Don’t trade “the core” part eight billion

Blow up the team and start over. Forget about the Core Four. The core is rotten. Reyes keeps breaking down. Beltran has arthritic knees. David Wright hasn’t been right since he was beaned in the head last year, and he hasn’t ever truly gotten comfortable at Citi Field or stepped up as a vocal leader in the clubhouse.

You ask, “What will the Mets do about a power hitter and a major league quality shortstop?” How far has it gotten them in the last four years? What has this group done? Come up short in the NLCS, gotten overtaken with a seven-game lead in the division with 17 games to play, fallen out of the money for four straight years. The only untouchable — and that would be the case anyway because of his salary — is Santana.

Blow it up.

Tim Smith, N.Y. Daily News.

OK, exhale. I’ve really been working hard — and succeeding, I think — to not make this site a Daily News watchdog blog. But upon receiving my third or fourth reader email from about this particular column this weekend, I figured I should tackle its thesis. Plus, this way I’ll have something in the bag to link to for the inevitable onslaught of “BLOW UP THE CORE” columns to come in the offseason.

Smith’s effort is more or less a compendium of the nonsense typically bandied about regarding the Mets, some of it accurate, some of less so. He writes that their front office seems to have no plan, which often appears true. He also blusters about players tossing Frisbees in the outfield before a game — precisely the type of thing that earns a winning team labels like “carefree” and “fun-loving,” and something plenty of teams do that seems like just as good a way to stretch out the legs as any.

Smith then asserts that the Mets cut Alex Cora for financial reasons rather than general scrubbiness, that Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo ruined the clubhouse chemistry, and that — this is the best part — Francisco Rodriguez was reacting to the front office’s lack of strategy when he punched his girlfriend’s father in the face.

Finally he comes to the conclusion that it’s time to “forget about the Core Four.” This is fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the label “Core Four.” I thought that was a Yankee thing. Who knew? Apparently in the Mets’ case the Core Four I am to forget about refers to David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana.

The particular suggestion is problematic because it reflects something akin to an underpants-gnome approach to sports analysis. David Wright and Jose Reyes are the best players on the Mets this year. The Mets will not win a World Series this year. Thus, the Mets will not win a World Series with David Wright and Jose Reyes as their best players.

That’s perhaps an oversimplification, but the fundamental lapse in logic is the same.

The problem has never been that the Mets are building around “rotten” players, but that they’ve done a rotten job building around good players. The Mets have gotten the second-worst production in the National League out of their first basemen in 2010, the worst out of their second basemen and the worst out of their right fielders.

And you’re telling me the problems are with the guys that can actually play? The young guys under reasonable contracts, no less?

I’ve put aside Beltran for the sake of this argument because his situation is entirely different from Reyes’ and Wright’s. He’s older and he’s playing poorly, and he’s got a bone-on-bone condition in his knee that isn’t going anywhere and an $18.5 million deal for next season.

We’ve still only seen a very small sample of Beltran this season, and who knows what time, strength and more rehab will bring. But the Mets almost certainly will try to trade Beltran, very likely in vain, even if he’s got that whole no-trade thing. Arguing to trade him, though, is a very different thing than arguing to “blow up the core.”

Ugh. I don’t even know why I’m bothering with this. There’s really nothing more pointless than impassioned missives to trade players for the sake of trading them with no set target in mind. It’s the worst type of radio gaga, the type of nonsense I shouldn’t even indulge. Look: Trade Reyes for Felix Hernandez? Yeah, sign me up. That one probably isn’t on the table, though.

Here’s the thing: It’s really, really hard to win the World Series. It’s hard to make the playoffs even. I’m not saying the Mets do a good job of it, or even do a good job of working towards it.

But a great step in that direction — the best step, even — is having excellent players in their primes. That’s really the whole idea. Trading excellent players in their primes only because you’ve been thus far unable to capitalize on the primes of those excellent players is not a good way to run a baseball team. Decidedly not.

David Wright and Jose Reyes are excellent players in their primes. Trading them for other excellent players in their primes in the right deal might be reasonable.

Trading them for the sake of trading them would be stupid.

16 thoughts on “Don’t trade “the core” part eight billion

      • Exactly, when I listen to WFAN I dont get annoyed really at the hosts for saying what they do to fire people up, I get annoyed to the point of shutting off the radio when fans call in and prove that they can really BE THAT DUMB!!!

        I’m almost emabrassed for some of these people when they call in, its painful to listen too.

      • I have stopped listening to sports talk radio when they go into baseball season..

        I have sirius and the only sports talk i’ve listened to is Mad Dog, cause he covers everything and everyone, and NFL radio…

        Listening to WFAN is just asking for torture.

