Archive for the 'Jose Reyes' Category

Back to the Future

My guess is that Alejandro De Aza will be let go today. I’m trying to figure out who on the roster will be out once Marty McFly enters Citi Field in his DeLorean through the left field gate at 88 miles an hour to drop off Jose Reyes.

The Mets have already announced that Reyes will return today and if you look at the roster page on you will see Jose is listed among infielders. You will also note, if you are observant, that there are 26 Mets listed on the 25 man roster so therefore, one has got to go. The obvious choice is De Aza who does not play much and when he does, there has been little in the way of contribution. The Mets are also carrying twelve pitchers so it’s possible Verrett gets sent down again.

In other Reyes related developments, catcher Travis d’Arnaud has agreed to give up his number 7 to the former Mets all-star. Is that a smart thing to do considering d’Arnaud has really started to hit now? Doesn’t that fly in the face of baseball player superstition? I know it makes me uncomfortable. In fact, the whole Reyes thing makes me uncomfortable.

Reyes left the Mets after the 2011 season when he became the first Mets player to win a batting title. Fans howled when the Mets failed to make Reyes a similar offer that other clubs had or the outrageous one that Miami made and that Reyes eventually signed. But considering the type of player Reyes was at the time, Mets management did not want to tie up the kind of cash it would have required just for one player, a player whose greatest asset, his legs, would begin to diminish in the coming years. Reyes had a decent season the first and only year he played for the Marlins. He played solid defensively and had his typical offensive season that he enjoyed with the Mets although not nearly as good as his batting title season from the year before.

It was rather surprising that he was traded after only one year in Miami to the Toronto Blue Jays. Did the Marlins sense something? After playing 160 games in 2012 for Miami, Reyes spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list his first year in Toronto when he only appeared in 93 games. He only stole 15 bases and in the following season of 2014, he stole 30 and appeared in 143 games. Clearly for Reyes, his running game was not what it used to be. Last season, with Toronto heading to the playoffs, Reyes was dealt at the trading deadline to Colorado for Troy Tulowitzki. Reyes was heartbroken to be sent to an under .500 team when he was on a clear path to the post season for the second time in his career. After the season came the family dispute incident that led to an MLB suspension and ultimately free agency once the Rockies said thanks but no thanks.

With Reyes’s free agency just days away, the Mets were looking for anything to ignite a dormant offense. Ironically the move may have worked before Reyes ever steps on to Citi Field’s grass as a Met once again. Perhaps just the notion that Reyes is coming back was enough to wake up the Mets’ hitters. The Mets have won five in a row scoring an average of eight runs a game. And you know what happens when the Mets score four or more runs right? Yep, they tend to win. The Mets are now 34-7 when scoring four or more runs in a game.

The Mets thinking is this. For roughly 277,000 dollars, mere chump change within the world of major league baseball, how could the Mets go wrong? No one believes Reyes is the player he used to be including himself. That much is clear. What’s unclear is what he will really be able to do to propel the Mets beyond smiling and wearing number 7. Are the Mets really going to take Wilmer Flores off of third base now that he’s hitting? Certainly they aren’t going to remove Asdrubal Cabrera who has been as solid a shortstop as anyone in baseball. Reyes is not going to replace Neil Walker who has started to hit again and is very solid defensively. So where does Reyes fit in?

I would assume and hope he is a part time player, a pinch runner, a guy who starts maybe twice or three times a week, I’m really not quite sure. Perhaps the fact that Reyes is back is going to inspire him to great feats but if that were true, why couldn’t he have hit better in the minor leagues where he went just 6 for 34 (.176). That doesn’t sound like much of an offensive threat to me. Even at his reduced rate of speed, Reyes is a faster runner than anyone on the team so he certainly could boost running around the bases a bit. But the key there is to get on base. Historically Reyes was not the most patient hitter, often going into prolonged slumps and expanding the zone as they say.

Needless to say this is going to be interesting. It’s a move that could upset the applecart as I’m sure it was designed to do. The problem is the Mets have won five in a row. The applecart seems just fine for now.

