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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

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Rob's Case for Trading Reyes

The Mets probably wouldn’t have won Thursday without Jose Reyes. They definitely wouldn’t have won Wednesday without Jose Reyes. They likely wouldn’t be as close to .500 as they are in 2011 without Jose Reyes. There’d be little worth watching of the 2011 Mets if not for Jose Reyes.

I sense you’re in general agreement with all of the above. My friend Rob Emproto agrees, too. Rob is as passionate a Mets fan as I know and (along with Mike Steffanos of Mike’s Mets) the most logical. He doesn’t offer any opinion to which he hasn’t given thorough thought and consideration. Rob takes into account statistics, both traditional and advanced, and blends them with accessible, affable, consistently informed common sense. Plus he’s not kneejerk about any of it.

I’m building up Rob here because I want to share some of the conclusions he’s shared with me regarding the prospective future of Jose Reyes and the New York Mets. I’m not sure I fully agree with them, particularly the headline aspect, but because I know from whence they come — and because Rob shows his work (so to speak) — I’m concerned they’re more valid than I care to admit. They make for good, if uncomfortable, reading besides.

This discussion between him and me started with the following inquiry he posed to me and the rest of our long-running, co-dependent Mets e-mail support group.

***

Here’s a hypothetical question for you all: Would you give Reyes $120 million for 6 years if you knew you were going to get six years just like the last six?

Thanks to his Adrian Beltre-like timing, Reyes is probably looking at close to Carl Crawford money, despite what Fred Wilpon said. But the reality is that whoever signs him is probably looking at six similar years. For the sake of argument, let’s carry out his current stats over the whole season and hit’s .340 and wins the MVP. He’s still not showing any new skills. He’s staying healthy, and more than a few more hits are falling in. He wasn’t a bad hitter before; he’s always been pretty good and his numbers consistent. He’s not hitting more home runs or walking more. So you’ve got a very good player who, because of timing, is about to be paid like an elite player.

Let’s throw in a Jimmy Rollins-type aging curve (they are very similar except that Rollins has more power). The next six years gives us one MVP-type season, about one season lost to injuries, and four pretty good seasons like we’ve mostly seen (.290 average, 35-40 steals, something like that).

When you sign him, you’re really counting on your team doing something in the next three years because after that you’ve got a speed player on the wrong side of 30 making a lot of money. So you’re going to have to make up for that in years 4-6 (i.e., being stuck with the contract and possibly needing to make up for lost production).

So my question is, if you’re the Mets, taking into consideration of what they’re likely looking at the next three years, do you give him that money?

***

Compelling question and scenario, I thought. I know the answer I want to know: That I never want Reyes to leave. But I also know I don’t know how to measure what the next six years and all those dollars will bring. Nobody does, but I can’t even fake it. I’ve been in love with Reyes as a player for a very long time, as Rob knows. I also know I’d sure love to see the Mets win what the Giants won last fall. Watching San Francisco put together a title run with whoever and whatever it took in the short-term made me a little less inclined to lean on the eternal attachment one forms to certain players — like Reyes, like Wright — and simply want the moves to be made that would make the Mets champions at least once more in my life, and preferably more often (and soon). Ideally, I want it to happen with Reyes. At this moment, I don’t understand how it could happen without Reyes. He’s our best player, playing the most crucial position.

That’s what I more or less told Rob. That and I have no idea what $20 million a year for six years means in baseball anymore, particularly where this franchise and its ownership flux is concerned.

His reply follows.

***

You have to take a step back and separate emotion and reality (perceived reality, at least).

The Mets are sort of in it on the surface, but not really. CAN they sneak into the Wild Card? If EVERYTHING breaks right, sure. But you can’t compromise the future betting that long shot. And that’s what the Mets ALWAYS do — they compromise the future betting mostly long shots.

