He nevah said dat!

WFAN circled the wagons Wednesday after basically the entire Mets organization trashed midday host Sal Licata for alleging Pete Alonso is toxic in the Amazins’ clubhouse. Afternoon drive voice Shaun Morash led the way. The pertinent parts of his comments:

There is not a soul on this radio station that said flat-out that we know Pete Alonso is a toxic person in the clubhouse. What has been speculated is that the Met clubhouse itself has been toxic and Pete Alonso is part of that core … and the only one with a year left on his deal that could be moved to change the feel inside that locker room.

If there is a problem in the locker room, Pete Alonso could be right in any squabble that exists in that locker room. It doesn’t make him the problem. It makes him the  movable piece if there is a problem in the locker room. So flat-out asking Pete Alonso if he’s toxic is not actually to what has been discussed as we try to follow the breadcrumbs here on WFAN on a daily basis.

Does Morash’s defense of Licata (and the station) hold water?

Let’s go to the audio tape! Licata made his controversial comments on Friday, Aug. 11. The full conversation remains available in podcast form.

Licata tells Tierney he was curious about Alonso trade buzz, so he “did some thinking, and then I did some research, did a little homework, talked to some people and the ultimate problem … the Mets have a toxic clubhouse. And Pete Alonso is part of that.”

To be clear, since WFAN seems to struggle to comprehend what the word “speculation” means: Licata is telling his audience he knows for a fact, after speaking to people closer to the situation than him, that the Mets have a toxic clubhouse and Alonso is part of that. So arguing no one has ever said Alonso himself is toxic is a pretty thin claim. Especially after Licata reiterates a few moments later, “Alonso is the guy that’s got to go.”

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Moreover, Morash’s assertion Alonso is the only core piece the Mets can move gets blown up by Licata himself: “And (Jeff) McNeil is irrelevant anyway, they can move on from McNeil. he’s insignificant, I think he may be part of the problem, but he’s insignificant.”

Licata does say, “I’m not saying that Pete” is “a selfish player … who doesn’t care about winning” because “I don’t know.” But he then says, “I’ve done my homework and I know that there are issues in that clubhouse. That is a fact. … But I know. And it’s a big reason why the Mets have failed this year.” He then points to the Alonso trade talk again.

“They (the Mets) know something,” Licata said. “So why would the Mets put him [on the market]? Do you think they don’t watch? They know something. They know the clubhouse was a major problem. … That’s the reason why Pete Alonso has been made available.”

Licata then begins to roll calls and in a back-and-forth with a listener he says, in part, “McNeil, he’s toxic too” before adding, “I’m not saying Pete is a bad guy. I don’t know that. He seems like a good guy.”

Anyway …

Did Licata directly say Alonso is toxic? No, he did not. And he did throw a few caveats out. But any reasonable person would listen to him and come to the conclusion he was reporting Alonso is toxic. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.

This comes back to the same place we landed with the Tiki Barber-Robert Saleh debacle: WFAN’s voices may not be traditional journalists, but they have a responsibility to be responsible. Licata was not responsible with his comments, and he has been called out accordingly. And when the station’s new lineup continues to fail to clear this low bar, its own credibility continues to decline and it becomes even harder to take WFAN seriously outside the hours of 6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10-2 on Saturdays. Back after this.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.