Letting Reyes Walk Not Such a Bad Decision

Jose Reyes was hurt on the first play of the game on opening day in Tampa. The former Met is on the DL for 15 days with a hamstring pull.

Since signing a 106 million dollar contract with Miami following his batting title season of 2011 with the Mets, Reyes has played in a total of 254 games. That was a full season with Miami, one in which Reyes stole 40 bases. He stole only 15 for Toronto last season playing in just 93 games because of suffering a severe ankle sprain and missing a couple of months. Now he has a pulled hamstring and as we recall, this is the type of injury that can hamper Reyes all season long.

I’m not saying that what we have today is better than Reyes, that would be absurd. But I am saying that perhaps the Mets brain trust was correct in their assessment and not giving that many buckaroos to Reyes. He will be 31 this year and showing the kind of problems management was concerned about.

It’s just an observation and does not excuse management for not being able to secure a more productive shortstop than what is currently in the stable. But at least it may help vindicate them for the decision to let Reyes walk.

Be Careful What You Wish For…

At least that’s what I might say to Jose Reyes this morning. Now true, the Mets never bothered making an offer to Reyes knowing — a) last year they could not afford him and b) there were serious doubts among the Mets hierarchy that Reyes would have the kind of years his contract demands would warrant.

But if we are going to blame Sandy Alderson and staff for not kissing up to Reyes, where was the love from the Mets former shortstop and his agent? Did he ever go to Alderson and tell him how much he wanted to be a part of the Mets future?

Like so many baseball players and other professional athletes today, Reyes was driven by the bottom line. He took the best contract monetarily wise he could get, a six year 110 million dollar deal from the newly renamed Miami Marlins. Look, I’m not blaming him. An athlete’s career is short and he (or she) has the right to earn as much money as possible. All I am saying is I never faulted the Mets for their position because as much as Reyes was so popular and at times could be an unbelievable player, there were still many holes in his game and injuries caused him to miss a lot of time. Plus moving forward as Reyes would be heading into his 30s, there was a lot of concern for those legs which have been problematic in the past. And for those Mets bashers out there, no other team made any offers to Jose either. The Marlins bid against themselves in acquiring Reyes.

Well here we are today waiting on official word that Reyes will be heading to Toronto in a blockbuster deal that could make the Blue Jays a legitimate threat. The Jays will now have a real lead off hitter and an outstanding defender in Reyes at short. You cannot question this deal from the Jay’s side of things. Not only will they get Reyes, they are getting Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck,  and Emilio Bonifacio. That’s quite a haul basically for nothing. The Marlins get a lot of salary relief but the subject of the Marlins requires a completely different post to figure out that whole mess.

What I am focusing on here is Reyes. Here’s a guy who has had major issues with his hamstrings for years. Now he will be playing 91 of 162 games (81 at home and 10 in Tampa) on artificial turf, a substance that has been problematic for Reyes in the past. Although AstroTurf is long gone, the more pliable Field Turf is installed at Rogers Centre and in Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field. But it will remain unclear how Reyes will do on the fake turf. But in Toronto, unlike Tampa, Reyes will be standing on the plastic stuff for most of the game since Rogers Centre is the only baseball diamond left in the majors with the blasphemous sliding boxes.

Reyes was traded because the one thing he and his agent could not acquire with his 100 plus million was a no trade clause. That meant the Marlins could send him (as well as the others who did not have a no trade clause) anywhere they pleased.

Perhaps Reyes is glad about the move but I am doubting so. Not only will Jose have to deal with artificial turf but he will also have the Canadian exchange rate and local taxes, something he did not need to worry about in Florida. Plus, and I am guessing here, I can’t imagine that Toronto has the Hispanic community that Reyes enjoyed in Miami and certainly so much so in New York.

Well, Reyes got his money after a stellar season when he won the batting title, the first in Mets history. But many fans never got over Reyes snubbing them by removing himself from the lineup after one at bat in the 2011 season finale. That’s the type of selfishness we never see from David Wright and that’s the difference between the two home grown stars. Frankly I am happy with Ruben Tejada at short moving forward and wish Reyes all the best. But its funny sometimes how things work out, isn’t it?

