Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is This Supposed To Be Tongue-In-Cheek? Or Does He Actually Believe What He's Writing?

Wallace Matthews, please stop. You're torturing us. The fact that I had to ask those two rhetorical questions in the title of the post speaks volumes about your ability as a journalist.

(Note: Due to the fact that he's on his way to NYC, this is probably the first of many Johan Santana-related articles we'll be covering here over the course of the next few months. Everyone settle in. I expect Mike Celizic to weigh in eventually, at which point PNoles will probably break down sobbing and acidentally spill an almost full bottle of Yoo-Hoo all over his keyboard. If he disappears for a few days, that's probably why.)

You're welcome, Omar. You, too, Jeff.

It could be mere coincidence that five days after I tore you guys a new dugout for being as active in the offseason as David Wells after Thanksgiving dinner, you go out and make the one deal that turns the Mets into a bona fide World Series contender. But I'd rather think not. I would like to take a little credit for this, too.

I bet you would. First, though, you should also take credit for somehow comparing a dugout to an asshole. I get that they're both orifices, but that's still awful. I would have gone with "I tore you guys a new Jerramy Stevens" or maybe "a new Gary Sheffield." Second, you should also take credit for putting together an astonishly clunky sentence to begin the first full paragraph. Third, you should take credit for being the only person currently living outside of the British Isles to go by the first name "Wallace." Good job. I think going by "Wally" would actually be a step down in terms goofiness. I'd even recommend "Wally the Walrus" over "Wallace." Finally, a David Wells joke? Really? Is it still 2004 in New York?

Five days ago, I ripped you for doing nothing this winter to improve a team that just performed the most graceless belly flop since Greg Louganis hit his head on a diving board at the 1988 Olympics.

Too soon! TOO SOON! Also, that's already two awkward sports analogies in the span of five sentences. Let's just cool things down a little bit in that department, OK? Sometimes less is more. You're stretching that device like Michelle Kwan warming up for her short program!


Actually, you did do something. You raised ticket prices. At the time that column was written, it was absolutely, positively, 100 percent correct and I for one couldn't have been happier about having written it.

You? Pleased with yourself for something your brain vomited onto your laptop? Color me flabbergasted.

So now, you go out and get Johan Santana for the equivalent of a rosin bag, a fungo bat and a pine tar rag.

Yes, it would seem the Mets got an okay deal. A deal comparable to one involving several pieces of baseball equipment? Probably not. I do have to admit, however, that it's a fantastic deal in comparison to what the Orioles almost got for Erik Bedard and did get for Miguel Tejada. Hey Ed Wade and Bill Bavasi, I hear the son of the deposed King of Nigeria is looking for someone to help him get a bunch of money into an American bank account. Maybe you should help him out. Still-

You steal him from the Yankees and Red Sox, both of whom had far better offers on the table back in December at the winter meetings.

That's up for debate. I know the Yankees were offering Phil Hughes ZOMG and the Red Sox were offering surefire Hall of Famer and Dreamboat Jacoby Ellsbury. I know. Prospects from Boston and New York are just so much more prospect-y and exciting than other prospects. Why else would we know their names? But there are at least a handful of baseball minds out there who really weren't that impressed with what the AL East juggernauts were offering. Their analysis is basically that those two teams were offering "sure but unspectacular thing" guys while the Mets offer contains "boom or bust" type guys would could disappear or become stars.

You give up four guys nobody will cry about losing. Not a Kazmir in the bunch.

While none of the guys might have the blue chip pedigree of a Kazmir, I love that the tone of the conclusion is there's no way any of them will amount to anything. Wallace Matthews in response to that famous Victor Zambrano trade: "The Mets gave up guys nobody will cry about losing. Not a Kevin Tapani or Rick Aguilera in the bunch." (For those unfamiliar with the trade I'm referencing, it was a disaster for the Mets. It was with the Twins, for Frank Viola, in 1989.)

Just days before Groundhog Day, you upstage Punxsutawney Phil, pop out of your hole, don't see your shadow and promise us an early spring.

This is an even worse sentence than the one I pointed out in the first full paragraph up. Also- I don't think big baseball fans and people who actually care about Punxsutawney Phil overlap very much. Even those who do care about both are probably not considering Phil "upstaged" at this point. That's like saying UConn's surprise victory over Indiana last Saturday upstaged Monday's State of the Union address.

And yes, I know I'm taking everything Wallace says hyperliterally. That's what we do here. Go look through the archives if you don't believe me. Go ahead. I can wait.

What are you trying to do, make me look bad?

You do a great job of that all by yourself.

