Beware of the Heat from the Hot Stove


Rumors are either true or false, baseless or full of merit.  Most turn out to be nonsense, while a slither of them come to be.  They come from everywhere, at any given moment, and either linger for long amounts of time or go away as quickly as they came.  We’ve reached the hot stove season.  And with the rise of Twitter and other forms of social media, the hot stove is a lot more intense than it used to be.

As far as the Mets are concerned, the rumors are starting to get a bit out of control.  The statements we’re hearing (whether they turn out to hold water or not), are likely being planted intentionally by the parties involved in an attempt to gain some type of advantage -whether it’s an agent trying to drive the price of their player up, a General Manager trying to drive it down, as a precursor to  a game of chicken, or to gauge interest around the league for certain players.  That sentence alone should be enough to convince people to take a random rumor with a grain of salt.  Instead, everything that’s uttered (positive or negative) seems to cause most Mets fans to run around screaming as if they’re on magic mushrooms and on fire at the same time.  If it’s something that’s corroborated by all of the parties involved (for example, David Wright, his agents, and Sandy Alderson all say negotiations are ongoing), it graduates from rumor to fact (unless you feel everyone is lying).  Everything else is mainly garbage.

Now, David Wright is either staying or he’s not.  R.A. Dickey is either staying or he’s not.  I’m quite certain that Matt Harvey won’t get traded, but no one should ever be off limits.  It’s been reported recently that both Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy will not be traded by the Mets this winter.  Should we believe that?  Maybe, maybe not.  Perhaps the Mets planted those stories to see which clubs would call for confirmation that neither player would be moved.  Maybe these stories are out there to offer Davis and Murphy reassurance.  Maybe Murphy and Davis are both on the block, but Sandy Alderson doesn’t want other clubs to know because it would hurt his negotiating power when attempting to consummate other deals.

August 22, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson (second from left) speaks about pitcher Johan Santana (not pictured) during a press conference before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Sometimes, writers have tremendous sources and are able to nail a story.  More often, they grasp at straws and nail nothing.  For example, in the winter of 2008, nearly every member of the mainstream media (both national and local) stated unequivocally that the Mets didn’t possess the prospects it took to acquire Johan Santana.  How’d that work out?  The point, is that anything can happen.  Deals come out of nowhere, and deals fall apart at the last minute after we’ve been assured that they’re final.  Sometimes, all it takes is common sense in order to ascertain what will happen with a certain player each winter.  In the Mets’ case this winter, the players whose fates the fans are most interested in are Wright and Dickey.

Both players had their options for 2013 picked up by the club.  It’s been reported by nearly every local and national writer that the Mets and Wright have mutual interest in getting a deal done, and that they’re not that far apart in years and dollars.  The conventional wisdom, then, would be that Wright and the Mets will eventually come to an agreement.  This wisdom comes from not only the reports, but the fact that Wright has stated over and over that it’s his desire to finish what he started with the Mets.  It also comes directly from Sandy Alderson, who stated a few days ago that he visited Wright at his home in Virginia, and that negotiations were ongoing.

R.A. Dickey is a different story.  It’s been reported that Dickey and the Mets are miles apart as far as what each believes to be a fair deal.  The rumblings are that Dickey is seeking a five year extension, while the Mets are only comfortable extending his contract two years.  There has been recent talk, stemming from the aforementioned sentence, that the Mets would soon look to trade Dickey.  Now, let’s apply some common sense to the situation:  It’s been reported that he wants five years (which was likely planted by his representatives), and that the Mets will only offer two years (which was likely planted by the Mets).  I think Dickey’s representatives realize it’s unlikely for Dickey to command five years guaranteed at the money he’s seeking if he hits the open market.  Dickey himself has also stated that he “loves the fanbase” and that his family “loves it” in New York.  He wants to stay, which means there should be room for compromise.  Perhaps the Mets are attempting to call Dickey’s bluff by hinting they’ll trade him.  The Mets may be using it as a ploy in an effort to eventually find common ground, or they could be genuinely considering dealing Dickey.  However, information is leaked for a reason.  If you take leaks at face value without stopping to consider the motives behind them, you’re doing yourself a disservice – and will likely go insane before the offseason is over.

A prime example of a baseless rumor that can lead to maniacal behavior is one that Michael Salfino (a freelancer) stated about a day ago.  In tweets that have since been deleted, that were part of a story he has since sprinted and hidden from, Salfino claimed that the Mets wouldn’t be able to sign either David Wright or R.A. Dickey to an extension, due to the fact that the Wilpon’s were broke and would be “losing the team” within two years.  Instead of using common sense, most fans freaked out.  If these fans had taken the time to read between the lines, they would’ve realized that Salfino wasn’t a reputable reporter.  Then, they would’ve come to the conclusion that in order for Salfino’s statement (no extensions for Wright or Dickey, Wilpon’s losing the team) to be true, the following would’ve also had to be true:   David Wright and his representatives, R.A. Dickey and his representatives, Sandy Alderson, Jeff Wilpon, and others were colluding in a grand charade in order to pretend the Mets were interested in signing those players to extensions.  I guess one could claim Wilpon would engage in something like that.  But Dickey?  Wright?   Their representatives?  All lying?  It just didn’t add up.  And when the Wall Street Journal called Salfino out on his nonsense, he receded into the night.

So…enjoy the hot stove, but take a step back and use reasoning skills and common sense when attempting to determine fact from fiction, believable from unbelievable.  If not, you’ll lose your mind before January.