This year, they shouldn’t be expected to beat Philadelphia and/or Atlanta (they would have to beat one of them to get into the post-season). They may seem fairly close, but they’re really not that close to either of those teams. Let’s say they find a way to sign Reyes…then what? Now you have Wilpon in the same financial mess minus Reyes’s $100 million, and now he’s got to deal with Wright. Even if he signs Wright after that, is Fernando Martinez going to give us championship-quality play? Is Ruben Tejada or Justin Turner? Will Jason Bay recover? Who will the closer be? What will Johan Santana be? What will ANY of their pitchers be? And they would need ALL that to happen quickly to compete in 2012-13.

Maybe in any other division except the AL East, you can take a chance. But the next three years the Phillies will be OK, and as they decline, the Braves will mature. The Mets are a near-term disaster; the target for us is three years down the road.

It sucks, but they have wasted two of the best players they have ever developed (not to mention Beltran, the best free agent they’ve ever signed, not counting Piazza). Either they never had the money to be ALL IN, or they didn’t have the stomach, but they were never ALL IN. They’ve had bad luck on top of everything.

Not everything they did was the wrong thing. But a LOT was.

Alderson needs to trade Reyes and get two or three good prospects (or at least one blue-chipper). Next year he needs to trade Wright and do the same. He needs to let all the big contracts fall off the table, avoid more big long-term deals, focus on the farm system, and let the young guys they have now (like Ike Davis and Niese and Gee and maybe Tejada and some of the guys that [a friend of ours] gushes over, along with whoever they get in trades) mature. In three years the goal is to have a nucleus you can build around, a strong farm system, and money you can invest to get whatever you need at the time.

If they sign Reyes, you’ve averted a short-term disaster, but they are still going to be behind the proverbial 8-ball the next three years, and then in three years you’ve got a 31-year-old speed guy that you owe $60 million to and we’re back in the same “wait until Reyes’s contract comes off the books” mode. It’s the same hamster wheel we are always on.

I don’t know how much $20 million is to the Mets, and I don’t know how much the Wilpons REALLY have. But we KNOW they lost $550 million, and are getting sued for $700 million more. I just don’t see them throwing around hundreds of millions considering the predicament they’re in. If the Mets were profitable, then maybe, but they are bleeding money by all accounts.

If the Mets were going to go balls-to-the-wall to get the guys they need to surround Reyes & Wright, then definitely sign Reyes. But you know they’re not going to do that. If they sign Reyes, that will be IT. If they sign Wright next year, that will be IT. And that leaves us with the same team we’re treading water with now, minus a few guys who are contributing, with two long-term big money deals added in.

At some point we gotta get off the merry-go-round, and it’s going to be painful.

***

Well, I said, that’s certainly bracing. Then I excused myself to find the nearest onrushing 7 train. No, I didn’t do that, but I told Rob he had just offered a very chilling scenario for any Mets fan.

Instead of easing up, he continued to deliver truths as he saw them.

***

It definitely sucks. It’s years of doing things halfway coming to a head, with Madoff thrown in for good measure.

To think that they have two of the best position players in the game just entering their primes and they’re nowhere close to fielding a championship team — that they may be better off trading these guys — is unthinkable.

A lot of it just bad risks. Nobody saw Madoff coming, but why does almost everything crap out on the Mets? You can’t accuse them of not spending money, but even then they get crapped on. They got one year out of Pedro and two years out of Johan…that equates to MILLIONS of dollars. And there were rumblings about both those guys being injury risks before they got them. Meanwhile the Phillies get Halladay and the Yankees get Sabathia. Throw in a Jason Bay, where the fit between the player and the park was questionable at best, and that’s even more millions combined with an obligation to play the guy through thick and thin. I know there are no sure things, but they need to minimize the risk somehow…maybe pay more for surer things.

Also, their negligence of the farm system has KILLED them. The Phillies traded prospects to get Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, and the Giants and Rays built championship teams mostly via the minor leagues. The Mets have developed Reyes and Wright, and then Pelfrey, Niese, and Ike Davis, and yet somehow their minor league system was a disaster (there are a few guys coming up…I’d say it’s middling right now).

You look at them and what they’ve done, and there is no obvious flaw. It’s a combination of bad timing and bad organizational cohesion; the pieces never seem to fit together for them. We forget that they were two unbelievable collapses away from winning three divisions in a row, and if they did that, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this stuff right now.

