Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Believe Everything You Read

In a report that appears in today's Daily News, Adam Rubin (with Omar Minaya in the picture at right) cites mine and your favorite, the team insider (or team source), depending on which paragraph you believe more, while spinning the notion that the Mets won't be going after free agents Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. While that's not a completely outlandish statement, it seems to be a complete departure from every indication we've gotten from the Mets since the season ended - specifically Jeff Wilpon's statements about the payroll after the last game.

While the article itself sits under a headline that states that an "Insider says Mets won't pay top dollar for pricey top-tier free agents," the link to the story offers up the more alarming (if you're a Mets fan hoping for a big bat or arm) headline of "Mets won't pay top dollar for free agents." Well, which one is it? Is it a claim being made by a team insider, or is it a fact that was signed in blood by Fred Wilpon? The link to the article suggests the latter, while the headline above the article itself leads the reader to believe the former is the case. Let's give Adam Rubin the benefit of the doubt, and realize that a frisky Daily News editor probably didn't realize he/she was creating two completely different headlines for the same story. Now, let's take a look at the content of the article itself:

In the article, there is not one quote from anyone in the Mets organization that states that the team will be priced out of the top-tier free agent players. The juiciest quote comes from the team insider, who says that he "expected the salary demands of Matt Holliday and Jason Bay to be too high for the Mets." That's it. He expected their salary demands to be too high. He's not relaying information from Jeff Wilpon or Omar Minaya or John Ricco. He's not revealing what the Mets' offseason plan is, and he's not quoting potential salary demands from the two players mentioned. He's simply assuming that two free agents (who won't even be able to negotiate new contracts with the rest of Major League Baseball for another 10 days), will have demands that are too high for the Mets' taste. If you believe something as vague and poorly worded as that, you're probably one of the millions who believed the Mets had no shot at acquiring Johan Santana.

In the offseason of 2008, there was one reason after another that was spewed out by the local and national media alike, hammering home that the Mets had no shot at Johan: The Mets have nothing in their Minor League System; the Mets can't outbid the Yankees and the Red Sox; Johan doesn't want to be a Met; the Mets won't commit the money needed to extend his contract....It went on and on and on. However, one difference between all of those assertions and the assertion in Adam Rubin's article today, is that the Yankees and Red Sox actually DID have better prospects than the Mets. At least some of that nonsense was based in reality.

As recently as last offseason, it was forced down Mets fans throats that the Mets would be priced out on Francisco Rodriguez. How'd that work out? It's November 10th. The Mets have a gaping hole in the lineup and a vacancy in left field. They have over $30 million dollars coming off the books. Matt Holliday seems like a perfect fit for this team, and I refuse to believe for one second that they won't pursue him. His agent is Scott Boras. The second November 19th becomes November 20th, Scott Boras will start bellowing to anyone who will listen that Matt Holliday wants $20 million dollars per year for eight years - as is his right. If any team is insane enough to entertain those demands, he won't be a Met. However, if this offseason resembles the last two, no team will be insane enough to let Boras completely dictate the market.

There will be thousands of rumors, blogs, tweets, and articles between now and the time Matt Holliday signs his new contract. Some of them will paint Holliday as a city boy at heart, eager to embrace the big stage. The next day, an unnamed friend of Holliday will claim that the slugger wants no part of the big city. Boras will float rumors of mystery teams and enormous salary offers. General Managers will float nonsense to their beat writers. Fans will create ideas and circulate them on internet message boards. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is where the players ultimately end up. Until that happens, don't believe everything you read, or hear, or see...

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