Reyes Returns

I have maintained that in the long run, the Mets will be a better team with Ruben Tejada at short instead of Jose Reyes. But make no mistake about it, tonight and the next couple of days will be Jose’s day to shine and really stick it to the Mets.

When a team is playing as poor as the Mets are right now (losing a doubleheader to the Giants scoring only 3 runs in 18 innings), having fallen back to .500 after getting off to a nice 7-3 start, the fans will be looking for anything to rant about. When Reyes steps into the batters box tonight wearing Miami duds, facing Johan Santana, I am sure there will be much cheering for the former Met. Tonight the villain will be Sandy Alderson and his staff for making no attempt whatsoever to re-sign the popular shortstop.

Reyes became the only Met ever to win a batting title even though he snubbed the fans by taking himself out of the lineup after one at bat in his final game as a Met.  Many Mets fans were soured by his actions but rest assured there will be many in attendance who will be cheering “Jose…, Jose, Jose, Jose…” when Reyes steps into the batters box.

For those of you who are new to the pain of being a Mets fan, Jose Reyes is undoubtedly the greatest shortstop in the history of the franchise. He was signed in 1999 and made his major league debut in 2003 at the age of 20.  His first couple of seasons were marred by injury, specifically to his hamstring tendons, a problem he would later suffer and very likely played a significant role in the Mets not offering Reyes a new contract. Plus former GM Jim Duquette at the time of Reyes’s arrival, determined the Mets were better served moving the young player to second base and importing Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui. Ah, bad idea!

Once it was clear Reyes was the real deal and Matsui was just another bad idea from a clueless Mets front office, Reyes took off and became a star. From 2005 through 2008, Reyes played in no fewer than 159 games. In those four seasons, he stole 60, 64, 78, and 56 bases respectively and totaled 65 triples. His legs wrecked havoc on the base paths and his offense guided the Mets to many a victory. It was said that as Jose Reyes goes, so goes the Mets, an expression I often despised but was quite true. My reason for disliking the saying was because no offense should be built around just one player but that’s another story.

For four of his nine seasons with the Mets, Reyes was truly a great player. His WAR in 2006 threw 2008 was 5.9, 5.4, and 5.3.  Last season his WAR was 5.8, the year he won the batting title and was 11th in MVP voting.  These numbers fall into the All Star range and was voted to the All Star team four times by the fans. But he did not play in three of them because of injury.

There is no question of the value of having Jose Reyes at the top of your lineup… when he’s healthy. But there lies the rub and is one of the reasons fans may unfairly judge Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta for making the decision not to re-sign Jose.

From 2009 through 2011, Reyes averaged 98 games per season. Now that number is skewed by the fact that he only played in 36 games in 2009 because of a severe hamstring injury. A thyroid condition and re-occurrences of the hamstring issue caused him to play in just 133 games in 2010 and 126 games last season, far from the 160 he averaged in the four year span from ’05 to ’08. When you consider that Reyes is now in his prime and has suffered injuries curtailing much of his playing time in five of his nine seasons, did it make sense to give him the contract he was given by Miami?

Here’s another thing to consider, a point I have made many times before. With all of Reyes’ natural ability and he has a ton, he never demonstrated the smarts expected of a ball player of his caliber.  As great as his stats indicate he is, Reyes was streaky, often going into prolonged slumps. Why did he not attempt to bunt his way on in every game he played? Too often Reyes would swing for the fences with the usual result of popping the ball up.

It also amazes me what short term memory Mets fans have. Do you remember (as if you could forget) when the Mets collapsed at the end of the 2007 season?

In the penultimate game, the Mets were trouncing the Marlins by a score of 10-0 in the fifth inning. Reyes doubled and stood at second pumping his fists and doing his usual exaggerated antics. This infuriated the Marlins, after all they were being pummeled. Shortly after, a brawl took place with Marlins catcher Miguel Oliva attempting to rearrange Reyes’ teeth. The Mets won the game 13-0 on a brilliant performance from John Maine who did not give up a hit until the 8th inning. However the Marlins were so infuriated with the Mets, particularly Reyes, they vowed to defeat the Mets the next day. With the Phillies and Mets tied for first, the Mets having squandered a 7 game lead with 17 to play, a win on the last day of the season would have at least assured a play-in game for the Amazins.

