As Mets PR snafus go, the one that occurred today is nothing to lose any sleep over. In fact, the team might not even view it as a mistake. But for an organization trying to revive its image with a front office that’s supposedly better-run than it was in the past, it’s the little things like this that make me scratch my head.
This morning, Andy Martino of the Daily News published a piece saying that the Mets considered cutting Mike Pelfrey (the headline bizarrely refers to him as “Michael Pelfrey”) before Opening Day, according to — as Martino puts it — “two people with direct knowledge of the situation.”
Certainly, there is a case to me made for releasing Pelf, and the front office has every reason to at least float the idea. However, that doesn’t mean the entire world, and the player in question, should find out about it.
I know that sportswriters have become incredibly adept at extracting insider information from anonymous sources. But isn’t there such thing as ‘What’s said in this room, stays in this room’ anymore? For fans, it’s fascinating to know what goes on behind teams’ closed doors, but some information simply should not be leaked.
Martino’s sources said that the coaching staff shot down the idea of cutting Pelfrey, and rightfully so — if only because the Mets need pitchers who can eat up innings. Still, what matters is that Pelfrey now knows that his higher-ups thought about letting him go. And that’s the last thing he needs.
After watching Pelf pitch for the last six years, we know all too well by now that he is way too deep inside his own head for his own good. This year, he’s stunk in Spring Training, owning an 8.59 ERA in five starts, but last night he finally managed to find a rhythm, allowing one run on three hits in 6.1 innings. Just when Mike had found a reason to have some confidence, the Mets decided it would be a good idea to burst his bubble. “The truth hurts sometimes,” Pelfrey told Martino today.
Maybe some people would be motivated to work harder, and not be shaken, by the knowledge that their bosses don’t think highly of them — perhaps that’s what Fred Wilpon was thinking when he trashed David Wright and Jose Reyes — but Mike Pelfrey is not one of those people. When Pelf starts doubting himself, he falls apart.
It’s possible that this won’t have any impact on Pelfrey’s performance. There’s no way to know, and if he has another sub-par season, we’ll have every reason to believe it’s just ‘same old Pelf.’
Still, what he learned today can’t help. It would have been nice if, just this once, the anonymous sources could have kept their mouths shut.