They are always thin on depth; they are never able to hold down the fort through their minor league system; except for Beltran, they never pay the star in his prime; their other signings are risky or fallback guys; the last good minor leaguer they had to trade they turned into Victor Zambrano; they get smitten with guys of questionable character/career motives. And they have been a PR embarrassment on top of that.

This is just a bad organization that was lucky enough to have enough money to put nice lipstick on the pig for a while. It’s been mentioned many times, but look at what Atlanta does. They pay guys big money and long-term, but those guys are Hall of Fame quality (Chipper, Gl@v!ne, Maddux, Smoltz). They’ve developed guys like Brian McCann and Martin Prado and Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman and Tommy Hanson (and that bullpen). They always seem to get value out of the guys they sign (Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe and Fred McGriff). They are stable up and down the organization (how long was Bobby Cox there?). AND they have an excellent minor league system. Now they were very lucky to have those three pitchers for as long as they did, and they only won once, but that is a fluid, evolving, regenerating organization. They ALWAYS have a plan. THAT’S what you want.

***

One of the phrases Rob used lingered in my mind and bothered me a bit: “wasted”. Did we really waste the tenures of Reyes, Wright and Beltran? Did we not contend for a while? And even when we didn’t, weren’t we treated to several years of three players we loved to watch? How do you measure that?

***

I would say that it was wasted not because we didn’t win, but because of the WAYS we didn’t win. We lost when we were a heavy favorite, and then we blew two big leads late. If they went down three times in a row like they did in ’99, there wouldn’t be too much complaining — they would have gone down proudly. But this team will long be considered a dog…rightly or wrongly.

I mentioned Atlanta in my last e-mail. That dynasty has to be considered one of the biggest “letdowns” in dynasty history. All those pennants and only one championship? With a Hall of Fame rotation like that? Yet you never hear a discouraging word about those teams (the Marlins won twice during that time). But you can’t get away with that in New York.

There is a stench on this team, and they’re never going to get out from under it as long as the Wilpons are here (they need to bring home a championship, and it’s going to be hard to do without help). It’s not all the players’ fault, and to be fair, it’s not all the Wilpons’ fault. It’s just bad chemistry and bad karma. Not exactly a sabermetric explanation, but it’s true.

Some of the injuries were just bad luck, some of them we saw coming, and some were compounded by questionable medical treatment. As far as chemistry, what kind of team blows TWO leads like that? It shouldn’t happen once, let alone twice in a row to the same team. Something was missing.

We could probably write a book dissecting these last five years. But I really think EVERYONE needs a clean slate here…Beltran, Reyes, Wright, Alderson, the Wilpons, and especially the fans.

***

I still wasn’t quite satisfied with how this paved the way out of Queens for Reyes (or Wright). I got what Rob was saying, but I circled back to an earlier point he made about separating emotion from the equation, for what is baseball without emotion? I thought of a few examples of teams whose fans endured stretches without a championship but presumably derived tangible pleasure from watching certain players’ careers thrive in their uniforms.

What about Carl Yastrzemski and the Red Sox? What about Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell and the Astros? What about Hanley Ramirez and the Marlins, even (for however many Marlins fans there are)? I don’t want to be in that category, remembering how great it was to watch Jose Reyes and David Wright craft great achievements with the Mets, too bad they never won a ring, however. But I also don’t want to watch them in other uniforms and I’m not high on settling for other guys wearing their Mets uniforms or taking their Mets spots.

Well? What about it, Rob?

***

I don’t know if the Mets situation is the same as other teams’. During Yaz’s day, the Red Sox were in the middle of “The Curse”. I think there was and is a more of a “we’re in this together” spirit in Boston than there is for the Mets at this time. Also, “wasting” doesn’t mean the same thing pre-free agent, pre-Wild Card era than it does now. Teams were more long-term back then, more connected to the fans, and it wasn’t so easy to just go out and get a Sabathia and a Teixeira and a Cliff Lee to get better. Also, for about a third of his career, only one team from each league made the postseason. Just being in it meant a lot more.