That of course never happened. Tom Glavine gave every Mets fan the opportunity to claim “See, he was always a Brave and should have never been signed in the first place”.  Glavine recorded just one out in his last start ever as a Met, giving up 7 runs in the first inning. To look in the Marlins dugout, you would have thought it was the 7th game of the World Series. Here were the Mets, a team with 88 wins poised for the playoffs playing a last place team fighting for nothing. The Marlins had the last word, the Mets went home, and the Phillies started their run of five consecutive division titles and counting. Was it Reyes’ fault?

Of course not. Although Reyes had a miserable month of September in ’07, the blame was entirely on an overused bullpen due to failing starting pitchers in the month of September. That last game when Glavine claimed he was not devastated by the loss should have been a meaningless game with most Mets resting for the playoffs. Ah, what could have been…

But the radio talk shows were abuzz with call after call complaining  about how Reyes pissed off the Marlins. Even the talk show hosts themselves were calling for the Mets to do something about Reyes’ behavior.  Make him stop dancing and sticking it to the opposing team many screamed. What was so peculiar about this was Reyes had done nothing differently than he had done a season earlier when the Mets ran away with the division.

My point here is that the love affair Mets fans seem to think they had with Reyes definitely had its rocky moments.  And even I have to admit to being a bit disgruntled at Reyes’ immaturity at the time. In sports, the saying goes to never wake up a sleeping giant. And as bad as the slide was in the Fall of ’07, you wonder what might have happened if Reyes just politely slid into second on that 5th inning double then quietly stood up and wiped the dirt from his pants.  If there is such a thing as good sportsmanship, Reyes definitely did not show it that day.

Then there was the incident in Anaheim the following season, the day after Omar Minaya unfairly fired manager Willie Randolph.  Reyes ran to first in his first at bat and showed a bit of a limp. New manager Jerry Manuel went to take out Reyes for precaution. Reyes began to argue with his new boss right there on the field in front of everyone, quite embarrassing to say the least.

David Wright has publicly expressed his desire to stay with the Mets his entire career. Jose Reyes never made such a claim. The closest he would come was to say he played with the Mets his whole career, it’s all he ever knew. That’s not the same as what David said. Reyes was out for the most money and he got it. Good for him, I have no animosity toward him for doing so.  Just don’t tell me the Mets should have done everything in their power to sign him. I simply do not agree with that. There was simply too much risk to give him a blank check.

There is no question of Reyes’ ability. He is one exciting dynamic player. But he is not a Hall of Fame type player, not an MVP. He lacks baseball savvy and he is prone to injury. But I still think he will have some outstanding seasons for Miami. But in the grand scheme of where the Mets are trying to go, Ruben Tejada will be a better fit than Reyes was. Since 2003, the year Reyes came up, the Mets won one division title and nothing else. A lot of other teams won much more and did not have Jose Reyes playing shortstop.

This is not to say Jose Reyes is the reason the Mets never won anything but one division title. Certainly the Mets lacked pitching from 2007 forward. Pitching is the key and it appears that Alderson and his staff are doing everything they can to stock the farm with good young pitching. If in the next couple of seasons, the Harveys, Familias, and Wheelers pan out, it won’t matter who is playing short.

Reyes Was Never “The Franchise” Player

For many Mets fans, this week was very depressing. You saw a Mets superstar leave to join a rival team in the same division. Certainly for some, especially the younger fans, this was devastating (let’s keep it in perspective though, its all in the contents of sports, this isn’t famine, genocide, or nuclear war).

I am here to tell you that the loss of Jose Reyes, although sad and depressing, cannot compare to what happened on June 15, 1977. That was the day the Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Steve Henderson, second baseman Doug Flynn, pitcher Pat Zachery, and outfielder Dan Norman. The only accomplishments of note these players ever made as Mets was that they were part of this historic and dubious trade.

