It was relatively drama-free in Flushing this season — that is until owner Fred Wilpon opened his big fat mouth and decided to criticize the top players on his own team. Mets World was burning up Monday as word spread of Wilpon’s comments in a very long article in the New Yorker. But when you analyze what he said, you’ll see it wasn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be.
About Jose Reyes:
“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”
All Wilpon was saying is that with Reyes’s injury history, it’s unlikely any team will give him $142 million. He’s probably right. I think he will top out at about $15 million per year, and I hope he gets it from the Mets.
About David Wright:
“A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar.”
This all depends on what Wilpon’s definition of “superstar” is. If Wilpon reserves that superlative only for such players as Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki, then yes, Wright is no superstar. Many people have a more generous definition, in which case they would say Wright is indeed a superstar. Either way, it was an odd thing to say about the face of the franchise, a player who is so loyal to the team, the man who played for a month with a broken back and never said a word.
About Carlos Beltran:
“We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series,” referring to himself, and referring to Beltran’s 2004 homer-laden post season. “He’s 65-to-70% of what he was.”
Most baseball observers agree that Beltran probably netted some $20 million extra because of his performance in that series. And Wilpon is right, Beltran is not the player he once was because of his injuries.
I am not a Wilpon apologist. His record as owner is mediocre at best, especially since he bought out Nelson Doubleday in 2002 to become sole owner. But let’s be fair — what he said really wasn’t so bad.
It is, however, a bit unusual for an owner to say anything bad about his players, especially his star players (I won’t say “superstar!”). I can’t imagine what Wilpon was thinking. Maybe he was just in a talkative mood. This certainly won’t enhance the value of the team as he tries to sell part of it. Nor will it enhance his standing amongst Mets fans, which is at an all-time low in the midst of the Madoff scandal and is sinking fast.