Friday, December 7, 2018

Joey's Final Letter to Sandy Claus (2018)

In addition to what I ask for in this letter, I could also use a less drafty winter hat.  I almost froze taking this photo.

Dear Sandy Claus,

It's me, Joey Beartran, with my annual letter to you about what I want for the holidays.  Alas, this will be my final letter to you.  It's not because I've found someone else to write to who has a better success rate at giving me what I ask for.  It's also not because of the rumor I heard that you've been sick and had to pass along the keys to your sleigh to Brodie the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  (Although my sources can confirm that this is not a rumor.  Get well soon, you jolly old elf.)

No, the real reason why this is my final letter to you is because I'm no longer a kid.  I'm 14 years old!  Plus, I saw my Studious Metsimus colleague actually putting the presents under the tree last year instead of you, so I put two and two together when I saw that.  Don't worry.  I didn't share that information with my younger siblings.

Despite knowing the truth, I'm still a believer in tradition, so I'm penning one more wish list for you.  If your red-nosed replacement wants to read it with you, please feel free to share it with him.

This time around, the items I ask for won't be as impossible to find as they were in previous years.  So I won't be asking for Travis d'Arnaud to play past the first week of the season or for Yoenis Céspedes to drink more water.  Likewise, I won't demand for 30 pitchers to put on a Mets uniform in 2019 just to surpass last season's total of 29.  I already know no amount of pitchers can hold a lead for Jacob deGrom anyway.

No, my desires are reasonable this year.  As reasonable as it is to expect that Noah Syndergaard won't be traded before Opening Day or that Wilmer Flores won't come back to deliver a walk-off hit against the Mets instead of for them.  So grab one of those blue and orange cookies from the World's Fare Market that hardly anyone ever goes to and hear me out.  It's the least you could do for making us put up with Jose Reyes being on the 25-man roster every single day last season.

I'm feeling melancholy knowing I won't see Wilmer Flores raise the apple anymore at Citi Field.

I'd like a promise that all our prospects won't be traded away to land reclamation projects and players who aren't sure things.  First, our top picks from the 2016 and 2018 drafts were dealt to Seattle for Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz.  Then, rumors have been swirling that Brandon Nimmo and/or Michael Conforto (a.k.a. the Mets' 2011 and 2014 first round picks, respectively) could be shipped off to Miami for J.T. Realmuto.  It's a good thing Peter Alonso was a second round pick or else I'd be worried that he'd be on the trading block.  You can't have a good future if the future is playing somewhere else.

Speaking of Peter Alonso, I'd like to see him on the Mets' Opening Day roster in 2019.  Between his time at Double-A, Triple-A and the Arizona Fall League, Alonso appeared in 159 games, or just about the equivalent of one full major league season.  In those games, he collected 81 extra-base hits (38 doubles, one triple, 42 homers), crossed the plate 108 times and drove in 146 runs.  For the record, no Met has ever produced more than 80 extra-base hits or surpassed 124 RBI in a single season.  If the team wants to save money by not starting his countdown clock to free agency so soon, may I remind the powers-that-be that Alonso might make them a sleigh-load of money in the form of extra ticket sales, merchandising, etc.  Your red-nosed friend won't be needed to light up the sky once Alonso starts to do that with his monster shots.

I'd like you to make sure Zack Wheeler eats the same meals every day, sleeps on the same side of the bed every night and answers all of Steve Gelbs' questions the same way (okay, that last one won't be too hard).  What I'm trying to say is, whatever Wheeler did last year, make sure he doesn't change a thing, especially after finally having his breakout season seven years after the Mets acquired him and five years after making his big league debut.  It's funny that once the man he was traded for (Carlos Beltran) retired, Wheeler finally stayed healthy and became a productive player.  Maybe all we need is for Michael Fulmer to call it a career in Detroit so that Yoenis Céspedes can finally earn that nine-figure salary.

Pssst!  Mr. Met!  Can you run this letter over to Sandy Claus?  And please don't pull a hamstring doing it.

