New York Times sportswriter, George Vecsey, penned a wonderfully ridiculous article in today’s edition, essentially vecsey.jpgplaying the role of party pooper in the Johan Santana celebration. Why? Quite frankly, I’m not sure. And I’m not convinced that George knows either. He writes:

Omar Minaya may ice the deal for Johan Santana any hour now but, until further notice, the Mets are still the team that fell apart last September, disastrously.

The Mets still have to report to their legion of self-appointed probation officers, that is to say, Mets fans, on a regular basis from now until October to prove they are not recidivists in the worrisome habit of folding.

Actually, George, in case you didn’t notice, the majority of us Mets fans (rightly or wrongly), are quite happy at the moment. If we really are the “probation officers”, then the ex-con just dropped off James “Whitey” Bulger on our front doorstep.

I would strongly advise giddy Mets fans to envision the Marlins and the Nationals whacking them around in the final two weeks of last season. That should neutralize the euphoria, assuming Minaya and the family Wilpon sign the Twins’ star lefty to a six-year contract.

Why would we want to do that? That sounds about as much fun as punching yourself in the groin repeatedly just to prevent yourself from making a move on that incredibly cute girl standing across the room and giving you that ‘come hither’ stare. It’s completely irrational.

Essentially, the Mets are front-ending their pitching staff — Santana for the departed Tom Glavine. That upgrade does not necessarily make them a better…

santana.jpgAnd this is where Vecsey’s logic supernovas into a blackhole. Is he really arguing that keeping Tom Glavine may actually have been preferable to adding Johan Santana? Do I even need to post comparative statistics to prove how inane that suggestion is?

Even if Santana stays healthy, he is 28, and pitchers can fall apart in a heartbeat. For that matter, he did not have such a wonderful September himself.

See, George, you were so freaking close to making a coherent statement with that first sentence. Yes, pitchers (moreso than hitters) are a fragile bunch. But “he is 28” is your argument? 28 is too old for you? I’m 27 and am still waiting to hit puberty for god’s sakes (any day now…). And picking one freaking month – 5 games – out of a pitcher’s 251-game career (that’s less than 2% of games he’s appeared for those who care) simply doesn’t make sense.

Besides, he can start only once every five games, or somewhat more than 30 starts a season.

Do I need to continue? Fine. I’ll keep going. By this logic, no starting pitcher in MLB is worth much of anything since they “can only start once every five games”. But Jon Rauch is more valuable because he pitched decently in 88 games.

Let’s say (Santana) wins 20 games. He is still taking up a certain number of starts that would have been made, and perhaps even won, by another regular.

I’m not even going to talk about VORP to get my point across. But this is like trying to minimize the impact of Alex Rodriguez by making a case for Wilson Betemit. Had the Mets not landed Santana, they would have trotted Mike Pelfrey – or even worse, signed Livan Hernandez – instead.

Little has changed since last September. Paul Lo Duca is being replaced by Brian Schneider at catcher, maybe an upgrade in defense and comportment but a downgrade in hitting, and they now have Ryan Church in right field, not necessarily a big deal.

Um, have you forgotten what you were writing about in the first place? Isn’t the whole point of this article to talk about the Mets trading for Johan Santana? That’s a “little change”?

The core of the team remains the same. Moises Alou was a rock last September, but he turns 42 this summer. David Wright is terrific, but not yet the assertive leader he may be someday. Carlos Beltrán has his moments.

beltran.jpgYou know something’s wrong when Moises Alou is described as “a rock” but Carlos Beltran – arguably the best all round centerfielder in baseball – is diminished to a “has his moments”.

On a team constructed with veteran players, many of them Latino, no critical mass of leadership emerged to shake Reyes out of his walkabout… It appears that nobody took Reyes into the back room and said, “¿Qué tal?”— what’s up?

See, now you’re just guessing to make a point. And not only that, what does being Latino have anything to do with anything?

Ultimately, you can make the case that the Mets shouldn’t have traded away their future. I disagree given the supposed talent levels of the prospects headed to Minnesota, but at least it’s a plausible argument. You can make the case that no pitcher deserves such a lengthy guaranteed deal and logistically speaking, you’d be right. But for a big-market team like the Mets – with their own cable network and a new stadium opening in 2009, the financial damage isn’t completely crippling.

But what doesn’t make sense is trying to argue that the 2008 Mets are not a better team now than they were last week. It doesn’t make sense to insinuate that keeping Tom Glavine instead of acquiring the best pitcher in baseball may have been the right move. And even Vecsey himself can’t believe that Carlos Beltran is simply a player who “has his moments”.


See what you did, George? You reduced me to doing a terrible Lewis Black impersonation. I hope you’re happy, sir.

4 Responses to “Does George Vecsey Even Believe What He Writes?”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    1. A Whitey Bulger joke from a New Yorker?? Paul, are you feeling okay?

    2. This is CLEARLY a win for the Mets. CLEARLY. The deal they were offering the Twins wasn’t even as good some of the rumored deals the Red Sox and Yankees were supposedly offering months ago. But the Twins got greedy, held out for more, and ended up with only one serious suitor—seriously diminishing their leverage. Thus, the Mets didn’t even have to give up their No. 1 prospect. And the prospects they *did* give up aren’t of the caliber of a Phil Hughes or a Jacoby Ellsbury. Do I have to say it again? This is a HUGE WIN FOR THE METS. He’s just being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

    3. This deal isn’t just about getting to the playoffs; this deal is about executing in the playoffs. Say the Mets get to the World Series. Santana is far preferable to Glavine to go up against a C.C. Sabathia or a Josh Beckett in Game 1.

  2. Sarah, I had to resort to a Whitey Bulger joke because:

    a) The name “Whitey” is always funny to me
    b) We have no crime in NYC. Thus, I have to turn to Boston.


  3. Coley Ward says:

    Paul, I agree that it’s almost impossible to find fault with the Santana trade. The contract Santana gets could very well be ridiculous and may hamstring the organization for years. But the trade? What did New York give up? Nothing much, as far as I can tell.

  4. I didn’t know Lewis Black had such a high-pitched girly shriek.

    Keep hoping on that puberty Paul.

    Mets win. Vecsey gets additional readers by being inflammatory/dumb.

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