It’s that time of year again! Time when the rumor mills heat up and spread like wildfire, fueling the interest of baseball fans everywhere. For the next 5 weeks, you will become familiar with names like Burhle, Willis, Oswalt, Gagne, Lidge, Dunn and Dye. Their names will be linked to any number of deals, many of them rarely coming to fruition.
And that’s exactly what makes this time of year so much fun. We love having those imaginative, hypothetical discussions about new players coming to our favorite team. Just last week, Dave (Mets Lifer contributor) and I were talking about the Mets getting Ichiro from Seattle. Imagine…Reyes and Ichiro hitting 1-2 in the lineup. Are you kidding me?
Even in cities like Cincinatti, where the Reds are sinking into oblivion, fans are anxious to see if trades involving Griffey and Dunn just might inject new hope to a struggling franchise. Read the email below from a Reds fan in Cincinatti, sent to us by a Mets Lifer. It’s a little long but the passion is priceless and Mets Lifers can certainly relate.
…watching ESPN news was on the tv in the corner with no volume. They kept showing a highlight film of Griffey and underneath the scroll said “Griffey to Cubs?” with the question mark bolded.
What a dream it would be to dump him and his salary. He and Sweet Lou would have a quick love fest there and Wrigley will sell out all summer. Then Junior will pull a muscle when tying his cleats and that will be the end. I’m being too harsh on him, but he’s not a leader. He’s a follower and when you’re in a small market like this and making that much $$, you need to buck up and become the franchise and the role model for the rookies and youngsters. For being one of the greatest ever, he didn’t take command of the clubhouse when he arrived here in 2000 and he never has since. He’s like a little school boy and it never resonated with him that when you do 20 commercials and are called one of the 50 best ever, you have to take everything to the next level including stretching and lifting during the off season.
That’s why even with all Pete’s off field problems, this has always been a Pete Rose town. He would be mayor today if he announced today that he was going to run. He had a simple model--Bust it 100% with hard slides and diving for balls, tell the press that you love the game and you love the organization, get it out there so we can read that on every road trip he tells the youngsters how to act on and off the field, and make it be known that everything you do is to make sure 25 of your teammates are wearing a championship ring within a few years. That’s all he did and this town ate it up. I’m not even sure it was all genuine but he was the only advertising piece the Reds had to use for 20 years. Griffey is 11 months younger than I am, so he grew up with the Big Red Machine just as I did. That’s why I’ve had such a problem with him. He saw this, yet did none of it.
Think that fan wants Griffey out of Cincy? I remember not too long ago, the Mets almost had Junior. If he had accepted the trade, Seattle would have gotten Armando Benitez and Roger Cedeno (true story) in return, but Griffey didn’t want to play in New York and so the deal was nixed.
Some rumors do indeed work out. I remember when Piazza was available from Florida and everyone started to think the Mets were prime candidates to land him. And everyone knew how big this was, what this would do for the team, the organization. But the Mets’ brass, clueless as they were at that time, seemed disinterested. And as Mets Lifers, we just knew it was too good to be true and all we could do was imagine…OR…flood the phone lines at WFAN and literally beg Wilpon and Phillips to get him. Miraculously, it worked. That trade will go down as one of the most important deals in team history, if not the most important. Piazza single-handedly brought this franchise back from the abyss.
If you have a favorite trade rumor post your feedback here. For now, I’m going with Ichiro in right field, batting behind Reyes. He is a free agent at the end of the year and just might be available.