I'm not here to completely pan Marty Noble's latest ode to "grit > talent". But there's one passage of the piece that has me curious:
Two winters ago, after the drudgery of the Mets' 2009 season and more evidence that the team required an infusion of character more than additional talent, one of the Mets' advisors suggested that Wigginton would be an effective antidote for what seemingly ailed the team, that his Wally Backman, "take-no-prisoners" attitude would rub off and perhaps push the team closer to the top of the National League East than would another .300 hitter who bats .226 after the sixth inning.
Emphasis mine. I would like to see evidence that the Mets needed, and presumably still need, more character rather than talent. I'm not saying this evidence definitely does not exist, just that I am unaware of it. Additionally, Noble wrote the following just prior to that 2009-2010 offseason of his discontent:
What the Mets like so much is that Francoeur, as much as any player on their roster since Paul Lo Duca, raises the composite blood pressure, too. He not only cares, he shows that he does and his manner rubs off.
"I think I can bring something here," he said Saturday. "I'm not David Wright or Carlos Beltran, but what I can do is play hard and, I think, have some positive effect on the guys around me."
"If you were to talk intangibles," Jerry Manuel said, "he'd rate way off the charts."
Our old friend Frenchy was around for most of 2010, yet the team struggled, failing to play even .500 baseball. Noble felt that Francoeur's intangibles were terrific but they apparently weren't enough to turn the team into a winner. Francoeur was even compared to Paul Lo Duca, a player specifically cited in today's column as a provider of the The Grit. If an assumption is made that Noble's, and most of his colleagues', assessment of Francoeur's intangibles is spot on, this seems like evidence that talent > grit. Maybe this can be addressed in Noble's next mailbag.