A big piece of that future in theory is Travis d’Arnaud, one of the prospects netted by the Mets in return for R.A. Dickey. With d’Arnaud posting a futile .189/.277/.269 line through 257 career plate appearances, the Mets decided to send him down to Triple-A Las Vegas for some more seasoning.
This demotion, as Terry Collins said, is not going to be a short one. D’Arnaud will stay in Vegas until he merits a call up.
More important than the length of the demotion is the strong message that it tries to send to fans. It attempts to say that poor play won’t be tolerated any longer.
When the Mets stuck with Ike Davis for the entire 2012 season and left him flailing at the plate in 2013 until the end of June before a demotion, they settled for mediocrity. They did not with d’Arnaud.
Unfortunately for the front office, the message has fallen upon jaded and skeptical ears, and for good reason. While they are not tolerating d’Arnaud’s poor play, Ruben Tejada and Chris Young continue to get chance after chance to not perform.
At this point, there is no reason fans should receive any message that the front office relays, because time and again the words spoken by Sandy Alderson have been false. Whether Alderson is being misled by the Wilpons, or the Wilpons’ financial situation is really changing on a dime, or whether he’s just flat out lying doesn’t really matter as far as the credibility of his statements go anymore.
No matter what the source of the lie is, fans are now conditioned to take everything that comes out of the Mets front office as a lie unless there are corresponding actions that show it to be true.
They want fans to think that they aren’t going to settle for poor play from their players, yet have gaping holes offensively and defensively at shortstop and left field.
The message is: “We won’t tolerate poor play from this guy, but these other guys we will.”
The money issue is understandable, but not tolerable – Stephen Drew was not in the budget, and they had to pull the trigger on Young because the money used to sign him might not have been available later in the offseason, depending on if the Wilpon’s debt obligations played out.
That this is how a team in the number one market in the country has to operate is bad enough, but the attempt to convince fans that everything is okay while it clearly isn’t has wrecked any credibility the team had.
So yes, demoting the struggling d’Arnaud was the right move, and under better circumstances the message that it sends might actually be received positively by the fans.
But not this one. Not anymore. If the team wants credibility back – if they want to show fans that they are actually committed to winning, and not just saying it to pay lip service – it’s time for more dominoes to fall. It’s time to start practicing what you preach.
Joe Vasile is the voice of the Fayetteville SwampDogs.