We linked that Mets “fan letter” or “loyalty oath” or whatever that thing was yesterday. And, as we said yesterday, it may be a bit weird as far as these things go — teams don’t often pen open letters to their fans like that — but it’s really no different than any other sort of fan outreach, marketing or what have you. The Red Sox have convinced their fans they’re part of a Great Nation. The Yankees have crafted this grand fiction of a “Yankees Universe” in which class and history and nobility exist in the Bronx unlike they exist anyplace else. If you examine the stuff that led to those now-accepted tropes, they’d look kinda silly too.
But the Mets’ effort has sparked a pretty big backlash. The biggest I’ve seen comes from Mike Vaccaro in the Post who calls it “clueless” and “insulting” and calls the Mets “dense” for even bothering. He says it’s an “affront” to real fans. It’s quite a screed.
It just feels like a Mets pile-on to me. For years the Mets have done dumb things and that has led to a lot of “Dumb Mets!” or, in the parlance of Twitter “LOLMETS!” commentary. But it’s gotten to the point where people autopilot to that without, I think, actually trying to figure out if the thing they’re mocking is really all that mockworthy.
I don’t think this letter is. I don’t think it’s some masterstroke in public relations, but it’s no worse than what a lot of other teams do. Why it is creating such a furor among some I have no idea.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.