In completely unrelated news, this year has been a good one for bad baseball. Entering play yesterday, six teams had winning percentages under .425, the most since 2004 (7), and nine teams had winning percentages under .450, again the most since 2004 (11).
The Nationals, despite a fairly recent eight game winning streak, are playing baseball that has bordered on historically bad. Their winning percentage entering yesterday would be the worst since the 2005 Royals. They've also endured botching the firing of their manager, as well as the resignations of their General Manager and his top assistant as a result of an illegal scheme skimming Latin American signing bonuses.
The Pirates are 12 losses away from ensuring their 17th consecutive losing season. Currently in year 10 of a 5 year rebuilding program, they've traded every saleable arbitration eligible player on their roster with the exception of Zach Duke and Ryan Doumit.
But with all the bad baseball going, no two teams have hit the trifecta of poor on field play, incompetent front office management, and public relations disasters quite like the Royals and Mets.
We've already had a little fun at both their expense when they both pulled off poor trades within hours of each other last month. This week they decided to go head-to-head in the public relations arena.
On Tuesday, the Royals optioned Alex Gordon to AAA Omaha. The second overall pick in the 2005 draft, Gordon made his Major League debut after breaking camp with Royals to start the 2007. Earlier this season, Gordon required the same labrum repair surgery that A-Rod had during spring training. He suffered the injury against the Yankees on April 11th, played through April 15th, and underwent surgery on April 17th. He began a rehab assignment in early July, but rather than taking the full 30 days, the Royals activated him after just 13 games and 53 plate appearances. In the month after his activation until his demotion, Gordon hit just .227/.310/.333. Maybe he could have used the full rehab assignment after all.
Where the impropriety comes in is in that by optioning him down for at least 20 days, the Royals ensure that Gordon will end the season without three full years of Major League service time, pushing his free agency clock back a year. While this isn't all that different from what Tampa has done with Mrs. Tony Parker and David Price or what Baltimore has done with Matt Wieters, all in an effort to keep them from Super Two arbitration status, Gordon's case seems somewhat seedier in that it's happening after he's been established as a Major Leaguer rather than before he was ever brought up.
It may well be a smart move by Dayton Moore and the Royals. But, they were the ones who decided to break camp with Gordon in 2007 after he had just one year and 576 PA of AA ball. They started this clock when they did. While Gordon certainly has struggled this season, the Royals elected to activate him after only half of his allowable rehab time expired. They made these decisions; they have to deal with the criticism that comes with this latest one.
Meanwhile, over in Flushing, the circus continues. In the wake of David Wright's sickening beaning Saturday, the Atlanta Braves just happened to be coming into town. As you may recall, the Braves are the team to which the Mets traded Ryan Church last month. As you may further recall, Ryan Church had a couple nasty concussions last year that the Mets medical staff handled very, very poorly. You may also recall that Jerry Manuel facking hates Ryan Church. Hmmm. I wonder what possibly could have happened next?
When giving his pre-game press conference Sunday, less the 24 hours after Wright has hit, and so soon after Wright was discharged from the hospital that he likely hadn't yet cut the bracelet from his wrist, Manuel had this to say (h/t Neyer):
You have to be careful into stereotyping individuals. David is a different animal, so to speak. How he is made up is a little different than, say, Ryan Church, in my opinion. That's not to say that one is better than the other, but they're different. With Ryan, there was always something thrown from leftfield - 'We need to check that.' That made it somewhat difficult to evaluate that particular situation.
Translation from jive talk: David Wright's a tough guy; Ryan Church is a pussy.
Let's back up the train a second here Jerry. Just because you elicit memories of the "Doctor of Style" Slick, doesn't mean that you are a doctor of neurology. Church, of course, knows this, and took exception. What a mess the Mets are. Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and now Daid Wright - their four best offensive players - are on all the DL and all likely out for the year. Meanwhile, the men in high profile leadership roles: Manuel, Omar Minaya, and until recently Tony Bernazard, continue to heap insult on top of the injuries.
So I suppose I could have had a worse week. I mean, I got it better than Moore or Manuel. And I haven't been concussed as badly as Church or Wright. Plus we have Yanks-Sox to look forward to tonight. Either way, I'll still feel a helluva lot better when that five o'clock whistle blows.