Last year, the big story with the Mets was how many of them ended up in the hospital. Now the big story is which Mets failed to go to the Walter Reed Hospital to visit with injured vets. Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo at least offered explanations as to why they didn't go.
"I don't know who is creating this issue," Beltran said. "I had my own things to do, and I couldn't make it."
Beltran explained that he had a meeting involving his own charity and that he had previously visited a veterans hospital with Fred Wilpon.
Whether or not you accept Beltran's explanation probably depends on what one thinks of him in the first place. If you take him at his word, his heart is in the right place, but he didn't realize how his actions would look to management, fans and the media.
Or maybe he doesn't care. Beltran has reason to be fed up with Mets management after how they initially dealt with his injuries. And he has probably lost many of the fans for good. In the final year of Beltran's contract, expect him to be highly motivated to do well so that he can get a big new contract somewhere else.
Luis Castillo said that he missed the trip to Walter Reed because he was "squeamish." Now he knows how Met fans feel when they see his name in the lineup. If that is the real reason Castillo didn't go, then he certainly is clueless, but not necessarily someone who is not a team guy.
But if Castillo is fed up with the Mets, then he is even more clueless. Castillo probably wouldn't be on a big league roster were it not for his contract. If he has become a malcontent who thinks he should be starting, that is even more reason to get rid of him as soon as possible.
And then there's Oliver Perez. The days of Good Ollie and Bad Ollie are long gone - now there's only Bad Ollie, who didn't even try to come up with an excuse:
"I don't answer," Perez said, "anything about outside the stadium."
It's as if Perez' agent, Scott Boras, has been telling him what to say and do so that the Mets cut him loose. Knowing Boras, he thinks he can somehow parlay Perez' freedom into even more undeserved money.
Ultimately, this story comes down to the same old story for the Mets - they need to eat the contracts of Perez and Castillo. Beltran is more complicated, since he actually has a chance of regaining at least some of his skills.
But the first objective of the offseason must be to make sure that we don't have endure any more such stories about Perez and Castillo, because they will finally be gone.
Check out Squawker Lisa's take on the Mets' visit to Walter Reed in The Faster Times.