Edgardo Alfonzo is my absolute favorite Met of all time. "Fonzie" was what everyone complains the Mets don't do: he was a guy the Mets signed, developed, and brought to the big leagues where he inevitably became an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, a should have been
Gold Glover, and a team anchor. His '99 and '00 seasons at second base were like something out of a fairy tale, and seasons we haven't seen around Shea since. The guy posted a .425
OBP one year! Over the course of a season!
Needless to say, there hasn't been a Met that's come close to that number since.
And Fonzie was ours
. He was a tremendous guy, a team-first player and completely unselfish. And he loved us! He really did! Even when the Mets gave him a lowball offer and publicly questioned his health, age and hitting ability, he still
took out ad space on the top of taxi cabs for a month, with the simple but poignant message: "FONZIE LOVES NEW YORK"
What a fella.
So, of course, when I read over at Gotham Baseball that there was a rumor floating around that the Mets may be looking into a Alfonzo deal
, my heart skipped a beat. Could it be true? Could the Lord be shining down upon me this day? Would I be able to get my Edgardo Alfonzo jersey (still the only
authentic jersey I own) out of the closet and look forward to that grand return? Would I get the chance that so few baseball fans ever get, to actually to see their favorite player don their old team's uni one more time?
I know Fonzie's not the same guy we all remember. His power is gone, his range is limited, and his numbers while wearing that always uncomfortable looking Giants uniform have been pretty average. He won't be hitting anywhere near 25+ HRs or 40+ doubles. And his slugging percentage will be sticking around the .400 range and not his old familiar .500.
That being said, Fonzie does
bring something to the table that the Mets have been desperately lacking -- the ability to get on base. No matter how much a player's power may disappear, the ability to get on base usually sticks around, and that's been the case for Alfonzo. This year he's hitting a very nice .312/.378/.412, something that would look just splendid
between Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. And let us not forget that it would get Cameron some at-bats in some situations where guys are on base more than thirty percent of the time.
The big question is whether or not he could handle second base. Last year he played five games there, and he looked pretty awful, commiting two errors for a not so nice .882 fielding percentage. Of course, five games is a small sample size, and that doesn't mean Fonzie would be that
horrific at second. It's still something to take into consideration, especially if that's where the Mets are looking to slot him (though those sure hands and decent range might make a solid first basemen).
For me, this has to come down to the prospects the Mets would be talking about. As much as I love Fonzie, this team just doesn't look like a "this year" team, and Edgardo would be a "this year" move. Next year and beyond is where Omar should be (and from all indications is
) looking, and while Alfonzo will no doubt one day make for a terrific "Rusty Staub Returns to the Mets in the Twilight of his Career"-esque story, if we're talking Yusi Petit in a deal, then just forget it. He'll be a free agent in two years, and the Mets can (and likely will) sign him on the cheap. But if the Mets could get a deal done for a Jae Seo or something along those lines, then by all means, I don't think anybody
would decline a return for the Great Alfonzo.
I'll admit that I'm more than biased about this situation, but I do feel as though Edgardo could help this ballclub out in the long run. Even as a platoon or bench player, he'd be of great use to this team. I'm all for making the deal.
Oh, and just for the record, Fonzie's numbers at Shea since leaving the team: .333/.407/.500 with two homeruns in 48 at-bats. Sounds like a Fonzie-of-Old season to me