Coutinho: Are Fred Wilpon’s Comments Troubling Or Accurate?

By Rich Coutinho
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When the Mets woke up in Chicago this morning, they were likely welcoming a day off after a disappointing Subway Series loss yesterday. By now they have likely all heard the comments Fred Wilpon made in a New Yorker magazine article whose focus was the Bernie Madoff scandal and the rags-to-riches story of the Met owner. And now when the Mets arrive at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon, they will be right in the middle of a firestorm. Fred Wilpon, whether he realized or not, threw his star players under the bus.

One by one, he undressed Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Mike Pelfrey and in the process, leaves me scratching my head as to why he did it. First and foremost, David Wright is indeed a superstar if for no other reason than the Mets have put him on that mantle. Time and time again, Wright has been placed in positions that indicate he is the face of the franchise and it is not because the Met third basemen craves the attention. In fact, if you know David as I do, you begin to realize that all he wants to be is a baseball player but he has assumed this “franchise face” role because that is what is expected of him.

The Carlos Beltran issue is pure and simple–Beltran came here because Wilpon signed off on the contract. No amount of persuading on the part of Omar Minaya would have worked unless Fred Wilpon signed off on it. To lay this at the feet of the general manager alone is really not fair–and at the time, I did not hear one person have an issue with it. Beltran would be the first to admit things have not gone according to blueprint here, but the truth is, Beltran had three really good seasons (2006-2008) and might have had more if the Met medical staff did not botch his diagnosis.

The comments about Jose Reyes are extremely troubling because at no point has Reyes or his representatives revealed their demands in the media.  All Jose has done is put up numbers this year–never speaking once about the contract. Even if your end game is to trade Reyes, how will this help you get the best value in such a deal? I would think you would build up your assets–not tear them down–if you want to deal them away. If he really felt Reyes did not deserve Carl Crawford money, then put the onus on the team that signed Crawford–don’t insult the player who is on your team.

The whole thing reminds me of how Frank Cashen tore down Darryl Strawberry prior to him leaving via free agency. The fact remains the Mets were not the same for years after that because to Met fans, Strawberry represented a homegrown product who left because of the stubbornness of a general manager who refused to acknowledge how important a homegrown Met is to their fan base.

And to tear down both David Wright and Jose Reyes will not endear the owner to Met fans. Quite honestly, the comments about Carlos Beltran and Mike Pelfrey will not bother them as much because they likely agree with Wilpon and in Beltran’s case, feel the relationship is coming to an end anyway.

What bothers me the most is these comments are so out of character for Fred Wilpon who has always struck me as a person who takes responsibility for the struggles of this franchise. Wilpon rarely, if ever, takes shots at anyone–least of all his best players. It makes me think maybe there is more at issue here–and I can only think of one thing. Sandy Alderson has been given the keys to the car and possibly has already decided the fate of Reyes. And as a consequence, the owner needs to be on the same page with the man he has entrusted the future of his franchise to.

I firmly believe Reyes is superstar and deserves Crawford money. I also question the timing of these comments because it will severely diminish the value of the Met shortstop and that limits what you will receive in exchange for him in the trade market. That is what makes these comments from Fred Wilpon so troubling.

What damage will Fred Wilpon’s comments have on the value of Reyes and others?

  • J

    What really does it in for me is that Fred would trash his best and most popular players after years of sketchy ownership. Everyone knows he is going to lose the team, and only in this state of being backed against the wall is he showing his true colors. He is a cancer on this team and I hope whoever buys the minority share tricks them into selling the whole team and is a more rational and resourceful mind.

  • Chris

    Moses you need to get a clue when posting these stats. Crawford has played in over 300 more games then Reyes so of course his total numbers are going to be a little higher then Reyes. Reyes is the far superior player to Crawford both offensively and defensively, is 2 yrs younger then Crawford, and is currently hitting .310. Crawford is hitting .209.

    You must be a lost Red Sox fan who found the wrong board to post on. Go find a clue before wasting everyone’s time here on this board.

    • Moses

      Christina, that stats are facts, live with it and go crying somewhere else. Both been in the majors for 9 plus years and that’s what matters.

