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The Mets front office is, apparently, “The Cabinet of Stupid”

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I don’t care much for the Mets and it’s not altogether unpleasant, as a fan of another NL East team, to see them struggle. So it’s a pretty extreme set of circumstances to make me actually want to defend them. I feel inspired to that this morning, however.

The inspiration? Mike Vaccaro’s column about them in the Post today. In it he goes beyond merely detailing the Mets’ lousy road trip and decides to call the Mets’ front office “The Cabinet of Stupid” several times:

Here’s the thing, though: The Mets do have just enough starting pitching to keep themselves in a lot of games. They have just enough professionals who seem to relish the underdog challenge that this big-market overdog needlessly inflicts on them. And they were 15-11 at the start of May. Easy to root for, despite their flaws. Easier to feel good about.

Except the Cabinet of Stupid couldn’t leave that alone, so it famously dispatched the Loyalty Oath letter, and followed that up with another, and another, and still can’t believe why anybody thought it was a bad idea. Honestly, there’s no correlation between the Oath and the fact that the team has gone 1-6 since hitting the “send” button.

Unless you believe in karma.

Obviously anything the Mets front office has done or not done is open for criticism and, boy, there has been a lot to criticize over the past few years.  But focusing on the 2014 team and that loyalty letter thing seems pretty odd. Yes, the current Mets brain trust got them where they were the past few years, but the team is clearly better now than it has been, the moves they have made in the past year or so have all been pretty defensible and as I’ve said, that stuff about the loyalty letter thing seems comically overblown. It’s an OK team that is struggling but it’s not some comedy of errors like it’s being portrayed here. This all seems like autopilot LOL METS stuff, detached from reality and designed to play into the lazy preconceptions of a certain swath of Mets fans.

But mostly I’m irked by this because a guy who is paid to write — and who, in the past, has shown no small amount of wit — can’t do any better than “Cabinet of Stupid.” That’s, like, fifth grade insult material. You work for the Post for cryin’ out loud. The paper that gave us the all-time best headline ever with “Headless body in topless bar.” You can lodge all the overheated insults you want at the Mets because you have a job to do, but you HAVE to bring better game than that, man.

Chapman has trouble remembering convo with Cubs management about off-field behavior

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CHICAGO — Star closer Aroldis Chapman joined the Cubs on Tuesday, arriving to a mixed reaction in Chicago and saying he couldn’t remember what management told him about off-field expectations and behavior.

After Chapman’s awkward introductory news conference, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein insisted Chapman understands what the Cubs expect of him after an offseason domestic violence incident.

When the Cubs announced the trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, the team released a statement from Chairman Tom Ricketts saying they were aware of his 29-game suspension to begin the season under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

Ricketts said he and Epstein talked by phone with Chapman before the deal was completed and “shared with him the high expectations we set for our players,” adding that Chapman was “comfortable” with them.

But when asked repeatedly about that phone conversation before Tuesday’s game against the crosstown White Sox, Chapman said through an interpreter that he couldn’t recall details because he was taking a nap at the time the call came in.

The question was asked several more times. A Cubs spokesman once asked the question himself to the interpreter, coach Henry Blanco.

“It’s been a long day,” Chapman said. “Trying to remember.”

Asked again several minutes later during the group interview if he could now remember what Ricketts said, Chapman shook his head.

“I still don’t remember,” he said in Spanish.

Epstein called it a misunderstanding and that Chapman was “pretty nervous” as he faced seven cameras and more than two dozen reporters.

“I was on the call, Tom was on the call, Aroldis was on the call and Barry Praver, his agent, was on the call. It happened and it was real,” Epstein said before the Cubs’ 3-0 loss to the White Sox.

Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing eight gunshots in the garage of a Florida home in October. The woman later changed her story and no charges were filed.

“You learn from the mistakes that you make,” Chapman said.

The case caused the Los Angeles Dodgers to back out of an offseason trade for Chapman. Cincinnati eventually traded him to the Yankees, and after his suspension, the 28-year-old Cuban converted 20 of 21 save chances for New York.

The Cubs have long boasted of stocking their roster with high-character players, helping earn the “lovable losers” label they’ve carried for decades since their last World Series title in 1908.

But the Cubs (59-40) have retooled their roster under Epstein and have the best record in the major leagues despite Tuesday’s loss in which Chapman didn’t pitch. Chapman, who threw a 105 mph fastball last week, fills perhaps the team’s largest hole as he replaces Hector Rondon as closer.

The Cubs sent four players to the Yankees, including shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres, to get one of the game’s top relievers. Epstein said they wouldn’t have made the deal if not for the phone call he and Ricketts had with Chapman.

“Tom laid out the exact same standards that he lays out to everyone in spring training,” Epstein said. “He said, extremely clearly, `Look, Aroldis, I tell all the players this in spring training and it’s important you hear it and I need to hear from you on this. We expect our players to behave. We hold our players to a very high standard for their behavior off the field. And we need to know you can meet that standard.’

“Aroldis said `I understand. Absolutely, I can.'”

The Cubs activated Chapman before Tuesday’s game and designated left-hander Clayton Richard for assignment.

Reaction to Chapman’s acquisition in Chicago has been tepid. While there were supportive fans on talk radio, the Chicago Tribune carried a front-page column Tuesday criticizing the move. The back of the Chicago Sun-Times tabloid read “Spin City” over a picture of Epstein.

Chapman said he expected a “good reaction” from Cubs fans. He was also asked during the 20-minute meeting with reporters in the visiting dugout at U.S. Cellular Field if we would consider working with organizations looking to prevent domestic violence. Chapman said no.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon defended Chapman.

“He did do a suspension, he has talked about it, he’s shown remorse,” Maddon said. “Everybody else has the right to judge him as a good or bad person. That’s your right.

I want to get to know Aroldis. I think he could be a very significant member and he’s got the potential, yes, to throw the last out of the World Series. And if he does, I promise you I will embrace him.”

Report: Padres working on trading Andrew Cashner

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Starter Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Padres are working to trade starter Andrew Cashner. He notes that a deal may be consummated before he takes the hill for Tuesday’s start in Toronto against the Blue Jays. The Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers have had reported interest in Cashner.

Cashner is 4-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 61/27 K/BB ratio in 73 1/3 innings. He missed over three weeks between June 11 and July 2 due to a strained neck.

The right-hander is earning $9.625 million this season and will be eligible for free agency after the season.