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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.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Kvellin’ Of Troy

On this date in 1982, there was approximately zero-percent chance that the Mets would soon call Keith Hernandez their first baseman. On this same date in 1997, it was maybe less likely (if that’s statistically possible) that Mike Piazza was five months and change from becoming the Mets’ catcher.

But both deals happened and twice this franchise of ours was transformed.

As currently floated by an in-the-know baseball writer or two, the chances of the Mets acquiring Troy Tulowitzki lies somewhere between five and ten percent. So if you believe the laying of odds based on what somebody’s source says to some reporter who may or may not know something’s up, well, meet me at the top of the National League East standings sometime this summer.

It’s probably saner to stay situated in the “nobody knows anything” camp, but what fun is that? At the very least, it’s plausible that the Mets and Rockies have discussed a deal that would bring Tulo, the best all-around shortstop in baseball when healthy, to Citi Field in the right kind of uniform. The Rockies have a contract they’d like to move and the Mets have a hole they’d like to fill. If they’re not talking to one another, there’s massive negligence going on in two time zones.

Is any of this serious? Even if you generously interpret every report you’ve lapped up this morning, you can find, at most, a glint of light that indicates that maybe, if everything and more happens, this has a shadow of a shot in hell of transpiring.

Sounds good to me. If it does happen, then hallelujah, we have — best-case scenario — an amazing upgrade at short, a lineup that can produce steady streams of runs and enough pitching no matter what needs to be sent to Colorado in exchange. If it doesn’t, then except for a few dashed hot stove hopes, we’re back where we started, with Wilmer Flores, who has yet to prove he’s a terrible alternative. Also we keep however many promising young arms we didn’t hypothetically trade, we don’t take on the dollar commitment that might not be onerous to another team’s payroll but apparently is to our team’s, and we don’t have to worry about Tulowitzki staking out a cozy spot on the several-year disabled list.

All this chatter is win-win in a December when the most scintillating development in Metsopotamia to date has been Jeurys Familia donning an elf costume (and that includes the acquisition of John Mayberry). It’s a classic baseball dilemma in theory: Great player joins team that seems ready to rise versus injury risk, financial commitment and unproven talent that may haunt you later. Thing is it’s only theory. It’s five percent, maybe ten, maybe nothing at all.

Would I do it? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t get to do it, so what’s the difference?

But I sure was happy when we got Hernandez and Piazza within six months of never imagining we might.

13 comments to Kvellin’ Of Troy

  • Lou from Brazil

    At this point, I’d do the trade. Even if it’s for Thor, a pick one Gee/Niese/Colon and perhaps a lower level minor leaguer in exchange for a bit of Colorado’s money to offset the risk. The Mets need to go for it and take a shot like this if the opportunity presents itself. Sure, I’ll happily take the 2nd wild card next year, but there’s a hell of a lot more cache to an NL East title. If all things were how they stood at the end of September, the Mets would probably be fine in 2015. But the bar has been raised by some (unfortunately) nice moves in Miami and Washington. The Mets need to step up and truly compete with them.

  • chuck

    “…when healthy,..”

    Maybe it’s a paranoid caveat, but I can see George Foster or Roberto Alomar or Carlos Baerga as easily as Keith or Mike.

  • Dave

    I’m with Chuck. This guy has spent his 20’s on the DL half the time, what will his 30’s be like? And will that contract on the Wilpons’ payroll mean we’re a few years away from trading Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom for prospects? And that’s not even examining the likelihood that playing half his games at Citi turns him into a 15/75/.275 guy (if he can stay on the field for enough games to put up that many HR’s and RBI’s).

    Yes, time to pull a trigger and make the Keith-Carter-Piazza-Clendenon type of deal. Just not this one.

  • Rob

    Forget the player in question here, he is a great talent. What the bet is here is will a guy with an alarming injury history (worse than even Jose Reyes), playing an extremely demanding position, on the wrong side of 30, with an onerous long-term contract stay on the field long enough to help? It’s a fool’s bet….NONE of those pretty key factors improve with age. Yes, he is great, but what good is “great” when it’s on the DL half the season? Not to mention the boatload of talent it would take to get him. It’s great to hear it being discussed on the radio, it makes us feel legitimate to read in the newspaper, but it is an awful AWFUL risk, and decisively so. Let someone else take it. Hernandez and Piazza didn’t bring this amount of risk along with them.

    If they just leave Flores alone, I think he would give us 15 HRs and 65 RBI in 2015 (with reasonable upside down the road). Is that so horrible? And for all the negatives you hear about his defense, I didn’t see any glaring red flags in his play last year. This is a young player with an excellent minor league track record who hasn’t done anything at the major league level to warrant the apparent lack of confidence in him. I really hope Sandy Alderson is just pandering to all the critics with the Tulo talk (and Stephen Drew), because the best bet out there is with their own guy.

