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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

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A-Void A-Rod

There have been some pretty convincing articles on the breathless subject of A-Rod and the Mets of late, even if they contradict each other. The ever-popular Tim Marchman came out against on Wednesday; the ubiquitous and solid Howard Megdal weighed in for on Thursday. They both made compelling points. There has also been a Harper's share of immensely inane takes on the subject, ones that swear you easily distracted lemminglike Mets fans must have Alex Rodriguez right now if you know what's good for you.

I'd prefer to A-Void A-Rod. I don't mean not sign him, but not write about him. What am I going to tell you that you haven't already considered for yourself? That he hits really well? That he plays two positions that we have well covered into the next decade? That's he's going to be six-star hotel expensive? That he's kinda creepy? That he's one of the all-time offensive machines? That he's Alex Rodriguez and all that implies?

We don't need A-Rod, but we could always use a bat like his. If he could catch, I'd say give him the new stadium, the rotunda and every darn brick on the Fanwalk. But he's a shortstop/third baseman and I do believe we're set there. His presence might have accounted for those couple extra wins we required last season, but there's no guarantee (though John Harper would have you believe otherwise) that he would lift us over the top on an annual, dynastic basis. One man, even if he's one of the greatest of the greats, is still one man, especially if he can't pitch into the eighth inning. Plus, given the franchise's general well-being — collapse notwithstanding — we don't need a map-putter-onner for 2008. Call off the cartographers; we're on the map. We're not all waiting for ownership to trade for George Foster or the GM to lead us out of the woods by way of Pedro Martinez. We're more secure than that. If local columnists are worried we don't get enough back pages, they should talk to their editors.

Then there's the money. While I don't doubt books get cooked to a crisp in baseball, I nevertheless prefer my team not commit hundreds of millions of dollars to a single player who a) is guaranteed only to get older at this stage of his career and b) has shown a predilection for wanting out of every situation he's been in. It's not our money except when our club demurs on bidding for the next pitcher or player it really needs…and digging deep for tickets and concessions at Citi Field figures to be an onerous enough task as is.

Let's get A-Rod at this time seven years ago. Or let's be a little worse in 1992 so we can draft him No. 1 overall in 1993* as the Mariners did. The A-Rod we've intermittently watched out our side windows since 2004? The one who waltzed into an allegedly ideal landing spot yet leaves it richer but no better off? Give him fill-in-the-blank million over too many years? So somebody who deserves better can play out of position? While the best-compensated team-sport athlete in the history of civilization inevitably presses too hard to live up to his deal, elicits boos instead of buzz and scans his contract for another brilliantly crafted opt-out clause?

This is a twist on “if you have to ask, you can't afford it.” This is “if you have to think about it, do you really want to think about it?” Alex Rodriguez practically produces by himself in a year what the Met lineups of my youth produced en masse. That should be all a fan needs to know: We can get the best hitter in the game? DO IT! But there is too much to think about it and too much to pay if you have to think that hard.

*Actually, it occurs to me that the A.L. and N.L. switch off in drafting first, with the odd years belonging to the American League's worst team from the season before, so no, we could not have drafted Alex Rodriguez in 1993 no matter how bad we might have been in 1992. Then again, we didn't have to use the eighth pick in the nation in 1993 to select Kirk Presley, did we?

16 comments to A-Void A-Rod

  • Anonymous

    I don't think A-Rod is George Foster; I think he's Gary Carter.
    The key to this would be getting A-Rod to switch positions, which could be a distinct possibility, given the market and the corner Boras has backed him into. If you could convince A-Rod to play RF, then you've essentially freed up both Milledge and Gomez as trade bait for an elite starter. And, at the end of the day, I think another 30-50 innings picked up by an elite starter would have more impact than another 8th-inning arm in the pen.
    I have my misgivings about A-Rod, and I certainly don't want to see David Wright or Jose Reyes playing second base. But if there's a way to get him without relocating those two, Omar would be crazy not to investigate.

  • Anonymous

    It's great to read an A-Rod post that is as well thought out and as logical. I am so amazed at how many fans and bloggers want to see A-Rod on the Mets, even to the point of forcing Wright from third. The Mets had no problems scoring runs and dont have to turn their entire team upside down to accomodate him.

  • Anonymous

    ARod's only concern is money and If we did want Omar to persue him then we should never have voiced distain for Tom (I'm not devestated and think I pitched OK) Glavine and hope he would come back in 2008 to shore up our starting rotation. This kind of indifference to winning and losing turns me off to either of them being a Met.

  • Anonymous

    My new thing is trade Reyes ++ (gulp!) for Johan Santana, and sign ARod to play SS. It's the move that best utilizes your resources.