A writer for a local New York daily this week actually wrote that letting Reyes go was on a par with the Seaver trade. Without a doubt, that is the most absurd thing I have ever read.

Tom Seaver’s is referred to as “The Franchise”. That is because he was the Mets biggest star at a time when the Mets were young and had never achieved anything. He is the only Met player to ever be voted into the Hall of Fame. He made it on his first ballot in 1992.

Seaver was named 1967 National League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, an award Jose Reyes never won. Made the All Star team 6 times while on the Mets and during the season of ’77 when he was traded. He won the Cy Young award in his third season with the Mets in 1969, winning 25 games and pitching the Mets to their first world championship. Seaver won the award again in 1973 and 1975. He also helped achieved a National League pennant in 1973 as the Mets went the distance against the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. He struck out 19 San Diego Padres one afternoon in 1970 including the last ten batters in a row. In his career Seaver fanned 3,640 hitters and became a 300 game winner. His last season was 1986 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He was ineligible to play due to injury as he ironically sat in the Red Sox dugout during the 1986 World Series.

Seaver personified the Mets in the late 1960s through the mid 1970s. If there are baseball gods who sit in judgement and determine who shall win and who shall lose then perhaps the Mets are being punished over these many years for trading away the greatest player to ever where the orange and blue.

The trade was controversial. Seaver under contract wanted to renegotiate a more reasonable contract considering what certain free agents of lesser ability were getting at the time.

M. Donald Grant, chairman of the board of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, would have nothing of it, saying that Seaver should live up to his current contract. The feud played out on the back pages of the New York papers, specifically the Daily News where writer Dick Young never missed an opportunity to blast Seaver, siding with the owner. (Of course it was perfectly okay a few years later when Young jumped to the New York Post for a better deal.)

Seaver’s complaints were not just in regard to his own contract. He was also critical of how the Mets, led by Grant, were playing it cheap and not seriously considering free agent options for the club. Seaver was quoted as saying that Grant had a “plantation mentality” in regards to the players.

Grant hated free agency. He was an old school baseball official who loved the reserve clause. Remember, this was playing out at a time when George Steinbrenner was bringing in players through free agency turning the Yankees into a powerhouse as they took control of the city. There was no doubt as to who Mets fans sided with in the Seaver-Grant argument.

When things looked like they might be working out, that Seaver might remain a Met, Young wrote an article about how Tom’s wife Nancy was jealous of former Met Nolan Ryan’s wife. That was the last straw for Seaver who demanded that he be traded. A couple days later Seaver tearfully talked to reporters as he cleaned out his Shea Stadium locker.

That was the beginning of a very long dark age for the Mets. Under Grant, the Mets continued to flounder, finishing last in a six team division through the rest of the decade eventually forcing Grant and company to sell the team. Shea Stadium was empty. The most diehard Mets fans went underground, most too embarrassed to admit they were fans of the team.

To compare the Seaver fiasco with Jose Reyes signing a free agent contract elsewhere is ludicrous. The differences are obvious. The Met hierarchy today, made up of GM Sandy Alderson, John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta, are working with little funds not because of a cheap owner but because of one who is in deep financial trouble. The Mets were willing to pay 80 to 85 million to retain Reyes (Seaver could have only imagined such an amount back in his day). It’s not as if Alderson did not want to keep Reyes. Unfortunately, the money the Mets had to offer was simply not enough.

There were also baseball considerations in regards to Reyes.  Could he stay healthy (he has not for three consecutive seasons) through such a contract? Was it better to use that money on more obvious holes on the team than on one player? All these issues are what went into Reyes leaving the team. Then of course there was Reyes himself who simply wanted to go where the most money was being offered.

The Seaver trade was followed with several hopeless seasons with no obvious plan in place to improve the club. Did M. Donald Grant think that free agency was just going to go away? The farm system was left in complete disarray.  Whitey Herzog, director of player development at the time, left indicating Grant hadn’t a clue about baseball.