      If a Mets fan cries in the woods, does anybody hear them, does anybody care.

  • dave cana

    what did wilpon say?
    reyes wont get crawford money due to injuries——WILPON IS RIGHT

    wright is a very good player not a superstar———WILPON IS RIGHT

    beltran was a bad signing and is now at 70%——-WILPON IS RIGHT

    lets rejoice. fred always gets ripped as being out of touch but this shows he is one of us. the same pet peeves, the same aggravation. why rip the man? he is essentially US. lets celebrate the honesty.

  • flea

    Coutinho: The Mets…. best starting line-up in the national league.

  • Tom F

    Helloooooo – The last time I checked, he owned the team. He has every right to criticize and make comments about the product that he is responsible for showcasing on the field. Besides that, everything he said was 100% acurate.

    • dave cana

      couldnt have said it better than that!

  • Mike Kulpa

    I wonder how much of what Fred said was taken out of context? Reporters seem to always “misquote” players these days, no different for owners.

  • Julio Rivera

    Steinbrenner did and said a whole hell of a lot worse than Wilpon just did. As the owner, just as we do as fans he has a right to an opinion. If George did this it would be chalked up to Steinbrenner being Steinbrenner. Hopefully the players will show a little pride and shut his mouth with their play….

  • Mike

    What I find funny is that Wilpon will sit there and tell you that David Wright is NOT a superstar, but yet that is how they market the team in order to sell tickets. Let’s face it the Wilpon’s are clueless in running a MLB franchise and the only way they made their money was by turning a blind eye with Madoff. The Wilpon’s are nothing more then egotistical jerks who will always blame someone else for their misfortunes. And until they sell the team I will never support the New York Mets.

  • Daniel

    This has to be the stupidest thing I have evr heard. The reason this team stnks is because you don’t wanna spend any money. Its ok…you’ll be payin that money back anyway soon.

  • Moses

    so what you’re saying is the truth hurts. You’re also saying that Crawford is over paid, but the Mets should pay that kind of money to Reyes even if Wilpon believes he’s not worth that price even though Crawford’s career numbers are better than Reyes’s & help take the Rays to the World Series while Reyes hasn’t done anything for the Mets in regards to winning, but he should get a $140 mil contract because he’s homegrown. Interesting.

    • Tom G

      Crawford’s numbers are better than Reyes? On what planet? Get a clue before posting such nonsense.

      • Moses

        Tom g you’re in imbecile. What part of better didn’t you get?

        Crawford – .293 BA, 105 HRS, 1519 HITS, 106 TRIPLES, 415 SS & 605 RBI

        Reyes – .287 BA, 75 HRS, 1181 HITS, 62 TRIPLE, 348 SS & 394 RBI

        Get a clue idiot; you’re not as smart as you think.

      • Moses

        here’s a guy in Tom G who lives in freaking fantasy world when it comes to the Mets & thinks every Mets player is great & no other players in baseball are better, yet the Mets haven’t won a World Series in over 25 yrs with all the great players they have.

        Only in Mets Fantasy World does this exist & then he wonders why other teams win titles, some more than others (Yankees) while he cries himself to sleep every October. Wilpon said it best, live with it Tom G, get a clue

  • You can't make this stuff up.

    Another typical, dysfunctional day in Metsville. Brilliiant. There’s an old saying- When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging! This organization continues to be its own worst enemy. Just sell the darn team Fred, enough is enough.

    • Joe

      No one is worth Crawford money, especially not a guy who gets hurt all the time and never learns from his poor baserunning blunders.. Everything Wilpon said is spot on. Sometimes the truth hurts. I don’t necessarily agree that Wilpon should’ve said these things publicly but it’s not like he said anything that isn’t true. The NY media will make this a bigger deal than it really is. Mets can still get a nice package in return for Reyes. The team that wants him the most will budge and offer up more, especially two months from now when this article is forgotten about some. Anyone who follows the Mets close enough knows that last year you knew the organization had to trade Reyes and Beltran. You can’t keep having season after season wasted on their injuries. This year they’re playing well so far so they need to be moved before they get hurt again. In an era of 100 million contracts you at least need durability from your investment.

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