As for Houston, I’m not saying Astros fans don’t want to win, but Bill James once wrote that “even Astros fans don’t get too excited about the Astros.” Maybe they were just happy to have those home boys as an anchor all those years, and both of those guys took less money to stay there, so there’s something more to that story. Maybe there is something more important than winning to Astros fans and players.

The Marlins have endured so much chaos, and they have won twice, and they still don’t draw, so I don’t know what to make of them. They’re almost not a real franchise as much as a science experiment.

To sort of answer your question, whether you “waste” a guy depends on what you’re in it for. Every team SAYS they want to win it all, but not every team ACTS like it. In fact MANY don’t. The Mets are doubly cursed by living in the same town as the Yankees (cursed because we have to endure them 24/7/365, and cursed again by the constant comparisons). I understand the appeal of Reyes and Wright. I understand that fans love them, identify with them, that they draw fans, and that there’s a certain amount of pride associated with them. Unfortunately the value of that pride gets neutralized by all the Wilpons’ shenanigans

Teams like the Yankees get their Jeters AND their rings. For us the choice is “Reyes & Wright OR a chance at rings”? It’s not a knock on Reyes & Wright. I love them both just like everybody else. They are perfectly good build-around players. But that’s where it stops. The Yankees or Phillies WOULD build around them; the Mets, at this point in time, won’t (and whether they even CAN is a big question mark). And if they had money, whether they KNOW HOW is an even bigger question mark (though I would like to see Alderson & Co. do their thing with some money at their disposal).

As much as I love them, I want to WIN. I’m tired of what we’ve been through. I’m tired of the Yankees and their fans and their bumper stickers and their hats and every celebrity wearing Yankee stuff. I’m tired of the Phillies swatting the Mets like a mosquito, calling them chokers, of Phillies fans infesting our stadium like they own it, and tired of having guys like Mike Schmidt piss on us. I STILL want the Marlins to pay for what they did the last day of Shea. And that will never happen with Reyes & Wright (because of the timing of everything). For that to happen, they’d need to do something NOW. Sign Reyes, sign Wright, sign a key free agents or two, and simultaneously invest in the farm system to build that up.

They won’t/can’t do that. In my mind they can either sign those guys, tread water until the Picard suit and the Wilpon/Einhorn deal get settled, or just bite the bullet and get a head start on better times. To answer the question that started this e-mail chain off, I DON’T want six years like the last six. I love those guys, but man, what was the point? That was demoralizing and painful. And the worst part is that we’re not even heading in the right direction now.

Everyone says the fans will desert them. Wright & Ike have been out most of the year. Is anything different? Are fewer people watching? Is attendance down because of that? People will ALWAYS watch their team. They may be disappointed, but we still watched after Tom Seaver was traded. We watched after Keith and Carter and Dykstra and Backman left. We watched after Dwight & Darryl left. We watched after David Cone left. We watched after Mike Piazza left. That’s what we do. We support our team, we curse them, and we hope that the Justin Turners and Dillon Gees and Matt Harveys will bring us better tomorrows. But we ALWAYS come back.

I know you’re not a car guy, but nobody ever wants to sell the Corvette. But when it comes down to either you keep the Corvette OR send your kid to college, the Corvette goes. And yeah, it hurts to sell, and you curse when you see the 18-year-old son of the doctor around the corner driving the car you’ve had since high school, but there is a greater more important good to be had. And you come to grips with that, and you move on. And eventually you realize that there will be other Corvettes!

***

Rob is a car guy, and has a daughter about to enter college, with two sons not far off. The man knows his analogies.

As for the rest, he lays out a clear-eyed case for doing the unpopular thing. It’s not popular with me right now. Whether it occurs and results in a more favorable future — another Corvette, as Rob might put it— is up for grabs.

Though I have to admit, even if I’m not a car guy, I’m rather attached to the model we have right now.

19 comments to Rob’s Case for Trading Reyes

  • Andee

    I think the operative question here is, “Would you give Reyes a six-year monster contract if you knew his next six years would be like the last six?” The question is, “Are you going to be able to get anyone else to play that position, or the one to his immediate left, who would give you anything close to what Reyes did for the last six years, even with the physical problems he had? And if so, who?”

