Saturday night’s game had about as much intrigue as watching coffee brew. However, I continued to watch because of an ensuing conversation between Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen. The story started with an anecdote about Gregg Jefferies and the ’88 club. The newcomer to the big leagues had an impressive short stint in the majors in ’87. Apparently, he was already acting like a perennial All-Star, much to the dismay of the actual All-Stars. Jefferies did not want his bats grouped together with the rest of the team’s bats. Instead of scoffing at this request by the young player, the Mets happily indulged him. Jefferies gave a veteran request from a rookie mouth and was obliged. Keith told of the “team justice” which occurred after a loss. A teammate noticed the equipment manager packing the separated bats and he took the bag and hurled the bats onto the floor. Hernandez laughed but then continued on about his old Cardinal club. The team he broke in with had arguably the most intense and intimidating pitcher in history: Bob Gibson. He insisted the consequences of Gregg Jefferies’ diva request would have been swift or that Jefferies would not have had the nerve to request that in St. Louis at all. This lack of accountability is a recurring theme for the Mets. Let’s look at some of the 2010 examples.
Luis Castillo: “What’s going on here?”
Luis lost his starting job to the upstart Ruben Tejada after Ruben sparkled defensively. Castillo did nothing but stew uselessly on the bench until a spot start was thrown his way. With the winning run on base, Castillo hit his trademark bloop single into the shallow outfield grass. The Mets won, in too little too late fashion, and Queens collectively yawned. Instead of allowing his actions on the field do the talking, Castillo had this to say:
“I thought I would be playing [last night] but I am not making the lineup. What is going on here? I don’t know what [Jerry Manuel is] doing…All I can do is the best I can. That’s how you try to play more…but I am disappointed.”
Luis Castillo, as quoted by Andy Martino of the Daily News
Somehow, Luis thought his game winner erased his horrendous numbers for the 2010 campaign, lack of range, and his ever present limp. In a tenure Met fans can’t wait to end, Luis is now back on the field with Jose Reyes out. Castillo should at least embrace his diminishing skills and mentor the likes of Ruben Tejada. Instead, we get playing demands from a .240 hitter with no power, speed, or range to speak of.
Jeff Francoeur (prior to trade)
Look, I get that he was popular. Zack Morris was popular too, but it doesn’t mean I want him batting 5th or 6th for my team. Frenchy complained when he was platooned with F-Mart amidst a brief hot streak. For a guy that can’t lay off a breaking pitch in the dirt to save his life, I wouldn’t speak up. Is it really fair to look for a trade when you have no trade value to speak of? Last year he was traded for damaged goods and this year we received a less than mediocre infielder. Sorry Frenchy, when a team under performs and is out of contention, it’s time to see what the prospects can do. You have proven to the Braves and now the Mets that you are a great defender who cannot be consistently productive at the plate. The closed door meeting was a joke. Jerry should have given you pom poms for being such a popular cheerleader and moved on. No numbers means no playing time.
F-Mart has been inconsistent potential forever. This year, after failing to stay healthy again, Martinez was promoted and considered briefly for a right field platoon. Meanwhile, other minor league outfielders such as Lucas Duda have been clearly better. F-Mart got the nod first and was as ineffective as ever. Only after another poor showing do the Mets promote someone who deserves to be promoted. I cringe to think that if F-Mart didn’t get injured, Duda would have been passed over for more bad F-Mart play. Stop christening your minor leaguers before they’ve earned promotion.