  1. I dont get how that column can even be published. It was nothing more than senseless ranting that I’d expect to see on a random blog or message board.

    There was so much nonsense in there. David Wright hasnt been the same since his beaning? .295, 21HR, 89 RBI, .870 OPS, playing in Citi Field. Whats the hell do people expect from these guys.

    • They expect pre-steroid like numbers… When guys were routinly hitting 40 HR’s…

      People need to get out of that mind set. It looks like this year along maybe 6-9 guys will crack 40 HR…

      Baseball is going back towards the pre-90 type numbers. 20 HR is a great year.. 30-35 HR is a true Power hitter… 40 HR is elite season….

  2. I had this exact discussion with someone on Facebook yesterday. What the “blow it all up” people seem to miss is that we’re not the Houston Astros. The Mets are not a franchise that is five years away (at least) from fielding a competitive team. They’re a .500 team right now, and that’s with them putting Francoeur and Castillo out there every day, and with Beltran still not fully recovered.

    Even if you don’t happen to think that things will improve dramatically next year, it is folly to give up your two best players just for the sake of doing so.

  3. “Mr. Smith, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    • You know, I’ve probably seen that scene 40 times, no exaggeration, and quoted it countless times more. And I still laugh out loud every time I think about it.

  4. It has got to be yankee fans calling for a trade or wright or reyes, they are both keepers, Wright,reyes,davis…maybe thole good young players, pagan in center and bay , beltran needs to play right and save his legs , maybe murphy at 2nd and tejeda as a late inning defense/3rd infielder,
    santana, pelfrey, dicky neise are good starters i more would be nice, trade perez and castillo for a used rosin bag and a few broken bats… keep maine and lets see what happens in spring training if not release him, k-rod, felicano need to go ….purnell, takyashi , and that “i”guy closer by committiee

  5. There IS something about the way this team carries itself. When I look at the paper and see the smiling faces of a jovial team when they finally won a game in a series, I get mad. These players should be so disappointed in themselves, and in their season, but they aren’t. And if you can’t summon some personal pride after the shame and horror of the last few seasons then maybe it IS time to go? Blow it up, sure. Whatever. Who cares? And to the people defending this group of losers, have fun. Spend your $ at Citi Field, a park named after a company that ripped us off, featuring a team of underachieving punks like Jose Reyes and bone head veterans like Alex Cora who have nothing better to do than rat out fans. F*** this team, but not only that, f*** the whole organization.

  6. I’d trade anyone in the right deal. Ted, I disagree slightly with the notion that Wright or Reyes should only be traded for other excellent players in their primes. One of the consistent flaws in the Mets’ approach these last couple years is building a team of a few excellent players and some rather poor players.

    If the Mets were to trade Reyes or Wright, I’d prefer getting in return a good package of above-average MLB players, who are good already, not prospects, and are 30 or under.

    I also think the call to trade Reyes or Wright makes some sense because there aren’t really other major, or even moderate, changes that seem realistic right now. I’d be surprised if the Mets bring in a new position player who will start other than at 2B. Maybe they add a back of rotation type starting pitcher, some changes in the bullpen. Without dealing Reyes or Wright, it’s hard to see a significant makeover. Given the generally frustration in fandom with the team and the feeling that change is needed, it’s not surprising to hear calls for trades of Reyes and/or Wright.

  7. Not sure if anybody has noticed, but the Mets already have “blown it up”. They turned over about 2/3 of their roster just in the past year. And they would love to get rid of Castillo, Perez, Francoeur, KRod and Beltran if they could find a taker.

    That leaves Reyes, Wright, Pagan, Santana, Pelfrey and Feliciano. I’m pretty sure those 6 guys are not the problem and I’d be happy to have all 6 back next year.

  8. Everything Ted has written in this article I wholeheartedly agree with, but keep in mind this: Tim Smith, as well as all of the other writers, sports talk show hosts, etc, write their articles and say what they say about the Mets in order to sell papers or increase ratings. The Mets, especially over the last three or four years, are an easy target for writers like Smith or for radio hosts like Francesa, Beningo/Roberts, or Tierney/Jody Mac because they know that anything they write or say about the Mets will be gobbled up by both fans and even non-fans alike. It’s any easy way to garner better ratings or more readers when you create this kind of non-story because, hey, it’s the Mets. They may not necessarily believe what they write or say themselves, but as the old axiom goes, “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”

  9. nobody with half a brain is saying wright and reyes aren’t good. i just feel the club needs major changes and may need to look to get younger. the problem is they are in a similar position to knicks 2 years ago. nobody with half a brain will say david lee isn’t a good basketball player but when you can get multiple guys back with upside or even package them with bad contracts it offers something the mets seem to have little of, flexibility.

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