Today the Mets are headed in the right direction. Their farm system under the new regime is being rebuilt and already they have begun to stock pile young talent. The team is not as bad as everyone thinks and if they can stay healthy, I think they can compete, at least be in the wild card race.

For fans of Reyes, including myself, this is a depressing turn of events. But it simply cannot compare to when the Mets let one of the greatest pitchers of all time, certainly of the franchise, get away.

For me, Tom Seaver should be a lesson for this franchise, especially in regards to David Wright. Unlike Reyes, Wright has openly stated he wants to remain here. He wants to be part of the solution. He would like to retire a Met. Yes he has had a couple of off years. But with the new field dimensions, we need to see if he can again become the productive hitter he was from 2005 through 2008. Not for the sole purpose of trading him at the deadline but to see if he can become the star player for the Mets that he was on track to be.

I hope Sandy does not give up on Wright, even with his numbers of late, he still is one of the better third baseman in baseball and will not likely be easily replaced. And he is different than Reyes in that he really wants to stay. After watching the developments of this week, I cannot honestly say that was true of Jose.

I was a fan of Reyes but I am no longer since he is now a Marlin. That was not true of Seaver. I continued to root for Tom even when he pitched against the Mets. Seaver was the “Franchise”. Reyes was not.

The Chocolatier

Excuse me a minute. I have to get a Kleenex to wipe the tears from my eyes. It’s not that I am sad over Jose Reyes being a Miami Marlin, it’s because the Mets did not show Jose any love. They never called, never even bothered to offer him a dime. I feel so bad for Reyes. There he was, left alone, left to go to Miami with 106 million dollars. Poor, poor, Jose.

The Chocolatier was cold and condescending stating maybe he should have sent a box of chocolates. The nerve of the new GM who went on to say however his chocolates would have cost 106 million dollars–must be some good chocolate.

Last night on SNY’s “Mets Hot Stove”, Jose was interviewed by Kevin Burkhardt. What came out of the interview was that Reyes, according to him, wanted to stay a Met but the Mets never reached out to him. He appeared hurt and even said the Mets did not want him. I give Reyes credit. He knew exactly what to say to defer the fans’ anger to the organization and not to himself.

And now, the truth:

The Chocolatier and Terry Collins mentioned many times in interviews over the season that they hoped to keep Jose Reyes. On the last day of the season when Reyes did the non-Jeteresk move of taking himself out of the lineup so he could win the batting championship, Collins hugged him and said how much he wanted him back. The Chocolatier did not trade the shortstop at the trade deadline when he could have obtained some pretty good prospects from another team as he did when he traded Carlos Beltran, a lot less valuable player than Reyes. The Chocolatier kept Reyes as a sign of faith they could get him back through free agency.

Then the Chocolatier made the parameters of a deal known to Reyes’s agent. With the current financial situation with the Mets, he told them they would be able to do something around 80-85 million for 5 years with perhaps an option for a sixth year. True, the Chocolatier did not present a formal proposal but wanted Reyes’s camp to come back to them when all the offers were in. It’s called not setting the market, not bidding against themselves. But in reckless fashion, Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Miami Marlins started around 80 million, then when no one else presented an offer, raised it to 106. Boy would I like to get to a poker table with this guy.

When Reyes’s people got back to the Mets early last weekend and were told of the Marlins offer, it was clear the Mets were out. What was the Chocolatier to do? Present an 85 million dollar offer knowing full well Reyes would not accept it? Then the Mets would be ripped in the media for not being serious in the negotiation–a no win situation.

The Choclatier and his elves set out to continue with plan B. The money they would have spent on Reyes which would have insured the same team from last season that won 77 games, would now be used to fill holes that caused the Mets to win just 77 games last season. In a perfect world where the Mets didn’t have Bernie Madoff, Citi Field loans, and MLB loans hanging over their head, perhaps they would have done both. But that is not the reality we are living in.

