The Mets' "cynical ploy"

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On Wednesday, I waxed cynical on the Mets’ reported interest in big fish like Jason Bay:

Here’s a theory
of my own: if the Mets are suddenly thinking bigger, it’s because the
Yankees have been going hog wild (relatively speaking) this week, and
they don’t want to get blown the hell off the back pages of the
tabloids.

Today The Post’s Joel Sherman echoes the sentiment:

Ticket sales are lagging and fans are screaming for the Mets to make a meaningful acquisition. And, poof, they suddenly were acknowledging making an offer yesterday to Jason Bay.

So was this merely a ploy to change the subject or was this a clear change of course this offseason?

I mostly went with my gut In coming to that conclusion. Sherman’s evidence: the fact that the “offer” the Mets reportedly made to Jason Bay was surprisingly similar to one that everyone knows he rejected from the Red Sox, with the thinking being that it was offered precisely because they knew he’d reject it. Sherman goes on to call it a “cynical ploy.” I think Sherman has a good point.

The Yankees have a plan. The Red Sox have a plan. Lots of other teams have a plan. The Mets seem to lurch from idea to idea with no coherent strategy in place. Sure-loser offers to players in whom they had not previously shown an interest is evidence of that.  To date, I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary.

Kyle Schwarber: Before and After

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It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear  a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.

Which brings us to Kyle Schwarber. All offseason long we’ve been getting reports about Schwarber working out, losing weight and, of course, getting into The Best Shape of His Life. And some of those pics have definitely shown a young man who has cut fat and gotten lean. Good for him!

Let’s see how that translates to Schwarber in uniform. Here is is at spring training last year:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

Here he is toward the end of last season:

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 09: at Wrigley Field on September 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

And here he is now:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Nice goin’, kid.