The Mets might lose an ace today. Eight years ago, they added one on this date by coming to terms with Pedro Martinez on a four year, $56 million contract. The signing made a liar out of Pedro's former teammate David Ortiz, who told the Boston Herald, "He ain't going to no Mets." Big Papi's disparagement aside, New York was only team willing to give Martinez a fourth year, which proved to be deciding factor in making him a Met.
In many ways, Pedro's tenure in Queens is an antipode to Dickey's. Martinez arrived with much expectation, pitched like a Cy Young candidate in his first (and lone healthy) season, then slowly receded into the background as his skill faded. R.A., it seems, will leave having transformed himself from a spring training invitee on a minor league contract into the Mets' most popular player and the best pitcher in the National League.
If today does wind up being R.A. Dickey's last day as a Met, he won't be the only Amazin' Avenue favorite to have said goodbye to New York on December 15. Exactly ten years ago, Edgardo Alfonzo agreed to a four year, $25 million deal with the San Francisco Giants, taking him away from the only organization he'd been a member of and a fan base that (almost) universally loved him. Of course, Fonzie loved New York right back. His ads said so. As a sign of appreciation to Mets supporters, the infielder spent $15,000 to buy commercial space atop 30 taxi cabs, which he used to run posters reading "Fonzie Loves New York" and "Edgardo Thanks You". One imagines R.A. will do something equally classy in the event he's destined to make another city his baseball home in 2013.
Also splitting town on this date ten years ago was Alfonzo's partner on the left side of the infield: Rey Ordoñez. His departure was decidedly less classy. Unhappy in New York, the shortstop more or less demanded a trade at the tail end of the 2002 season, then accelerated the process by calling Mets fans stupid in an interview. GM Steve Phillips made himself look like a genius for one day by exiling Ordoñez to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Russ Johnson and minor leaguer Josh Pressley. Neither man ever suited up for the Mets, yet the team still won the trade.
As for players added to the system on this date, should a Dickey deal happen, the hope is the prospects acquired will turn into key contributors on the next playoff-bound Mets team. That's what happened on this date in 1967 when GM Johnny Murphy sent former All-Star Tommy Davis, pitcher Jack Fisher and two prospects to the Chicago White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weis.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Though December 5th is Repeal Day, Prohibition didn't officially end until the 21st Amendment became the law of the land on this date in 1933. Thankfully, the unfettered sale of alcohol in has been the norm in New York for the entire history of the Mets. After all, aside from two seasons that ended with champagne showers, this team has given its fans plenty of reasons to drink in the last 50+ years. I'd recommend running out and getting a bottle of the most gut-rotting hooch you can find in advance of any trade news becoming final...