KINEWATA ISLAND â€“ With the on-going winter meetings taking place in Indianapolis, your intrepid West Coast Reporter wants nothing to do with the frigid heartland and instead went westâ€¦ All the way to the Polynesian Islands to speak with the renown trader and savvy businessman Johnny Lingo, to see what he would do to build a baseball winner. With gentle, warm island breezes ruffling the palm trees above, and cool sand beneath my feet, I found the modest tree house of the man who once had the foresight to trade an unprecedented eight whole cows for his wife Mahana, who turned out to be one smoking hottie.
He seemed reluctant to answer when I knocked on the door. â€œGo away!â€ he yelled, but Iâ€™d come too far to turn around now. â€œIâ€™m not interested!â€ he persisted, then cracked the door slightly. â€œYouâ€™re not from the Mormons, are you?â€ I insisted I was not, and he finally let me in. â€œThose guys wonâ€™t leave me alone.â€ I told him I was representing the Metsâ€¦ well, actually people associated with the Metsâ€¦ well actually, a fan site that happens to have many frustrated Met followers. Johnny Lingo shook his head sadly. â€œThat is a tough situation,â€ he said, â€œbut I will try to help.â€ We started going over the free agent class and other possible answers, and I got the Johnny Lingo assessment – a system, Iâ€™m sure, better than any scouting reports.
â€œRight now I think the Mets are worthâ€¦ 15 cows all together and 10 of those are for Johan Santana. They need corner outfield help, a new first baseman, could use a new catcher, another front line starter or two, and a good set-up man.â€ I threw out some names.
Outfield: â€œMatt Holiday is worth maybe four cows. That dropped ball against the Dodgers takes him down a cow, and he really stunk in Oakland, but this is the National League, so that adds a cow back, and frankly heâ€™d be an upgrade over what the Mets have out there now. Jason Bay may also work, but who can get excited about Jason Bay enough to part with cows?â€
Pitching: â€œIs now the time to go for Roy Halladay? I say yes, and pay eight cows for him. Itâ€™s a risk since heâ€™s not quite an eight cow pitcher anymore, but the Mets have to win now and this is a risk worth taking. Thereâ€™s talk of Brad Penny, but I would rather pay a cow or two for a Rich Harden and hope for the best. If I were the Mets, I would only pay three cows for John Lackey. He would be a good second starter, but to me he seems like a guy New York may turn into another Kenny Rogers.â€
Kenny Rogers: â€œWhat, heâ€™s retired? I would offer two chickens to entice him back.â€
Catcher: â€œAll free agent catchers are cows themselves, so I wouldnâ€™t offer anything for themâ€¦ except maybe a cow for Benjie Molina, to pit brother against brother in the Subway Series.â€
First Base: â€œDelgado is worth a three legged cow and a goat, so I would not re-sign him. I would pay 4 goats for Nick Johnson because he has a handsome mustache and he brings a nice OBP to complement Beltran, Wright, and Reyes – but he gets hurt a lot. The Mets have a lot of cows in the bank, but not many down on the farm, otherwise I would say pay seven or eight cows to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez. Great glove and big power, and nobody knows who he is. He could be like Texiera for them.â€
can this guy play second?
Second Base: â€œLuis Castillo is worth five chickens, because he sometimes catches the ball with chicken arms. Castillo had a good season but this could be the year the Mets get Orlando Hudson, I would pay three cows for him. Also interesting, if they canâ€™t trade for Gonzalez, I might take some of those cows and offer them to Florida for Uggla. He had a down year last year, but put him in the middle of a Mets line-up that reverts to form and that could be formidable.â€
Shortstop and Third Base: â€œThis is what I mean about hoping to revert to form, youâ€™re stuck with your cows hereâ€¦ hopefully this year they become cash cows.â€
Set Up Relief Pitchers: â€œMike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano? Might be worth a cow for the pair of them, just to scoff at Atlantaâ€™s getting Billy Wagner. Mike Lindstrom of the Marlins is getting some heat latelyâ€¦I would offer a couple of steaks for him.â€
Is that a rugby ball? Can she play right field?
At that point Mahana came in from patching one of the roofs, and began cooking a succulent pig in the ground out back, before she went out to chop down a suitable Christmas tree, then sat down at the computer and started posting responses to all her favorite sports sites. â€œI would like to see the Mets pay 20 cows this winter,â€ Johnny Lingo said as he stood up and walked me to the door. â€œIt is about the cows,â€ he continued, â€œif they pay 20 cows, then their fans will feel like 20 cow fans.â€ We laughed heartily. â€œI donâ€™t understand,â€ I said, but he only smiled thoughtfully as he waved farewell. â€œIt was the cows,â€ he repeated, and shut the door. I pondered these words as I walked back to my dugout canoe, and stepped in a cow patty.