Saturday, December 13, 2014

Joey's Letter To Sandy Claus (2014)

I hope Sandy Claus leaves everything I ask for under my ridiculously huge tree.

Dear Sandy Claus,

It's me, Joey Beartran!  And if I'm writing you this letter, that means it's that time of year again - the time when you have to decide who was naughty and who was nice in order to determine who gets what they want this holiday season and who gets coal in their stocking.

I know you must be tired from all your recent travels.  I mean, I would be pooped as well if I was spending all my time and energy trying to find good bargains on coveted holiday gifts like Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry, Jr.  I'm sure you had to fight off many people to secure them.

But unlike others who absolutely have to have the best in right-handed hitting outfield/first baseman hybrids, I'm a simple bear.  And that is why this year's list shouldn't be much of a challenge for you.  Because my list is so simple, you should have no problem finding everything on it and we can overlook whether or not I should be on the "naughty" or "nice" list.  (Personally, I don't think causing one of the toilets to overflow in the Caesar's Club last summer should put me on your "naughty" list.  It could have happened to anyone who was trying to flush their autographed Chris Young baseball.)

Are you ready, Mr. Claus?  Here goes!

The home run apple outside Citi Field seems like a good place to write my letter to Sandy Claus.

I would like Matt Harvey to return to the rotation in the best of health.  You already wouldn't let him pitch in 2014 despite his constant nitpicking, so he should be good to go next season.  (And don't worry, I'm not going to accuse you of wanting to extend his free agent clock another year by not pitching him at all in 2014.  Remember, I'm nice, not naughty.)  Also, please don't let Harvey pitch too many innings in 2015.  I'm expecting the Mets to compete for a postseason berth so I'd like him to be as fresh as possible for any potential starts in mid-to-late October.

Speaking of returning to health, I would like a return to form for David Wright.  After all, he gets paid more than your reindeer and elves combined, so he might as well earn his salary.  Eight home runs and eight stolen bases is just not enough for a player who produced a 30/30 season in 2007.  I mean, if you want that type of production, just bring back Jason Bay.  That's what he averaged in three seasons with the Mets, although Bay averaged just 96 games per season as a Met, while Wright put up his 8/8 season in 134 games.

I'd also like a new and improved shortstop.  Yes, I know we already have Wilmer Flores and that Hakuna Tejada guy, but Flores' best position is hitter and Tejada is probably going to press next year now that he knows he produced more walks, doubles, and RBI than Nationals' wunderkind Bryce Harper, all while striking out fewer times than Harper and reaching base at a similar clip in just three more at-bats.  Don't believe me, Sandy Claus?  Take a look for yourself.

Player RBI Year AB 2B BB SO OBP
Ruben Tejada 34 2014 355 11 50 73 .342
Bryce Harper 32 2014 352 10 38 104 .344
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/13/2014.

Would it be too much to ask for another good year from the bullpen?  After three seasons of throwing relief pitchers at a wall and hoping some of them would stick, you finally found some with good adhesive qualities.  They also had good fastballs and off-speed pitches.  Jeurys Familia was so spectacular that he finished tied for seventh in the Rookie of the Year vote, a feat almost unheard of for a middle reliever/set-up man.  Vic Black earned two wins and 12 holds, allowing more than one run in just one of his 41 appearances.  And Jenrry Mejia's 28 saves set the franchise record for most saves by a homegrown pitcher, surpassing Tug McGraw's 42-year-old record by one.  Please make sure they continue to provide a spark for the team in the late innings.

Speaking of Jenrry Mejia, could you please let him know that it's okay to toss a 1-2-3 inning every once in a while?  Mejia made 56 relief appearances in 2014 and retired every batter he faced in just 21 of those outings.  In sixteen of his 24 one-inning saves, he faced a minimum of four batters.  The numbers "1-2-3-4" might have been staples at Ramones concerts, but they shouldn't have to be staples of Mejia performances.

I'd like Daniel Murphy to stick around for at least another season.  In 2014, he became the first second baseman in Mets history to reach base 200+ times in three different seasons, so why shouldn't the Mets keep him around?  And if they did trade him before Opening Day, who would they give the job to?  Eric Young, Jr. was just non-tendered and Dilson Herrera, who won't be old enough to drink until March, still needs more minor league seasoning.  If the Mets do make the playoffs in 2015, Murphy should be there to enjoy it as the second longest tenured player on the team.  His teammates left him stranded on third in a crucial moment during the final week of the 2008 season.  His front office shouldn't do the same by trading him away just as the team appears to be heading toward contention again.

Are you there, Sandy?  It's me, Joey!

If it's not too much to ask, can you please make sure Lucas Duda has another solid season like he had last year?  Can you also have Curtis Granderson replicate Duda's power numbers?  And while I'm at it, can you get your decoder ring out so you can translate Travis d'Arnaud's second half performance into a full season of fantastic hitting?  Perhaps if all three hitters could give solid production, David Wright would have the protection he needs in the batting order and I wouldn't have to compare him to Jason Bay in future letters to you.

Finally, I understand the Mets have to trade a starting pitcher, especially with Matt Harvey coming back to claim one of the spots in the rotation, but does it have to be Dillon Gee?  I know how much you love dumping salary, which is why Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo were all given their walking papers before their contracts expired.  So maybe this is a good time to escort Bartolo Colon to the airport.  He served his purpose in 2014 at a $9 million cost to the team.  Now he's due to earn $11 million in 2015 and he'll be 42 before Memorial Day.  He should be the one to go to make room for Harvey.  And I'm not just saying that because he hogs up the Shake Shack line at Citi Field.  I just happen to like Gee.  What's so wrong with that?

I was only being held by Gee because it was easier to check up on his pitching arm that way.  Honest!

That's it for my letter this year, Sandy.  See, it was a very simple list.  All you have to do is remember to keep Matt Harvey healthy, prevent David Wright from watching his "Jason Bay Guide to Hitting" video, give me a shortstop not named Flores or Tejada who can hit AND field (not hit OR field), provide me with another dependable relief corps, show Jenrry Mejia how to count to three, make sure the Grandy Man can actually protect Wright (Duda and d'Arnaud can help in that regard), and last but not least, keep Dillon Gee from putting his arms around another team's uniform.

You've been able to provide me with many of the things I've asked for in the past few years, but not everything.  (I wanted a healthy Johan Santana in 2013.  Instead, you gave me a healthy Shaun Marcum.  Not the same.  Not even close.)  That's why I made this year's list a little easier for you.  As nice as I was this past season - pay no attention to the Chris Young Bathroom Incident - I don't expect you to make all my holiday dreams come true.  But as a long-suffering Mets fan, you owe me!  You owe all fans who have invested so much of their time and money on this team.  And while I'm on the topic of being owed, you also owe me change for a hot dog I had last September.  I paid with a $10 bill and only got a buck in return.

Thanks a lot for reading my letter, Sandy Claus!  I hope you can fit everything I asked for under my ridiculously huge tree.  I also hope you found a good plumber for the Caesar's Club.  I intend to use the bathrooms there at some point in 2015.  Maybe this time I won't have to bring a baseball with me.

All my love,
Joey Beartran

Hope this makes it to you on time, Sandy.  If not, I'll have to write another letter to my local post office.

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