conclave to somehow divine a new business and baseball strategy to make the Mets relevant once again. Everyone anxiously waits with bated breath for the highly anticipated smoke signals that indicate either a burning desire to win or a funeral pyre of the remaining 2015 home game tickets.
Jeff Wilpon: “Gentlemen, something’s got to give. We can’t go on like this. Our franchise is crumbling. We’ve become a laughingstock. The fans are readying torches and pitchforks. The back pages and blogs are screaming for blood. We can’t hit. We can’t field. We can’t run. Lately we can’t even pitch. All we do is LOSE!”
Sandy Alderson: “Well, to be fair, boss, we’re in second place and a hot week has us right back on top again. We’re ahead of the Braves, Marlins and Phillies.”
Jeff: “Yeah, but for how long? The Braves identified a need for pitching and guess what? They went out and got a pitcher. The Marlins locked up their young hitters to ensure relevancy for the future. Hell, even the Phillies knew when to shut down Chase Utley and they’re actively marketing Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. What have you done? You signed Methuselah to play LF for us and he’s hitting like you’d expect a 36 year old to do. Did you learn nothing from the great Bobby Abreu experiment?“
Sandy: “But boss, with the budget you give me I try to find the best value propositions – players undervalued or overlooked by all the other GMs. That’s why I’m the smartest man in the room.”
Jeff: “Look, Branch Rickey, maybe there’s a reason no one else wanted Chris Young…or Curtis Granderson…or Frank Francisco…or Kyle Farnsworth…or Jose Valverde…or Eric Young…or Rick Ankiel…or…hey, have you found ANYONE any good since you’ve been here?”
Sandy: “How can you say that? Didn’t I get you Zack Wheeler?”
Jeff: “How many games has he won for us this year?”
Sandy: "What about Jon Niese? I signed him to a team-friendly contract. And I got Bartolo Colon to eat innings until Matt Harvey came back."
Jeff: "And what's the market for Niese? That contract must not be too friendly if no one wants it. And in case you haven't noticed, Harvey is back. Why is Colon still here? What do you do all day, anyway?"
Sandy: “What about Travis d’Arnaud? He’s hitting .nearly 300.”
Jeff: “I’ll give you that one. But if you laid odds on who would be the ironman this year between he, David Wright and Michael Cuddyer, I don’t think anyone would have put money on the outfielder.”
Sandy: “Hey, didn’t I lock up David Wright so he’ll end his career as a Met?”
Jeff: “Yes, you did, Sandy. You just didn’t tell me he’d be ending it so soon!”
Sandy: “What about saving you money? Didn’t I get rid of K-Rod before his option kicked in?”
Jeff: “Well, I do have to hand it to you. When you have a quality asset to sell off to another team, you are capable of doing that. By the way, that quality asset saved the game against us on Monday night! Of course, that was one of your patented giveaway trades…remind me again who we got in exchange? Oh yeah…a sore armed little lefty reliever who’s out of baseball and a righty reliever who last pitched to 10.12 ERA in 2013. You are a shrewd bargainer, Sandy.
Sandy: "Ummm, err..."
Jeff: "And you're proving to be such a great judge of talent, too. Let's see...you got rid of Angel Pagan, Colin McHugh, Justin Turner...I’ll bet you can get another sub-Mendoza-line catcher in exchange for Jacob de Grom!”
Terry Collins raises his hand to speak and Sandy Alderson pulls his string to let him have his say, “Was that a dig at Anthony Recker? Did you know the pitchers did better with him behind the plate than with Travis d’Arnaud? If you just gave me time to get him going, I’m sure he’d show you what he was capable of doing.”
Sandy, “Ummm…Terry, we farmed him out to Vegas last week.”
Terry: “Oh, I wondered why I hadn’t seen him around lately. I thought maybe he was posting to Instagram during the games. I hear all the kids are doing that these days.”
Sandy: “Jeff, I think you’re overreacting. It’s all in how you spin it. You seem to forget we had an 11 game winning streak earlier in the year. Until we lose 11 in a row, it’s a net positive.”
Jeff: “How do you spin batting your leading home run hitters 8th and leadoff for most of the year? How do you spin playing your best shortstop at 3B and a natural third baseman at shortstop? How do you spin putting the guy deaf in his left ear in left field where he can’t hear the centerfielder and the guy with no arm in right field to make the longest throws across the diamond? How do you spin sending in guys with reverse platoon splits who do better against righties as lefty specialists in the pen?”
Sandy: “That’s not me. That’s puppet-boy over there. He makes the lineup decisions!”
Jeff: “Listen here, Gepetto, why is it that your nose is growing and not his? How do you spin sitting on Dillon Gee so long that we’re paying him major league money to pitch in Las Vegas? Or giving up your first draft pick to get two years of Cadaver out there in LF?”
Sandy: “It’s pronounced Cuddyer, boss.”
Jeff: “Listen, I’m tired him and all of the other stiffs you put on the roster. I think it’s time some hard choices are made starting at the top.”
Fred Wilpon: “Silence! Sandy was brought in to cut costs. He’s done that. He was brought it to turn us around from a last place club to one fighting for a pennant. We're in second place. Ticket sales are up. TV revenues are up. Payroll is down. Change nothing! So it shall be written. So it shall be done.”
When the smoke clears, the room is empty except for Fred who’s seen whispering into his cell phone, “We’re just a few games out of first! How hard can it be to dupe some imbecile into buying the whole damned mess from me.? I don’t want Jeffy to go down as a case study like New Coke or the Edsel. Get it done!”
A fan can dream, can’t he…?