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Déjà Vu All Yo’ver Again

I don’t know what the Winter Meetings will bring us in the way of new players, or which superfluous lefty-hitting outfielder [1] will be Mettisioned, but I’m enjoying a vibrant December glow from the steps taken to retain several of our old players thus far. We still have Neil Walker [2]. We still have René Rivera [3]. We still have Yoenis Cespedes [4].

Mostly we still have Yoenis. That’s the part that registers as super and then some [5]. It felt really great last winter [6] and the fact that we had to go through the machinations of not being sure we had him before confirming that he never left for any longer than it took for him to grab a smoke (he really should stop doing that) didn’t make treating his return as breaking news [7] any less fun.

“What we’re celebrating,” Jay Leno once announced to a room full of reporters NBC had gathered to make it clear they weren’t taking The Tonight Show away from him, “is I’m not being fired. It’s very, very strange.” What the Mets did last week was give Cespedes the platform to let us know he wasn’t firing them. We didn’t know he’d stay. He stayed. He stayed again. Helluva story. Twice. We’ll take it over and over. Signing Yo at the end of November was the best news since signing Yo at the end of January, which was the best news since trading for Yo the July before. Whatever did we do for good news before Yo?

Oh, right, we didn’t have much. The offseason press conferences took place in distant precincts. I came to miss them and the competitive aspirations they represented enough that I wished we could rent a big-name free agent for an hour [8], or just long enough so we could do dogs and ponies before getting back to waiver claims and Rule 5 selections. Those were dark winter days.

These are better. These have Cespedes, which is fantastic; and Walker, which is quite all right [9]; and Rivera, which is fine [10]. Rivera provided a reliable target for Noah Syndergaard [11] and Walker hit when he wasn’t visiting Pittsburgh. Neil was also properly appreciative in accepting the Mets’ qualifying offer, tweeting that he was “happy to say I’m back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let’s go Mets! #unfinished business.” Parse those sentiments for a few hours and you’ll be overjoyed at player sentiments that transcend boilerplate. (The capitalizing of Orange and Blue may be my favorite part).

They were 2016 Mets who helped us provide us with a Wild Card. You don’t get to keep every vital body from your playoff teams, as we learned when Bartolo Colon [12] took his bat, arm and aura to Atlanta [13], where he will presumably find spiritual kinship with R.A. Dickey [14], but the less turnover of essential personnel from a successful unit, the warmer your winter will feel. And if they want to hold weekly press conferences to remind us our Silver Slugger of a left fielder is still a well-compensated Met and that No. 52 continues to fit over a shirt and tie, I’ll tune in every single time.