Monday, May 23, 2011
Rip off: Fred Wilpon disses Mets players
By David Schoenfield
In something out of George Steinbrenner's heyday, Mets owner Fred Wilpon ripped into his best players. Let's break down his comments.
On David Wright
"Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."
Accuracy of statement: B. Assuming Wilpon means right now, he's correct, as Wright is scuffling along with a .226/.337/.404 line. Of course, he was playing with a STRESS FRACTURE IN HIS BACK. Talk about bad timing to deliver a low blow. Now, from 2005 to 2008, he was a superstar, averaging a .311/.394/.534 line with 22 steals and solid defense. Wright's power disappeared in 2009 (the team's first year in Citi Field), but returned last season, although his OBP dipped to .354, the lowest by a large margin since his rookie season. Wright's WAR peaked in 2007 at 8.6 (FanGraphs) but fell to 4.1 in 2010. In 2007, he was arguably the most valuable property in baseball, a 24-year-old third baseman who was one of the top three players in the majors. I don't think Wright will ever regain that form: After averaging 115 strikeouts per season during his peak years, he struck out 161 times in 2010. He was averaging more than a whiff per game this season. He's not the same hitter he was, whether you want to blame Citi Field, mechanics or media pressure.
On Carlos Beltran
"We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He's 65 to 70 percent of what he was."
Accuracy of statement: D. Beltran's line of .281/.380/.534 gives him an .914 OPS, much better than than his career average of .854. His OPS in 2004, the season he had the monster postseason for Houston that preceded the $119 million contract from the Mets, was .915. When you adjust for the lower offensive environment of 2011, Beltran is actually having the most valuable hitting season of his career. Now, the knee problems mean he doesn't run anymore and he's had to move from center field to right (although his defense still rates as very good). Anyway, the notion that the Mets overpaid for Beltran because of the eight home runs he hit in October of 2004 is absurd. From 2001 to 2004, Beltran rates as the 10th-best position player in the majors, according to Baseball-Reference. He was one of the best players in baseball, the Mets paid to get him, and he provided a couple of seasons (2006, 2008, maybe 2011) where he was one of the top players in the NL.
On Jose Reyes
"He thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money. He's had everything wrong with him. He won't get it."
Accuracy of statement: To be determined. From 2008 to 2010, Crawford's WAR was 11.8 (Baseball-Reference). From 2006 to 2008, Reyes' WAR was 16.6. Now, Reyes wasn't as productive the past two seasons as he battled injuries, but he's having a terrific 2011, hitting .318 while leading the NL in hits, triples and steals. Crawford got $142 million. Reyes will be the same age as Crawford was when he hit free agency. I don't think Reyes will get Crawford money due to the injury history and inconsistency, but it only takes one owner with deep pockets.
One, apparently, with deeper pockets than Fred Wilpon.
P.S.: The Mets aren't cursed or snakebitten, Fred. Just mismanaged.
(For Mets coverage, check out ESPNNewYork.com's Mets blog or our SweetSpot blog, Mets Today.)
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