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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
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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Three Easy Pieces (Some Assembly Required)

When you accept the post of Steve Cohen’s personal shopper the week before Black Friday, you can expect to work the holiday weekend. Billy Eppler didn’t let the specter of ”unprofessional” agents sliding down the chimney deter him from his appointed cart-filling rounds. Somewhere between five and midnight on Friday evening, news oozed that the Mets had signed not one, not two, but three free agents, or three more than were projected by those who were convinced that because the Mets had seemed idle or been foiled before Thanksgiving, they were never gonna bring in any new players.

With the table cleared of Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Loup and the aborted homecoming of Long Island’s Own Steven Matz, Eppler has set a trio of places for…

Eduardo Escobar, infielder!
Mark Canha, outfielder!
Starling Marte, outfielder!

The exclamation points are courtesy punctuation, extended from a desire to greet the new fellas with enthusiasm. In reality, one of them I’m pretty familiar with; one I kind of nodded and thought, “oh yeah, I know who that is”; and one I had to convince myself I’d heard of. Only Marte, a former All-Star for the Pirates, has made more than a cursory impression on me — definitely a good impression, though. Canha’s been busy in the American League, so we’ve basically missed each other to date. Escobar I remembered from the Diamondbacks, though his last stop was with the National League Central champion Brewers.

Last offseason, when I was paying nominal attention to the moves whichever GM the Mets had in office at the moment was making, the Mets ushered in Loup, Jonathan Villar and Kevin Pillar, to name three solid veterans. They all fell in that vast expanse of me knowing who they were yet not having informed opinions about. They came here and indeed acted as solid veterans, each contributing, none generating quite enough oomph to single-handedly transform the franchise. But we got to know them some and like them some. One we’ve already officially said goodbye to. The other two probably won’t be back.

I invoke last year’s pickups because this is how roster construction happens. Guys come, guys go, and in between we find out if it was fairly worthwhile for us. If it was, we will warmly applaud when the guys who left come back in the visitors’ uniform. If it wasn’t, we likely won’t throw up our hands in disgust and browse for a new team. Give us some Mets, we’ll cheer them unless motivated to scowl like hell in their general direction.

These boys of late autumn 2021 will probably stick around a touch longer than last winter’s one-year wonders. Marte’s deal is reportedly four years and $78 million. He’s a centerpiece center fielder in the reimagining of the Mets. That’s something we could use. Escobar signed for two years and $20 million and should see serious third base or perhaps second base action, Javy Baez’s whereabouts pending. Canha’s a corner outfield type who’s also in for two years, in the mid-$20 millions.

Steve Cohen does not send his personal shopper into the marketplace lightly.

How will the new acquisitions mesh with the holdovers? Who will the holdovers be? What can we project for Marte, Escobar and Canha collectively and individually in 2022? What do their career arcs imply for the length of their respective contracts? What do the peripheral numbers say? Were these good signings?

Shoot, I don’t know. I never know. I can guess, but I choose not to. Instead, I choose a little of that elusive happiness we didn’t think we’d be receiving for a while when Steve and Billy didn’t come out of the gate with fountain pens blazing. The Mets have signed big league players with track records and presumed upside. That’s how free agency functions. The rest will be left to the near future to figure out. Also, it’s still November and other players (including pitchers) remain to be sought.

If the right guys come at the right time, as happened in Atlanta at the end of July, the deals go down as brilliant. Three guys are coming to Flushing at the end of November. It will take a little while to discern what it all means and will have meant before they’re gone. Escobar and Canha have two years to tell their story, Marte four. Until their contracts expire or are transferred and I have reason to rue the shortcomings their game revealed over time, I welcome their arrival with legitimate brio. A pre-lockout Black Friday extravaganza of this nature surely beats scouring the picked-over aisles at the dollar store.

7 comments to Three Easy Pieces (Some Assembly Required)

  • Eric

    They’re all about deGrom’s age.

  • Dave

    Were these 5am door-buster sales? Was it buy Marte and Escobar, get Canha free? Did he get bonus bucks to use on his next purchase? He’ll definitely be getting all kinds of emails for future sale items, and maybe some of those will be attractive. Smart shopper.

  • Cobra Joe

    New Mets outfielder Mark Canha joins that heady list of relatively unknown Mets player acquisitions, including Ron Herbel, Rich Chiles, Chico Walker, Bill Pecota, Leon “Motor” Brown and Xavier Nady.

    • Seth

      One could argue that trading Xavier Nady sunk the ’06 season. You might not win, but you could argue…

      • mikeL

        …”necessitated” by duaner sanchez’s paella-run cab crash in miami if i remember correctly (i decided not to look it up).
        yea the nady trade was bad, i do remember.

  • Saw those announced, checked the bios. All 32-33 – right when major leaguers tend to drop off. Think I’ve heard this song before. I’d like to be more optimistic but I’ve been a Mets fan for 50 years.

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