I do not blame Jose Reyes one iota for taking the Marlins’ offer. It is a business after all and I have always sided with the players. The owner class in this country have gotten away with so much over the years, it makes me warm and fuzzy when a player sticks it to them. However, I wish players, specifically in this case, Jose Reyes, would come clean and just say it like it is. Here’s what I hoped I would hear from Jose yesterday…

“No doubt about it (had to throw that in), I loved playing for the Mets. “I will miss New York and the fans but the fact is the Marlins offered me more money.  “The 85 million I assume the Mets would have paid me is not chicken feed but 106 million is 21 million more for me and my family. “I want to thank the Mets for giving me the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues. “They treated me well but now it is time to move on. “I hope everyone understands”. And we would have. We get it. If another company were to offer me 20 percent more than I am making now, guess what? I would be cleaning out my desk today.

The crocodile tears routine of “The Mets didn’t want me” is a little silly. I defended Reyes when he backed out of the last game of the season after his first at bat. He was being honest then, basically stating he wanted the batting title. What’s wrong with that, others have done the same thing. He was honest then, he should be honest now. He went to Miami because of the money. If the fans are angry because the Mets did not offer more, then they should be angry with the Wilpons. The Chocolatier was simply doing what he could with the budget he has been given.

I certainly wish the Mets could have kept Reyes but I am not shedding any tears really. That’s because in this day and age, baseball players go where the money is. It’s a good argument to say that the Mets should hold on to their own. I think that is why David Wright will be around for a long while. He’s one of the best third baseman in baseball and he clearly loves playing for the Mets. I could see David sitting down with the Chocolatier, unwrapping one of those cherry filled candies, and working out a new deal even if it meant leaving a little cash on the table. David has that kind of makeup.

If Reyes loved playing for the Mets so badly, then why did he not instruct his agent to get a deal done with the Mets? He chose not to and go where the most money was. Fine, no problem. Reyes is not the first nor will he be the last player to do so (as I write this I see on the scroller that Albert Pujols is headed to the Angels). Just admit what your reasons are for leaving. For all the money we fans spend to cheer you on in the ballpark, wear your jersey, and display your bobble head (did Jose ever have a bobble head day?), we deserve the truth.

Don’t blame the Chocolatier. He did the right thing and so did Reyes. He should just own up to it.

As Jose Goes…Yes, He’s Gone

On first thought this sucks. On second thought, this still sucks.

Of course I’m talking about Jose Reyes becoming a Miami Marlin. Perhaps one of the most dynamic players the Mets ever raised, pending a physical,  is now on his way to south Florida. Reyes will sign a 106 million dollar 6 year contract with an option (not sure whether its player or club) for a seventh year.

Immediately the Mets are worse. Reyes proved to be a catalyst in the Mets lineup. When he scored a run in a ballgame, the Mets chances of winning the game were much higher than when he did not. His defense with that canon of an arm was unmatched by most Major League shortstops. The winter meetings for the New York Mets begin in a big hole.

The two biggest players that embodied the Mets are David Wright and up until last evening, Jose Reyes. Now Wright will go it alone as the single face of the franchise. And it’s not really clear how long Wright will remain a Met either. GM Sandy Alderson has stated he has no intention of trading Wright. But all bets are off heading into the trade deadline next season, especially if Wright is having a good season but his teammates are not.

One thing is very clear. Sandy Alderson has a plan and no one player is above that plan. As pissed as I am right now that Reyes will no longer be a Met, I honestly think Sandy made the right call here. It would have required that the Mets spend in excess of 106 million to retain Reyes. This is the same Reyes who missed 191 games the past 3 seasons. He had a history of leg problems at the beginning of his career then a string of 4 consecutive seasons without any problems. Since then, including last season, the energetic shortstop has shown fragility with his legs and his legs are perhaps his most important asset.

Alderson was very clear from the outset that he would not set the market for Reyes. He was also clear as to what he was willing to spend, likely around 80 million for 4 to 5 years. That’s not chicken feed, that amount is fair market value. But ultimately the Marlins bid against themselves going up to 106 million early in the weekend. No other team ever submitted an offer to Reyes. There was no bidding war. Apparently other GMs were just as concerned about Reyes’ long term health as the Mets were. Jose wanted a 100 million dollar contract.  He saw that he would like living in the Miami area with a large Hispanic community going into a brand new ballpark. He got what he wanted–Hasta la vista.