    Maybe if Reese Havens didn’t have the injury bug, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. A healthy Havens might be (have been?) able to give you similar production out of the middle infield, and then having someone like Tejada playing short doesn’t constitute much of a falloff. Havens might be ready next year…and he might not. Like, ever. As with Reyes before the season started, we don’t know what’s coming, at all.

    And to his immediate left, who the hell knows what’s going to happen to poor Ike Davis and his ankle. Any time anyone says the word “microfracture,” I think of Greg Oden, and the words “what a waste” won’t leave my mind. So. This team is going to need all the hitting it can get. And the ballpark is made for Reyes, if no one else; he’s leading the multiverse in triples, and 11 of the 13 are at home.

    And are other teams really dangling the cream of their farm systems in front of Sandy, only to have Sandy blow his nose at them? Nobody but him really knows the answer to that, and of course he’s not going to say boo about it. Somehow I doubt it, though. If someone had made him an irresistible offer of can’t-miss prospects, I find it hard to believe he’d have passed on it. And if no one is offering him anything more attractive than two first-round picks would get him, why should he do a damn thing?

    Now, if it comes down to the Mets making Reyes a very nice offer and he turns it down in order to try to start a bidding war, and someone offers him some ridiculous Mike Hampton-type deal…no, I don’t favor trying to top it. I do think there is a a point where the ROI is not going to be happening. But for a deal that’s mighty rich but is not going to make the fans snorf when they hear about it, I’d say it would cost the team a lot more money to sit on their hands.

    • Matt from Woodside

      I totally agree. Trading Reyes, even for two or three top prospects, doesn’t solve any near-term problems. And, there’s no guarantee that those prospects would make the team better three years down the road. With Reyes, at least you can look at his history and bet that he’s going to be a very, very good shortstop who hits around .300. You can bet that he’ll continue to do so for the next six years. Plus, the fans really love him. We always have.

      How much is that worth? I’ll leave that to the people who do this sort of thing for a living. Alderson and Co. seem pretty sharp. But, it seems to me that Rob’s argument boils down to “you can have Reyes or you can have a championship, but you can’t have both.” I’m not sure I follow that logic. I don’t want to see the Mets hamstrung (ahem) by a bloated contract in six years, but Reyes seems like a good bet for a large contract. Sure, at some point, he may end up on the DL again for an extended time. Just like almost every player does eventually. But in six years, he’ll still be a threat, and he’ll still be playing.

      A great comparison is Carlos Beltran. Big contract, and I’ve loved watching him play for the past seven years. Was he worth the money? Maybe some people would argue otherwise, but I think he was. Seriously, as a big-market team, where else do we spend the big bucks? What type of big-name player is the team looking for, if not Reyes?

      More importantly, how does any big contract affect the rebuilding of the farm system? Building a good farm system requires scouting and good coaching and a great player development staff. It doesn’t necessitate trading your stars to get prospects. That’s just something that smaller market teams HAVE to do when they know they can’t afford to pay someone who became a star in their system.

    • You’re asking the wrong question, Andee. You don’t “replace” Jose Reyes, nor do you have to. As Rob explains, championships are not won in fantasy ball fashion. It is entirely possible to have a BETTER TEAM without Reyes (or Wright or any other individual superstar at any given position). Arguing that Jose Reyes is necessary to win a World Series is foolish. MLB has handed the trophy out 8 times since he arrived, and every single time it’s gone to a team without Jose Reyes. Baseball is not the NBA. The last team to win a WS title with the MVP was the Dodgers with Kirk Gibson back in 1988. It’s about 1-25 as a whole, not having the best shortstop/leadoff hitter/base stealer/whatever.

      And to Matt, short-term problems aren’t the issue. That’s the whole point. What the Mets have are long-term issues. The Mets need a significant upgrade in their starting pitching (the current flashes of brilliance are just that), a much more reliable bullpen, more power, and some passable AAA depth to cover for injuries in order to have any hopes of making post-season noise. If you can sign Reyes AND do all that before age catches up to him, great, but thinking the Mets can requires the same optimism that insists we’re actually in a playoff race at the moment.

