For some reason, questionable, head-scratching, even downright puzzling actions taken by the New York Mets are still met with some factor of shock and awe.
You would think after a while, we would just grow accustomed to the madness.
But late Wednesday night, jaws dropped once again after the Mets traded their most productive bat, outfielder Jay Bruce, to the Cleveland Indians.
The 30-year-old is in the midst of a career season as he led New York with 29 home runs and 75 RBI. But with his contract expiring at season’s end and with the Mets going nowhere, teams were bound to call looking to bring Bruce on as a rental.
Obviously, this provided a perfect opportunity for the Mets to seize the moment of possessing a big bat and bring in at least a few solid prospects to restock the farm system with.
Remember, though, this is the Mets. Things just don’t work out like they would, say, with the Yankees. Like when they traded Aroldis Chapman for the Chicago Cubs’ top prospect Gleyber Torres, among others, and then re-signed the flame-throwing closer during the winter.
No, the Mets instead acquired relief-pitching prospect Ryder Ryan and ONLY relief-pitching prospect Ryder Ryan, who has a name suited for an episode of Dawson’s Creek more than a mound at Citi Field.
The 22-year-old, who was a catcher just two years ago while playing his college ball at North Carolina, is applying his trade in single-A ball. In 33 appearances he has a 4.79 ERA while allowing 44 hits in 41.1 innings of work. He wasn’t even ranked on the Indians’ list of top-30 prospects.
Obviously, the move had Mets fans and those around baseball wondering why the Mets would give up Bruce for so little.
Well, this is the part of the story in which you turn your angry gaze toward management.
You see, the Yankees were actually involved in talks for Bruce. It wasn’t a last-minute thing either. They had a package of prospects prepared to send to the Mets. Prospects the Mets had previously disclosed that they wanted.
The problem is, the Yankees offered just $1 million in salary relief from Bruce’s contract. The Indians offered $5 million.
Is Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son Jeff that cheap that they would be willing to save $4 million instead of bringing on young talent that the team could actually build with?
It’s not like the Mets’ payroll is going to be astronomical. In fact, guaranteed money owed to players next year will almost be cut down by $100 million compared to this season.
You’re looking at a team playing in America’s largest market being run like a franchise that’s housed in Milwaukee or Tampa.
This still might have to do with Wilpon losing almost $700 million in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, but there is no legitimate reality that the Mets can be winners if their owner is a penny-pincher who cares more about his funds than his team.
That’s not me saying that Wilpon should be financially reckless or that he should throw caution to the wind with his assets. You obviously have to put baseball aside there.
What I am saying though is that it’s time seriously consider putting the team up for sale so a tortured fan base in New York of all places can be provided with a group committed to putting a winning product on the field.
Not a team that wants to save $4 million while falling flat on their faces during a season that was supposed to have postseason aspirations.