In an article that draws the reader in by talking about why the Mets might trade Daniel Murphy (he’s apparently too aggressive for the current offensive philosophy), Andy Martino of the Daily News writes – drawing from both conversations he’s had and his own opinion – that the Mets are/should be looking to bring in “nice” players.
Martino isn’t referring to “nice” players talent wise. He’s referring to players who are pleasant to be around. Writes Martino:
In Sandy Alderson’s previous three offseasons, the GM was shackled by budget constraints, and forced to choose from an undesirable pile of free agents. In many cases, he did not choose well, signing guys who brought a sour vibe into the clubhouse, in some cases creating more trouble than was justified by their limited contributions. It began with catcher Ronny Paulino and reliever D.J. Carrasco in 2011; the former was uninterested in following game plans, and the latter drove the coaching staff crazy with frequent whining about his usage. Subsequent years brought Jon Rauch’s unrelenting surliness and Frank Francisco’s unwillingness to pitch, along with attempts to dissuade youngsters from doing so.
Shaun Marcum was, well, not charming, and while Marlon Byrd arrived with a questionable reputation, he was generally a pleasant surprise in the clubhouse — save for what many Mets people saw as his overcoaching of teammates. It is that latter point that the Mets want to address, in addition to bringing in more pleasant people.
There’s a distinction that needs to be made here.
Above, Martino is referring to players who were surly, meddled/interfered with other players, and created disturbances in the clubhouse/for management. He’s also referring to players who were jackasses, but didn’t do anything detrimental aside from acting like their regular self (a jackass) on a daily basis.
I hate to bring this up, since it’s brought up so often (and because I was two years old during the season), but the 1986 Mets are a prime example of why you don’t go out of your way to build a team full of “pleasant people.” The focus should be on talent and need, not how often a player smiles, how late he stays out, or how accommodating he is with the media.
If it turns out that the players you view as the best fit for the club all turn out to be “nice” or “pleasant,” so be it. However, going out of your way to only bring in players who are “nice” or “pleasant” would be both hysterical and ridiculous. And one would have to assume that Sandy Alderson agrees with the sentiment that it would be ridiculous.
If a player isn’t generally “pleasant” but doesn’t cause any problems in the clubhouse, the only thing that should matter is what he does on the field. To build on that, if a player (whose on field production and readiness isn’t in question) has odd habits, enjoys partying, and/or exhibits any other traits that may make him “not nice,” who cares?
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by guessing there isn’t an organization wide “bring nice players in” edict in place. The Mets (or any other team) operating based on what Martino is alluding to would be insane.