It has been noted here and elsewhere, the startling lack of activity by the New York Mets in the ramp-up to the trading deadline. If you’re reading this, you know the litany: the Mets were firmly “in it,” on July 6. The time would have appeared to be ripe for reinforcements – in the form of a lefty-mashing catcher or outfielder and additional bullpen arms — heading into the All-Star Game, baseball’s semi-annual trade show. Surely, Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson would come away with a useful piece or two for a sure-to-be-exhilarating stretch run. For whatever reason, he came away with nothing.
Was he throwing his body in front of the farm system, shouting “YOU! SHALL! NOT! PASS!?” Was he aiming for the moon and unwilling to settle for anything less than his fondest desire? Was he simply hamstrung by the Wilpons’ iffy finances? Obviously, we’ll never know. Sandy Alderson did not get as far as he has, or build his very high repute by acting like an idiot. No GM worth his salt – let alone Alderson, who, more often than not, is the smartest man in the room – is going to publicly reveal his intentions, other than in the broadest of terms. “We want to get younger.” “We want to get more athletic.” “Our team speed is an area for improvement.” No one is ever going to say “Jason Bay is a drain on our payroll and an unproductive slug on the field and needs to be moved out of here,” or “Alfonso Soriano signed a stupid contract seven years ago and we’d like to pawn him off on anyone who’ll take him.” Such statements would kind of destroy your leverage a little bit, no? They’d put a bit of a crimp in the return you could expect from moving such a player, one would think. But there is one more questions to ask: as the minutes tick down –right around three hours to the deadline as I write this – is Sandy finished?
Last night’s game – an 8-7, ten-inning road win that would have been thrilling if not for the Mets’ July-Curl-Up-and-Die – is interesting in terms of the trade deadline, as well. Let’s look at some facts:
FACT 1: Last night, Scott Hairston cracked two round-trippers in the late innings to first, tie the game in the 6th, then untie it in the 10th.
FACT 2: Scott Hairston has a history of tormenting the San Francisco Giants.
FACT 3: The San Francisco Giants are in the market for a righty power hitter.
These four facts would seemingly paint the ultimate “sell high” scenario for Hairston and the Mets. Many in the media, however – Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik, the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff most prominent among them – are all writing/Tweeting that the Mets insist Hairston will be staying put. Matthew Cerrone over at METSBLOG.COM even goes so far as to speculate that this might all be part of an overarching plan on Sandy’s part to use the media to feign disinterest in moving Hairston, thereby driving up interest in his services and possibly delivering a bigger haul than would have normally.
Sandy Alderson now has less than has three hours to dust off his wizard hat and see if he can conjure something. If he’s willing and able.
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