      Rob is spot on: We tried the whole Reyes-Wright-Beltran thing, it didn’t work, and now it’s time to admit it and move on. If you guys are happy just being able to say, “We have the most dynamic player in the game,” I can’t begrudge that. Personally, though, I’d rather battle for division titles instead of being able to make such claims while perpetually being 2 games under .500.

      • Matt from Woodside

        I guess I’m still not sure about the whole situation. If Reyes ends up being offered 8 years and $160 million to play outfield for the Yankees, then I agree, there have to be limits, and the team does have other needs. And, if the Wilpons plus Einhorn can’t afford a more reasonable but still very large contract without totally sacrificing depth and pitching, then maybe we’ve got to say goodbye.

        I still agree with Andee, though. We don’t know what types of prospects Alderson is hearing about in exchange for Reyes. We don’t know what sort of hints he’s gotten from Reyes’ agents. Trading Reyes might net three or four really good prospects. That alone is not going to fix the farm system, though. And, I’m still not convinced that giving him a large contract in the offseason is going to totally break the bank. He’s already getting paid $11 million this year. Carlos Beltran is most likely coming off the books after this season. So are the salaries for Castillo and Perez. With that money alone, paying Reyes $18 million per season starting next year should not be a major burden for a New York team.

        Building a great farm system will just take time and patience, whether or not Reyes remains a Met. Personally, I just don’t see why so many people are discussing this as an “either, or” situation.

        • It’s not “either/or,” it’s “if/when.” If you accept the fact that the team isn’t merely just a player or two away and this is going to take time and patience, then that’s how you need to approach the situation. A decision to trade Reyes or back away from a bidding war alone isn’t going to rebuild the organization, but it’s the best starting point the Mets are going to get in the foreseeable future. Saying we have a lot of holes to fill and need to rebuild then turning around and throwing the checkbook at a leadoff hitter would be almost criminally inconsistent.

          As Rob alludes to, that inconsistency has historically been the Mets worst offense. They half-step everything and don’t carry anything out to completion. They won’t commit to patiently building from the ground up, but at the same time, they won’t commit to assembling an All-Star cast via free agency or trades, either. Invariably, that results in a team with less than an handful of really good players surrounded by a joke of a roster otherwise (how in the hell does Angel Berroa EVER end up on a major league field?). And worse, that insane way of running a ball club perpetuates itself. In lieu of contention, fans latch on to the couple of great players, and now you’ve got a revolution on your hands if you try to do anything about it.

          At some point, if this team is ever to compete for another title, fans are going to have to bite the bullet and management is going to have to rip the band aid off. The only way deeming any players untouchable right now makes sense is if you honestly think the Mets will be playing for a title next year or possibly the year after. Look at the pitching, look at the power, look at the bench, look at Buffalo, and tell me how that’s going to happen without a major move or two.

  • Jestaplero

    I highly doubt the Mets will trade Reyes. Most likely they will keep him for the rest of the season, make a half-hearted effort to re-sign him in the off-season, and then let him go to whichever insane team decides to give him a Jayson Werth deal and collect the compensatory draft pick. The point that almost everybody seems to miss is that the cash-hemorraging Wilpons know that if they deal Reyes at the trade deadline Citi Field will be empty for the second half. They can’t afford to lose that income, and they wouldn’t get that much in return for what amounts to be a three-month rental player.

  • I completely reject the idea that you should look at rooting for a team unemotionally.

    Don’t trade Reyes.

  • Jon

    I think the sensible thing to do here is to listen to the offers for Reyes starting now and move if and when you’re sufficiently blown away. Alderson and the other eggheads in charge now are too bright not to, and they understand what his value is and could be in the years ahead.

