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The Mets’ tradition of throwing players under the bus before trading them continues apace

jon niese getty

Last year the Mets didn’t want to bring Justin Turner back and they non-tendered him. They had the right to do so, of course. It says so right in the rules! There’s a thing that happens on certain teams, however, that somehow prevents them from merely parting ways with a player. Some teams, and the Mets are one of them, like to anonymously trash a player to reporters first.

So the Mets trashed Justin Turner to the press when he was non-tendered, telling Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that “Turner’s propensity for not running hard irked the front office, which had finally seen enough.” Turner, of course, joined the Dodgers where he hit .340/.404/.493 in 322 plate appearances while playing four different positions. We didn’t hear about his lack of hustle all year to my recollection.

They, of course, did this with R.A. Dickey, whose climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro was deemed “selfish,” and they did with Carlos Beltran like it was their job. They’re doing it again, this time with Jon Niese, who they are likely looking to trade. The story, as reported by the Daily News:

In the third inning of that Friday night home game against the Astros, after Ruben Tejada had drawn a walk, Collins signaled for his pitcher to bunt. With the corner infielders charging, however, Niese decided to swing away and flied out, thereby angering his manager.

According to players and coaches who were there, Collins jumped Niese as he came back to the dugout:

“What the f--- was that?’’ the manager demanded.

“They were coming down my throat so I tried to slash,” Niese said.

“Next time get the bunt down like we told you,” Collins continued.

“F--- you,” Niese said to Collins. “Take me out if you don’t like it.”

Is that interesting? Sure, on some level it is because we as fans like to gawk at things. But it’s also the case that exchanges like that happen a lot during the course of a long season. And that this particular exchange was not terribly notable. We know this because (a) it didn’t come up in the month and a half since it occurred; and (b) Collins himself tells the Daily News that he has no problem with Niese and that this particular exchange wasn’t a big deal. He actually takes some issue that it went down the way it was stated above, but his overall sense is “eh, it’s baseball and it’s not a big deal.”

But it’s out now, likely because Niese is a good candidate to be traded and someone in the Mets front office, for whatever reason, can’t seem to just let a player go without talking smack about him first.

Seems like a lovely place to work.