  • Anonymous

    That's why I can't, as much as I'd like to, completely dismiss out of hand the idea of A-Rod. He is too good not to, as you put it, investigate. But there's just too much baggage with this guy even when you consider the potential payoff. I like the Carter analogy, and Carter was allegedly “Camera Carter,” but A-Rod is in another stratosphere both in terms of selfiness (not selfishness, but something like it) and payroll. Also, Carter could catch.
    Robin Yount once grabbed an OF glove and became very good at using it. Pete Rose played wherever his team needed him. Craig Biggio and (forgive me) Chipper Jones have moved around to fill positions that desperately required filling. An Alex Rodriguez (SS turned 3B because somebody else held his spot, it's worth remembering) who a) says “I'll play anywhere you want me” and b) isn't Todd Hundley in the execution thereof would be admirable, albeit probably more expensive.
    And I don't remember Mardie Cornejo and bunts, just a lot of quick saves that quickly disappeared.

  • Anonymous

    I understand the logic, T.A., but I'm not giving up Reyes at this stage of his career, not for what he's signed to, not for the track record he's established, not because of a disappointing last month. No guarantee you sign Santana long-term, in which case you have just send away one of your building blocks for a rental pitcher. And all that aside, I'm not shipping out one of our two home-grown pillars to make room for the mercenary of mercenaries. Jose pissed me off the last few weeks of the season as much as anybody, but he's still one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and still one of the best shortstops in the league and still 24. I'd love to have Santana, but if we don't have something else to package, we'll just have to hope he's a free agent and we can use all that Zito/A-Rod money to sign him.

  • Anonymous

    I think it boils down to a simple proposition:
    If he's willing and able to move to the OF or first base, sign him. If not, pass on him.

  • Anonymous

    We don't need A-Rod, so why not see how the market for him plays out? Solid specualtion is that he and Boras have overestimated the willingness of clubs to drop $300M on anyone. Isn' there at least the chance that come February, A-Rod is willing to “settle” for a 6-year, $120M deal. Then we can talk about moving David to 1B.
    Hey, why don't we get in play for Tejada? Yeah, he's probably gonna turn up in the Mitchell report, but if he's willing to play 3B for the Yanks, why not 2B for us?

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, this could be like those various “you must buy the Blank Pack” come-ons lest you be shut out of the Subway Series, then they're still selling you seating even after everything is “sold out”. It would be something if the A-Rod market turned into a stepped-up version of the Vlad market of a few winters ago. I'm not confident that will happen given the way Zito and other pitchers escalated last December, but those were pitchers. If Arte Moreno or somebody wants to take his feet off the ground and reach for the stars, let him.

  • Anonymous

    It makes my eyes light up to see A-Rod's numbers, but, you know what, fuck that. The Yankees have a stacked line-up and A-Rod and look where it gets them. Not the World Series. A-Rod came to town, and the Red Sox broke the curse. If anything, the Yankees have been worse and certainly no better. Seriously, the guy is not an automatic ticket to anything and his post-season play is certainly suspect.
    The Red Sox won this year because they had a really good team and excellent pitching. Signing A-Rod guarantees neither and might actually inhibit one or both.
    Plus, he's a Yankee. Ugh. The Yankees can spend a fortune on a player and just eat it, because George Steinbrenner is crazy, but other teams can't afford to be so reckless. Greg is right, if you have think, the answer is no.

  • Anonymous

    Not a bad point. I try not to be too much of a stickler for purity (besides, wasn't A-Rod the non-True Yankee?), but yeah, I don't really want their rejects, even if they opted out. My stomach was already turning at the thought of us going after their aging catcher.

  • Anonymous

    I'd love to have Santana, but if we don't have something else to package, we'll just have to hope he's a free agent and we can use all that Zito/A-Rod money to sign him.
    The great unknown with Santana the free agent is that the Red Sox and Yankees will likely also be in on the bidding. Setting aside the dubious wisdom of committing 6 years / $180 million for a pitcher, there is simply no guarantee you can even get him.
    I understand your reluctance with respect to Reyes for the reasons you state. But his value as a commodity, while considerable, is down from where it was a year ago. Consider Beckett for Ramirez as an example. He was an indispensible component to the Sox winning it all but boy, did they pay a heavy price to get him.
    I don't know the answer but it's a damn interesting question.
    Oh, and “home-grown” has absolutely zero value to me.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah on the homegrown part, but it's nice.

  • Anonymous

    the playoffs are a crapshoot. who would've guessed that paul byrd would throw the game of his life against the yankees? who would've guessed that wang would've completely sucked two starts in a row? crazy stuff happens in a 5 GAME SERIES. hell, the devil rays would probably take the yanks to a game 5 in a short series like that. it's completely unpredictable.
    we don't need a-rod but it'd be damn nice to have him. and for all those saying we wouldn't win in the playoffs with him…how about we make the playoffs first?

  • Anonymous

    Kirk Presley!!! WOW!
    What is truly sadder than that draft choice is that I've actually wondered “whatever happened to that Elvis kid?” on more than one occasion since the turn of the millenium. How do we remember this crap?