    If you must, make his sacrifice the central event in a transformative, cleansing purge of expensive players (Rodriguez, Beltran, Bay??) and those spare parts that might also better fit on a contender (Byrdak, Paulino, Isringhausen, Capuano, Dickey, Pagan??, Hairston) to supercharge the rebuilding effort, being certain to reel in at least one or two guys that would stimulate fan interest as they play out the season and go forward — offensive talent preferably, since I think average pitchers can and will succeed/hold down the fort in Citifield and we appear to have less O in the system currently). Combine them with what help you can wring from the minors (Havens, Familia, etc etc), and hang onto Wright and “Iron” Ike Davis, two homegrown 30-homer guys on the corners.

    Meantime, I’m strongly rooting for the Wilpons to go Chapter 11 and their reign of peculiarity to end even sooner.

    I don’t think I would agree Reyes & Wright (whom I’d advocate showing the $$ to) have “wasted” their careers here. They have given us lots of great play and ought to also share in the blame when things didn’t go right for their team. Where the org failed them was in 2008, when it’s clear that Omar and Jerry ought to have been replaced, not rehired, and the Wilpons pay more mind to the financial hard times that should have also been staring them in the face.

  • Dak442

    I find the notion of trading Reyes repugnant purely emotionally as well as from a baseball standpoint. So we’re to deal him off for blue-chip prospects? Oh, you mean five-tool can’t-miss studs like Alex Ochoa and Alex Escobar and Lastings Milledge? Or future Aces like Phil Humber and Deolis Guerra and Tim Leary and Paul Wilson?

    Trading one of the top ten players in baseball in the faint hopes of catching lightning in a bottle is a fool’s game. I don’t buy that the Mets can’t afford Jose, either. A ton of money is coming off the books. We’re not Kansas City. And while he will be overpaid in five years… so is every major leaguer!

    The Mets can’t afford to go into some multi-year rebuilding plan. Not while the team across town is in the playoffs every year. Most people form their sports allegiances very early in life, and it’s among the strongest and long-lasting of loyalties. Are they willing to give up on a generation of future customers who will go with the Yankees?

    2007 and 8 sucked. But if they win ONE frickin’ game each year, it’s an unprecented level of franchise success. You don’t discard two of the best players you’ve ever had in a fit of pique over some bad luck years ago. Build around them. Get creative, Sandy – you’re the big brain. Other teams spin gold out of straw – look at bums like Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez. We can do the same.

  • March'62

    Where did the notion that “re-negotiating a contract during the season is a distraction” come from? NOT re-negotiating is a HUGE distraction. Clearly Reyes just wants a bidding war for his services which can only occur after the season. The Mets are put in the risky position of losing their best player for draft picks unless they pony up the most money. I don’t believe for a second that the Mets will get any home-town discount. If Reyes were truly serious about wanting to stay with the Mets, he would have his agents speak with Alderson now and see if they can agree on terms. Otherwise, I’m all in on re-tooling with maybe getting a Bryce Harper (okay, dreaming)in return. To paraphrase Branch Rickey: “we didn’t win anything with Reyes, we can not win anything without him.” And maybe trading him now will get us young hitters and pitchers that will help us win in the very near future. And this is not too bad: 2011 starting infield: Davis, Turner, Tejada, Wright.

  • boldib

    Right now Reyes is a ton of fun to watch, but let’s not forget that he can be amateurish and infantile when he slumps. (Last year I left Citi in the 5th after Reyes, who was slumping, lazily booted an easy ground ball then didn’t run out a potential infield hit. He should have been benched right there. Do you remember when Cleon Jones dogged it in left and Hodges walked out there, asked him if he was OK, then walked him to the bench when Jones said he was fine?)

    Yes, all is going great right now.
    But, the slump will come and with it the slouch. It will happen and the fans will not be happy.

    Alderson knows what he’s got now and in the long-term at least on a mental level. A very, very difficult business decision.

    All in all, watching the AAA kids has been a pleasure and, if they decide to trade Reyes I’ll understand and will still love my Metskies.

  • eric b

    Is there some kind of assurance/assumption that this will be a 6 year deal, minimum? Is anyone going to offer Reyes huge money for that long? Couldn’t the Mets offer slightly more per year in a shorter deal (4 years)? I don’t want them to trade Reyes (or worse, lose him for virtually nothing)…but the thought of having 2-3 more years of a huge contract on the books if he gets injured or is simply in decline toward the end of a six year deal is also not so attractive.