I prefer to think you are actually trying to make me look good. Like you took my advice or something. Or at least got good and mad about being called out for your futility this winter. You see, I like to think of myself not as a critic, but a motivator, a kind of personal trainer for sluggish general managers and franchise owners. I'm even willing to try to get their rich, pampered sons off the couch and into the action.

This is just one of the sections that inspired the title of this post. He sort of seems to think he was a part of this, doesn't he? Kind of like when a fan thinks that wearing a certain t-shirt when watching their team's games helps that team win. Or when the leader of a cult thinks that killing off his whole sect of followers guarantees him eternal happiness in the afterlife. Well, not really. I just wanted to compare Matthews to a creepy murderer.

For once, it seems to have worked. Back in October, I wrote that you should part ways with Jose Reyes,

For anyone who needed proof that Wallace Matthews is close to braindead: there you go.

who showed more than a little woof-woof last year as the Mets' season careened down the tubes.

What the fuck does "show[ing]... a woof-woof" mean? Also, if that was your criterion for who the Mets should jettison this offseason, they would have ditched pretty much everyone from 2007 except for David Wright. And hell, why not consider him guilty by association? Every player who ever stinks over the course of 17 games should be immediately cut. Choke artists.

I thought you should trade him for Santana

Don't tease Twins fans like that. Things are pretty tough for them right now.

and then, to fill that newly dug hole at shortstop, throw the rest of the money you will be raking in from the new ballpark, new naming rights and the ticket prices at Alex Rodriguez.

Excuse me... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... OK, I'm cool. First, Rodriguez is not a SS anymore. He's put on too much weight to have the kind of range necessary for the position. Second, what the fuck makes you think that was even a possibility? It's up for debate whether Rodriguez came back to the Yankees because they were the only ones who offered him the money he wanted, or because he genuinely wanted to play for the team. Still, I just love how simple Matthews makes this "solution" sound.

Here's how he would fix the Miami Heat:

1) Trade Dwyane Wade for a player who is older, more expensive, and can only play once every five games. Hmmmmm, is Shaq available? Wait, what?
2) Open new arena; use revenue to sign Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Elton Brand, and Shawn Marion when they become free agents this summer
3) Put Jason Williams and Ricky Davis in rocket ship; launch into deep space

Just like that!

It was a bold plan, a daring move, the kind of thing that transforms teams and either sends their GMs to Cooperstown or the want ads.

Steve Phillips joke goes here. Also, it was a plan pulled out of the ass of a terrible journalist who doesn't seem to know much about baseball. So please value it accordingly.

For some strange reason, you rejected that game plan. Up until yesterday, I thought you guys were about as smart as a sack of baseballs for doing so.

Maybe you meant "smart as Vince Young, according to the Wonderlic test." Sports analogy LOLZ

But you did better than I ever could have and better than I thought you were capable of.

Let me break that down. If something is a better idea than his best idea... and also a better idea than what he thinks their best idea would be... yep. If both those clauses are true, then Matthews considers it a possibility that he is smarter than the Mets front office. It's a dark, dark day for baseball journalism.

Since I am taking credit for spurring you to do this, I can honestly say I am proud of you. (By the way, I may have to start the season on the DL. Three paragraphs up, I think I blew out a rotator cuff from patting myself on the back.)

This makes the self-congratulatory tone of the piece seem like more of a joke, but I'm not 100% convinced yet. This is the kind of thing Bill Simmons would say, while really still wanting to point out how fantastically smart he is.

But I must admit, not even I am megalomaniac enough to believe I did this all by myself. I had plenty of help from the Yankees, who in an uncharacteristic spasm of logic and restraint, decided to resist the urge to throw away their future, and a large chunk of Hank and Hal's inheritance, in yet another attempt to buy themselves the American League East.

So that's what the Yankees would have been doing were they to trade for Santana. I see. And yet, the Mets have done no harm whatsoever to their future. There's no way any of those four guys they traded will ever be good at baseball, ever. I heard two of them aren't actually even ballplayers- they apparently sell mattresses for a living. And that $120 million extension the Mets are about to hand over to Santana? Well, it's not actually for money. They'll be paying him with a combination of bottlecaps, socks, and pinecones. So what the Mets just did is totally different than what the Yankees were thinking about doing.

I must also share credit with the Red Sox, who would be damned before they'd allow the Yankees to grab the fiscal high road for themselves.

Might as well also share this same credit with every person in the world, since 99.999999999% of them are exactly as responsible for this trade as you are.