For the 2019 season, I'd like Jacob deGrom to finally get some run support.  That means the Killer Cs (Canó, Céspedes, Conforto) have to hit the way we expect them to.  The Mets went 14-18 in deGrom's starts in 2018.  In eighteen of his 32 starts, deGrom allowed no more than one run.  The Mets found a way to lose eight of those games.  In approximately two-thirds of deGrom's appearances (21 of his 32 starts), the Mets failed to score more than three runs.  Had the team averaged 4.3 runs per game like they did in games not started by deGrom, they would have gone 23-9 in his outings instead of 14-18.  Those nine extra wins would have given the Mets an 86-76 record in 2018 and, more importantly, would have given the team meaningful games in September.  But hey, maybe the team likes empty seats in September.  I know I'm okay with the food lines being shorter when the team isn't playing well.  But I'd be more okay if the hitters came through when deGrom was on the mound.  On a related note, I'd like some Metropolitan Club seats next year so that food can be delivered to me at my seat.

I'd like Mickey Callaway to stop making the occasional bonehead decision or four.  You could chalk up having players batting out of order, not having relievers warming up in the bullpen when they're needed and any other head-scratching moves to his inexperience as a team's skipper.  But he now has a year under his belt.  Those mistakes in judgment won't be so easy to forgive in 2019.  He's not Jerry Manuel, so he can't depend on being gangsta to talk his way out of those errors this year.

Do you remember when we all blamed Ray Ramirez for the team's injuries?  Well, Dr. Death wasn't employed by the Mets in 2018, but players still spent as much time at the Hospital For Special Surgery as they did in the clubhouse.  It's almost getting to the point where they should just rename various wings of the hospital after the Mets players who find themselves constantly walking through the halls.  That's assuming they're able to walk, of course.  Therefore, I'd like to request that the team do whatever it can to help its players stay on the field.  I'd rather buy tickets to see the players on the field, not in the hospital recovery room.  Plus, hospital food is not an adequate replacement for the fare at Citi Field.

Is it true that I get eight days and nights of presents if I light one of these up?

Well, that's it for my final letter to you, Sandy Claus.  To recap, I'd like the team to stop being allergic to keeping first round picks.  I'd also like to see Peter Alonso in April without having to buy a plane ticket to Las Vegas.  Please make sure Zack Wheeler's second verse is the same as the first.  (And don't let Steve Gelbs show him video of the "churro dog incident".  No need for Wheeler to change his eating habits now.)  Take Harry Caray's advice and "let's get some runs" whenever the ace takes the hill.  Tell Mickey Callaway to watch "Moonstruck", especially the scene where Cher slaps Nicolas Cage.  (He'll know what I mean.)  Also, schedule an exorcism to make sure the ghost of Ray Ramirez hasn't been hanging around Citi Field.

Do all that and my retirement as a letter writer to Sandy Claus will be as happy as the one I hope David Wright is having.  (Miss you, Captain.)  Oh, and make sure you don't allow anyone to wear Wright's No. 5.  Willie Mays' previously out-of-circulation No. 24 was already handed to Robinson Canó.  The last thing we want is for the number to go to a journeyman player who's played for four teams over the last seven seasons and can't outhit Mario Mendoza in his most recent campaign but still finds a way to appear in over 100 games in said season.  Ask Jose Reyes what I'm talking about if you don't know what I mean.

Thanks so much for reading my letter, Sandy Claus.  And you too, Brodie, for being such a nosy reindeer.  (I know you were reading it over Sandy's shoulder.)  I wish you both a happy holiday season and hope Sandy makes a full recovery.  After all, I might not be writing any more letters after this one but every once in a while I might need to sit on a jolly old elf's lap to ask for a few things.  Those moments never get old.

Love and Mex Burgers forever,
Joey Beartran

I'll never forget you, Sandy Claus.  I hope your lap is always available to me.  You know, just in case.

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