  • Doc

    Lets not forget that Flores is only 23 y.o. He’s made great strides through the minors and came on strong at the end of last year. To believe hes only going to be as good as he is now is a mistake. The kid has a beautiful swing just a little more experience.

  • James Preller

    Someday, sooner or later, Alderson is going to have to bring in a real, bona fide offensive talent. It can’t all be wishin’ and hopin’.

    It will have to happen through a trade, and it will be painful and costly, but it could also be the move that helps the Mets become a 90+ win team.

    I’m bored and saddened by the goal of 85 wins and maybe a shot at Game 163.

    When I look at the SS position, Sandy’s history with it, it feels like a microcosm of an organization that feels no urgency, has no money, and takes no risk. Under Alderson, they went from Reyes to promoting the next guy in line within the organization. That’s the sum total of the plan, no matter how many games that strategy has lost. It’s so passive that it looks a lot like semi-retirement.

    JP

    • Rob

      Reyes was a free agent at a time they has a billion-dollar lawsuit hanging over their heads. That timing SUCKED (a totally Met-like series of occurrences, by the way), but it’s NOT the same world now as when that happened. Your point about upgrading at some point is a valid one, but 1) you don’t sell out a young player with promise just because he hasn’t done it yet 2) you don’t take on a great player with the baggage and question marks Tulowitzki has just because “something needs to happen.” Unless you can tell me why betting on Tulowitzki to play 140 games a year for even the next three years isn’t ALSO wishin’ and hopin’…

      There will be guys available at some point that will make the Mets better in a more practical, lower-risk way, but Tulowitzki in not that guy.

  • Andee

    It completely comes down to who we’d have to give up to get him. If the price is “batshit insane,” per some reports, then we’re talking about a package that starts with deGrom and Thor and probably includes at least one of Wheeler or TdA, if not both, plus extras. At that price I pass. We don’t even know if Harvey’s elbow will hold together (Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy say hi), the only 200-inning guy we have right now is 300 years old, and Niese and Gee are health-risk time bombs too. Under those circumstances giving up three prime arms plus a bat or two for a guy who just had A-Rod surgery on his hip, and logs even more DL time than Reyes used to, would be way too much risk to assume.

    Six months from now might be another story; maybe everyone’s health will be fantastic and Matz and Montero and Ynoa will all kick butt and take names in Vegas, and there will be so many arms we’d have to trade more than one of them anyway. Right now, though, I wouldn’t be so quick to flush Wheeler and deGrom, who probably have a better chance of pitching 200 quality innings next year than Gee or Niese or possibly even Colon, who is at (maybe beyond) an age when pitchers fall off the table quickly and permanently. And they’re sure not going to let Harvey do it, even if Matt would pitch every game if you let him.

  • nestornajwa

    Between the comparatively fat air of Queens and the age/injury history, I agree with the majority here. I am all for the Mets acquisition of a game-changing talent along the lines of Kid, Keith and Piazza, but Coors hitters, like cheetahs and grizzly bears, are best appreciated in their natural habitat. I don’t know why most big-name players the Mets acquire either a) stink or b) can’t stay healthy, but they do (the aforementioned trio aside, and even Carter and Hernandez ran out of gas sooner than expected). And Tulo carries a bigger warning label than a carton of unfiltered Camels.

  • Lenny G

    Not too keen on this move, if it happens. It would only be OK if Colorado eats half the contract. Alderson should have went after one of the D-backs shortstops or Seatle’s. It took the Yankees a relatively low cost to get Didi, while Alderson could have, and should have, made that move !! It’s quite frustrating being a fan and watching nothing happen. Cuddyer alone is not the answer.

  • eric 1973

    The old bromide, “The best deals are the ones you don’t make” certainly applies here. Didi, Drew, and now Tulo are Exhibits A-B and now C. I was thinking how lucky the Mets were that they never made this deal, then all of a sudden all this talk. This would be THE worst acquisition since getting back Bobby Bonilla, and will destroy this franchise for years to come.

  • chuck

    I’m sort of surprised that nobody here has yet mentioned that Tulowitzki worships that smug, overrated, humility-coached, gift-basketing turd that played for that other team.

    Call me a purist, but if he were healthy I still wouldn’t want him on the Mets without some serious deprogramming.

    • I was a press conference in 2012 for the Mets’ pair of first-round draft picks, Kevin Plawecki and Gavin Cecchini. Cecchini said he wore No. 2 for the same reason Tulowitzki does. Everybody in the room groaned, including the general manager of the Mets, but the kid didn’t exactly recant.

      In other words, it’s going to be tough to not run into that sort of thing. (Then again, I notice he hasn’t made great advancement through the Met system since that remark.)