But most of all, I must credit the Minnesota Twins, who overplayed their hand beautifully. They blew a chance to add Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera from the Yankees

Hughes- Could be excellent one day. Already good enough to start in the bigs, but not necessarily an A+ future "ace" kind of guy. More of a #2 or good #3 guy.
Cabrera- Predominantly a defensive player. Not that that's a bad thing since he plays CF, but still, he's not some kind of dynamic 5 tool guy. Witness his .327 OBP in 2007.

So yeah, that's a decent package. Obviously substantially better than what the Twins ended up getting? No. You can't fault Minnesota for wanting to hold out for something better, given the Yankees' recent propensity to renege on promises they publicly make. There was no way they would pursue Randy Johnson. There was no way they'd let Buffet-Rod come back if he opted out. What were the odds they wouldn't sweeten this deal?

or get either Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury from the Red Sox.

Lester- Similar to Hughes, maybe a small step down. Good, fine, Major League read, but has a relatively low ceiling.
Ellsbury- I've known this guy existed for about 6 months, and I'm already sick and fucking tired of hearing about him. Hey, does anyone know if he had a couple good games in the playoffs last fall? I missed out on coverage of that. In any case, a decent prospect. Should hit better than Cabrera eventually, but not a "can't-miss" guy just yet.

Same story as with what the Yankees offered. Is it a good deal? Sure. Is it a great, "holy shit how can you turn that down" deal? Not really. Compared to what Boston gave up for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell (considered a salary dump at the time), it's a joke.

Either of those deals would have been better than Carlos Gomez and Phil Humber, but that's what you get from being indecisive, greedy, or both.

Way to be greedy, baseball executive. Since when has greed been frequently rewarded in your industry?

Gomez looked like a nice little player but I, for one, will not miss Humber since I was never going to get used to that silent H at the beginning of his last name.

Sounds something a French guy would do, doesn't it? Have a silent H at the front of his name? Fucking French. Pussies. WOO! U-S-A! U-S-A!

The truth is, as the rest of the field fell away, this guy pretty much fell into your lap. Well, good for you.

Don't forget all the details, Wallace. They also only signed him because you encouraged them to do so.

There's something to be said for being in the right place at the right time, which is something that hasn't happened to the Mets in quite a while.

Signing Carlos Beltran? Signing Pedro Martinez? Getting John Maine from the Orioles for the Benson family? Watching Oliver Perez rejuvenate his career, after getting him from the Pirates for Xavier "Prototypical 4th Outfielder" Nady? Getting Carlos Delgado (for one good season, anyways) from the Marlins for Mike "You Mean I Don't Have To Swing At Each And Every Pitch?" Jacobs? Getting Mike Piazza in his prime for Preston "Ow My Leg" Wilson? Any of these ring a bell? Sure, they've made some huge mistakes too. But it's not like we're talking about the Oakland Raiders or Atlanta Hawks here when it comes to personnel decisions.

Maybe it was just about time for something to go right in Flushing for a change.

Yeah, you poor tortured fans. It's so hard having one of the game's top payrolls and tons of media attention, isn't it? Maybe if you guys hadn't choked on applesauce in the 2006 NLCS and then choked on even smoother applesauce in September 2007, things wouldn't seem so bleak. But don't act like you're always having trouble acquiring good players. Anyone who knows anything about baseball understands that's not the case.

Or maybe it was a case of finally realizing that what you thought was hateful criticism was actually tough love.

Tough love, huh? How parental of you.

If Wallace Matthews was my father, I would change my last name, run away from home, and spend the rest of my days working on those Alaskan crab boats from "The Deadliest Catch." Think about it- the hull of a ship is like one huge basement!

Well done, boys. And remember: If you need any more help, I'm here for you.

Great. If you want to give any more advice, the Mets will be at their headquarters in New York. Not needing your help.

[Thanks to reader Charles for the tip. Can I call you Chas? Chas is a great name. Much better than Wallace.]


Tonus said...

Let's see if I have this right- if the Yankees sent away two decent young prospects and tied up $45-55 million a year in two ballplayers for the next 5-6 years, it's a bad move. If the Mets send away one of their best players and tied up $45-55 million a year in two ballplayers for the next 5-6 years, it's the hands-down most brilliant move in baseball history.

K, I'd better write that one down.

pnoles said...

Wow I hate Wallace Matthews.....for some reason I stopped regularly checking his column for idiocy and arrogant pieces of shit like whatever he vomited here.

I think he (and everyone) vastly underrates Phil Humber, and I doubt that Matthews knew what a good prospect he was coming into last season.

Hughes I actually do see as a possible legit ace one day tho. I don't think he did anything last year to disprove BP ranking him the #2 prospect in baseball, if for no other reason that it was only his first season.

Also, I feel proud of myself for knowing that Tacoby Bellsbury existed 5 months before Larry. Huzzah!