I'm a sucker for What If/Alternate History questions. I've read books on how things might have gone had JFK not been assassinated in 1963 and articles speculating about what might have been had one of the 40+ Hitler assassination attempts been successful.
Besides for those I have wondered what would have transpired had Horace Stoneham not been bamboozled into taking his Giants out to San Francisco when the Dodgers left Brooklyn after the 1957 season. In that scenario my Giants would have had the city to itself NL-wise and mercifully there might have never been a team called the Mets. Maybe it would be the Giants players cursing out CitiField and its unreachable fences.
And, of course, there is the great imponderable of what would have happened on THE GOOD WIFE had Will Gardner not been shot dead. It's no wonder that I have trouble sleeping.
Anyway. I started thinking a few days ago about what would happen if the Mets didn't have Ruben Tejada and our peerless GM, Sandy Alderson, was offered the player. Here's the phone call that I foresee.
Picture it about 9am on a weekday when Sandy's cellphone rings. It is a GM of another team.
GM: Hi Sandy. I tried to reach you at the office but they told me you won't be in until the afternoon. Hope I didn't reach you at a bad time. Can you talk?
SA: I've got a little time. JP, Paul, and I are at my club. We have a tee time in about 20 minutes so we can schmooze a bit.
GM: Wow. I wish I could get out for some midweek golf. How do you do it and who's minding the store if you have your top assistants with you there?
SA: Ah. We leave Horwitz back there in case the bloggers get in a snit over something like the loyalty oath or season ticketters try again to get their monies refunded. And truth is, when you build a repeating 75 win team it kind of runs itself. It's not like I have a pennant contender here like you do there.
GM: Sandy, I know you've been having all sorts of trouble finding a shortstop. You went with that Quintanilla nonsense for a while and now you're giving Wilmer Flores a shot. I admit the youngster can hit a bit but jeez-louise he's got the range there that Duda had in leftfield. You can't seriously think he's your long term answer.
SA: Hey, I know it's not ideal but we're giving it a shot. Do you have something better for me?
GM: I might. You know we have that 20 year old kid playing in the PCL and he's just tearing it up. We want to bring him up and give him our shortstop job. It's late enough into the season so we won't get messed up with that Super 2 issue. I'm wondering if you might like to trade for the guy whose job he'd be taking.
SA: And who might that be?
GM: Ruben Tejada
SA: Hmmm. Tejada, Tejada. The name is familiar but I'm away from my computer and scouting reports. Why don't you tell me about him and we'll see if there's interest.
GM: What do you want to know?
SA: I'll ask first what Jeff and Fred will ask me. How much does he make?
GM: He's at 1.1 this year.
SA: Ah, they like it better at less than a mill but I guess I could sell them on that if everything else is good. What else?
GM: He's a young guy - won't be 25 til October. And a couple of years ago in 2012 he hit .289 for us in about 500 plate appearances.
SA: That's encouraging stuff. But what about last year and this year.
GM: Well, it's been a rough go recently. Last year he only hit .202 for us and this year he's below Mendoza at .182. But it's early, right?
SA: And the OPS?
GM: You won't like it. Last year and this year it is the same, 519.
SA: Yikes, that's awful. That's got to be the worst in baseball. You're losing me here. Tell me about the defense. After all we're talking about a shortstop here.
GM: Honestly he's kind of average with the glove. Does a good job going up the middle to the gloveside but has always had some issues in the hole. But you have David over at third and I suppose he can cover for some of that.
SA: Speed, power?
GM: Frankly the kid can't run a lick. Maybe he'd beat Flores in a foot race but, hell, I'm 57 and probably could beat the two of them. And he'll never reach your fences at Citi. If he gets stronger maybe he'll develop warning track power.
SA: Well, he's young. Maybe we can develop him. How's he take coaching and does he put in the extra work?
GM: I can't lie to you, Sandy, he has to be prodded to do the extra stuff. Really not a great worker. But maybe a change of scenery will change all that.
SA: So let's review. We've got a young kid who is just OK with the glove, can't run, hasn't hit in a couple of years, has no power, and doesn't work particularly hard at his craft.
GM: We'd only be looking for like a grade B prospect for him.....
SA: You know what? I don't think what you're trying to move is actually a major league player. Got to take a pass on him. But listen - do you have any relief pitching you can spare?
Larry writes a humor column for us at The Real Dirty Mets Blog once or more per week. You can follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@dr4sight
There he comments on the teams that drive him crazy: the Mets, both NY football teams, the NY Rangers, and the Knicks.