If you’re a Mets fan and you frequent Twitter, then the name Greg Pomes should be all too familiar. With coined hashtags such as “#beltranissoft,” “#beltranisselfish,” “#firesandyalderson,” “#fireterrycollins,” and many more in that vein, Pomes has championed playing an oddly straight Devil’s advocate on all Mets topics. His insistence on maligning Carlos Beltran as “soft” and “selfish,” as well as suggesting highly-respected General Manager Sandy Alderson has a stat-driven vendetta against the Mets, are his most incessant and argument-inciting remarks.
After having a variety of back-and-forth Twitter battles, I felt it was only right to escape the 140-character arena, and present thoroughly worded and factually supported questions in an attempt to get similarly thought-out responses. Without further ado, here is the interview with Greg Pomes.
Question 1: What were your sentiments about Carlos Beltran before he signed with the Mets? How about his tenure with the Mets before he suffered a knee injury?
Before answering either question, please consider the following:
Beltran averaged a .288/.365/.521 line with 29 HR, 102 RBI, 111 R, and 37 SB per season from 2001 to 2004, and a .275/.362/.505 line with 29 HR, 104 RBI, 105 R, and 21 SB from 2005 to 2008 with the Mets. This includes his 2006 campaign, where he posted a .275/.388/.594 line with 41 HR, 116 RBI, 127 R, and 18 SB, finished fourth in the MVP vote, and undoubtedly helped the Mets win the division for the first time since 1988. In all his seasons, he was also a top defensive centerfielder. Despite insisting Beltran is “soft,” he averaged 665 PA’s from 2001 to 2008.
POMES: [I] didn’t know much of Carlos Beltran before his contract year post season with the Astros. I didn’t like the contract [the Mets gave him], [as] I felt and obviously I was right for feeling that he had a good post season in a contract year but is a good but [not] great player.
He padded his stats, helped himself out but when it mattered most he couldn’t come through. Let’s not forget 2005 he had knee problems and made a big deal out of coming back from the collision.
Question 2: According to ESPN, the following are the facts of the Beltran/knee operation saga:
-Mets doctors–as well as Beltran’s outside doctor–only claimed he did not need surgery in the Summer of 2009–not in late-2009 when he actually had the surgery.
-These doctors acknowledged Beltran’s symptoms worsened and became more severe post-Beltran’s late-season return in 2009. Beltran and his agent went to the Mets with this information and were rebuffed.
-Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek and Mets trainer Ray Ramirez gave their full consent to Dr. Richard Steadman, the doctor who operated on Beltran’s knee, to go ahead with the operation.
The above facts illustrate how the Mets medical staff acknowledged Beltran’s worsened condition and supported his having surgery to correct his condition. Given that, why do you think Mets management did not want him to have the surgery?
POMES: They were looking to void his contract were they not if something went wrong with his surgery? Why? Because he did not have permission. Omar Minaya tried to save face and help out a guy he signed.
Question 3: Do you feel that a player should continue to play injured, despite it leading to either a spiral into mediocrity or even a premature end to a career (i.e. John Maine)? Does playing hurt and at a far reduced level of production help a team more than fully recovering?
POMES: If the doctors feel that player can play then they should be out on the field. They’re paid a lot of money, athletes always play through pain. Beltran for example gets a bruise he sits out.
Question 4: List the free agents you would have liked the Mets to sign in this past off-season. Knowing that one of your main sources of discontent with Alderson was his supposed failure to sign Cliff Lee, did you really think it was possible? Please cite sources as proof if you can.
POMES: Cliff Lee knew how to play the game, he wasn’t going to come out and say I want one team over the other. His agents wouldn’t allow that. Lee turned down big money, yes but those were to AL teams, everyone knows the NL is an easier league, of course Lee would prefer an easier league. Phillies made the only real offer to Lee. Alderson was too busy hanging out with his moneyball friends.
Question 5: According to an article on December 17, 2009 in the Seattle PI, Cliff Lee had the following reaction about being traded from the Phillies to the Mariners:
“At first I didn’t believe it because I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my career there. I loved my time there in Philly, but obviously this goes to show this is a business and you never know what’s going to happen until you have a full no-trade clause.”
Based on this direct quote from Lee, do you still believe any team besides the Phillies (including the Mets) actually had a chance at signing him?
POMES: He knew he was a free agent to be, didn’t want to burn any bridges. Good way to get the fans on his side too.
Question 6: If you believe the Wilpons/Mets do not have financial problems, why would a) they hire a notoriously thrifty general manager and b) sell-off a sizable chunk of the team for less than the franchise’s value, and contractually put themselves in a minority stake situation in the near future?
a) People misrepresent themselves all the time in job interviews. While I don’t believe for a second the Wilpons are in financial trouble they don’t have a great track record of hiring executives for example Phillips, Omar and now Sandy Alderson. Also don’t forget Selig recommended Alderson.
b) many teams have partners, they wanted to infuse more money into their product for their fans. They know they will be able to pay back Einhorn so it was not a gamble.
Question 7: Have any of Sandy Alderson’s pre-season additions been worthy of praise?
POMES: None, the team is 11 games out of 1st as of this interview, obviously they aren’t helping to win enough ballgames for this team.
Question 8: Did you know that Alderson signed Pedro Beato, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, Chris Capuano, and Chris Young for less than he could have re-signed Pedro Feliciano for? (source)
POMES: Beato is a new pitcher, the book isn’t out on him and pitchers have had success their first seasons. Byrdak has not been good enough for a New York team. Isringhausen [and] Capuano are one pitch away from going under the knife. Chris Young was an injury waiting to happen and Feliciano was hurt thanks to Joe Girardi and his mishandling of pitchers.
Question 9: Which current Mets player(s) would you trade at the deadline, where to, and who would you like in return?
POMES: I would trade Beltran, dump his salary, Giants, Boston, Yankees it doesn’t matter get him out of here.
Question 10: Which upcoming free-agent(s) would you like the Mets to sign in the off-season?
–Jose Reyes: One of the best players in franchise history, the fact that Alderson didn’t event try to get him an extension in the off season is all the proof I need that he’s a bad GM.
–C.C. Sabathia if he opts out. Mets missed out thanks to Alderson on Lee cannot miss out on another great pitcher who we know can handle New York if he’s available.
–Prince Fielder or Albert Pujous if CC doesn’t opt out or when Alderson loses out on CC. Either trade Ike for some starting pitching or move him to RF.
–Heath Bell: Great closer, great team guy, has something to prove in New York.
Question 11: Who would you replace Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson with and why specifically?
-Rich Haun as GM. A good baseball guy who doesn’t use only ridiculous sabermetrics to run a team.
-Bobby Valentine: Look what he did with the 99 and 2000 New York Mets but of course Alderson’s ego could not take hiring a manager who would make more money than him. If not Valentine than Wally Backman. Collins had his chance and failed each time as a manager, Backman up until this year has been a great minor league manager and deserved a shot.