A few weeks ago I wrote a column for SI.com comparing the Mets’ recent signing of Jason Bay to that of the 1982 addition of George Foster. Both were high-priced free agent outfielders, both were in their early 30s, both came with much hype and both (if I’m right about Bay, ’10) floundered.
Many people agreed, many took issue. Today, while working at Starbucks, my pal Rob nodded at the Foster comparison, but then made an observation of his own. “To me,” he said, “it’s more like Kevin McReynolds.”
I’ve gotta sayâ€”I agree.
The Mets added McReynolds after the 1986 season, acquiring him from San Diego for a package that included Kevin Mitchell, Stanley Jefferson and Shawn Abner. At the time, McReynolds looked to be a great additionâ€”he could hit for power, steal a few bases, play a smooth left field. New York’s GM, a good man named Frank Cashen, thought he would bring stability to a crazed clubhouse. Yet there was one thing missing from the man; something ballplayers in New York are encouraged to have: Spunk.
McReynolds, like Bay, was a flatliner ballplayer. Great numbers, solid effort, little spark; little oomph. When you pay the sort of money the Mets are giving Bay (and gave McReynolds), you want the complete and total package. But McReynoldsâ€”like Bayâ€”inspired nobody. He was a good, solid guy who really wasn’t meant for New York.
Perhaps I’m wrongâ€”but it smells awfully familiar.