The thing to do is rationalize the move. Long term deals generally do not work out. The Mets certainly have enough evidence from the past several seasons to back this up. If Reyes had returned to the Mets there would be two very big questions to ask. 1) Would he continue to hit the way he did last season in his walk year as he won the first batting title in Mets history and 2)  could he stay on the field for 150 games? Well no one knows the answer to that. But you can be sure that Sandy Alderson, John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi, and Paul DePodesta ran the numbers and felt he could not do so for six straight years.

Whether fans like it or not, money is an issue for the New York Mets. Reportedly they lost 70 million dollars last season and that had nothing to do with Bernie Madoff. The Mets are in a Catch-22 situation. They are losing money because they are losing games. So how do they increase their revenue if they are losing star players? The answer is to suck it up and work with less all while building from within. Alderson knows the fan reaction will be bad. He knows advanced ticket sales will crawl. He also knows that the Mets’ time is a few years away while they build a solid organization from the bottom up so the Mets can be a contending team every season.  The Mets will gain two draft picks from the Marlins signing Reyes. That means they will have two first round picks in next June’s amateur draft. That doesn’t help the Mets for 2012 but it does help them long term.

Another point needs to be made here. We have heard from many writers, broadcasters, and bloggers that the Mets go as Jose Reyes goes. Well Jose is going away. This mantra always bothered me in regard to the other 7 hitters in the lineup.  No team offense should be solely based on one player’s performance. Everyone in the lineup needs to contribute. The St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and the New York Yankees won the last three World Series respectively and did so without Jose Reyes. The point being if the Mets do not win as often without Reyes in the lineup, the problem is not Reyes’s absence, the problem is the rest of the offense. That must change now.

When there are so many holes to fill on a team with little money available compared to recent seasons, it does not make sense to give one player that much money for that many seasons. I am not alone in this thinking. today ran a survey asking the fans should the Mets have trumped Reyes’s offer from the Marlins. 71.4 percent of 12,500 responses said No. I think for the most part, Mets fans are getting it. They are seeing the big picture.

What can be said about Jose Reyes as well as any other current Met on the roster? Just what have they given us? Reyes was a big part of the 2006 drive to the World Series that fell just short. He was a big part of the collapse in 2007 and in 2008 too. It’s not fair to pin both demises entirely on Jose, pitching had more to do with those collapses but his offense was sickly absent.

Reyes is a very dynamic player but he was not the smartest one on the field. His natural ability was unquestionable. But his baseball savy-ness was highly suspect. One thing the Alderson camp loves is smart baseball players. I think this is just another reason why Alderson is not going to lose sleep about losing Jose.

Of course if Reyes goes to Miami and his seasons there are all like last year’s we certainly will be sad that he is not one of ours anymore. But the past three seasons have shown that Reyes is injury prone and except for last year, can go into prolonged batting slumps. Plus with all the hype now in Miami with their new retractable roof stadium, a lot of pressure will be on Reyes to succeed. Let’s not forget that Hanley Ramirez is not the happiest of campers today. Although Reyes’s friend, the often sulking Ramirez considers himself a shortstop and will not be pleased about having to move his position. And remember, Reyes is going to a team that finished worse than the Mets last season. Of course with all the moves the Marlins are making this off season, that could all change next year. Omar Minaya would be proud.

I heard one commentator compare losing Reyes to that of Tom Seaver being traded. Please, not even close. If Reyes led the Mets to a world championship and another pennant the way Seaver did, maybe. But to compare this to Seaver leaving is insulting.

Losing Reyes is a big blow to this organization, make no mistake about that. But for the long term at least gauging from today’s perspective, it very likely was the right move to let him go.  I certainly wish him well except when he is playing the Mets. And make no mistake about it, when he comes up to bat next season wearing those new Marlins’ duds at Citi Field when the Mets are floundering in the standings, Mets fans everywhere will find it difficult to not be angry at the organization. This loss must be looked at a few years down the road. That’s why today it sucks.