    I’m probably the only one in favor of trying to keep Beltran around for another couple of years too….Offering him a short and more reasonable renewal contract doesn’t seem crazy to me given the way he is playing now. If he gets a better offer elsewhere though, of course the Mets would have to let him go.

    I’d rather trade Wright than Reyes. When Reyes plays well, the Mets compete and win with some regularity. When Wright plays well, that doesn’t seem as assured. If they both played well simultaneously, we’d probably be getting somewhere… but that never seems to happen.

    Apparently, we’re going to alternate years between Murphy and Ike Davis as well…

  • Sandy Alderson has a very very difficult decision to make on Reyes. What Mets fan doesn’t want him resigned?

    Rob passionately outlines a false choice.

    Success without Jose Reyes and David Wright beginning in but not before 2014 or more of the same mediocrity from 2009 to 2010 with Jose and David on the team.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. The problem since 2005 has never been with the best players on the Mets. We’ve always had very good players: what we now call superstars. Santana, K-Rod, Reyes, Wright, Delgado, Beltran, Pedro, Glavine. In the past what’s brought the Mets down is what comes after our sixth or seventh best player. But now with the emergence of blue collar types like Turner, Gee, Pagan, Neise, and Murphy, I actually think the Mets are pretty close to having a very good team.

    The idea that the Mets can’t win with this lineup is ludicrous!

    Reyes
    Turner
    Beltran
    Davis
    Wright
    Pagan
    Bay

    I’m not so high on Thole. But with that everyday lineup the Mets would win a lot of baseball games.

  • Patrick

    The comparisons to Rollins might seem apt as they are both shortsops and both base their game somewhat on speed. But Rollins has only had two major league seasons with an OPS above .810, and one of those was a year at .811.

    The Mets have got to count on money to David Wright & Jose Reyes, while blending in other key prospects and emerging role players.

    You have to consider that Ike Davis when back on the field is the hitter we saw him emerging into. And that hitter is affordable for another few years.

    Your stars are always going to be overpaid, but I think Reyes is a better hitter and player than Rollins ever was or is. I think with Reyes that yes he might be having a peak year, but if he signs a six year deal and you tell me I can get three years of .840+ OPS and five of .800+ I will deal with that.

  • Andee

    So Sparks, I’m just a big dope for thinking it would be nice for them to have ONE guy around who can deliver an extra-base hit once in a while? I’ll tell you what kind of fool I am — the kind who, over the last four decades, has watched one gifted hitter after another after another utterly lay a shit- covered egg in our uniform, both before and after being great elsewhere. If we have someone we know can deliver the goods as a Met, that’s pure titanium. You don’t just toss that aside for a couple of warm bodies no better than anyone who’s already in the system.

    And frankly, I don’t see any GM who’s going to cough up much more than that. You don’t have to get that far into statistics to know that Reyes hits way more triples at Citi than anywhere else. They
    all know it. Even their grandchildren know it.

    • Power from the leadoff spot is not going to make up for a lack of it elsewhere, and it’s certainly not going to win a championship by itself. If Reyes is the only guy with any pop, we may as well not have any and start shoring up things elsewhere. Either way, the Mets run out of meaningful games some time in August.

      The very concept of a leadoff hitter being “the man” on a team is its own problem. Who does that? Well, the Mets and Mariners do, and they do it with a similar level of non-success.

      Reyes is a great, GREAT player, but he’s not the TYPE of player upon which you can hang a franchise. Rings are won with pitching and meat at the heart of the order. If that wasn’t the case, we’d have a couple of our own by now because clearly there is no one better at what he does than Jose Reyes. What he does can only take you so far, though. He’s having as good a season as anyone can reasonably have, and we’re still 9.5 back. Sure, Ike and Wright are out, but the fact that we didn’t have anybody to call up in their stead who can hit the ball past the outfielders is in itself part of the larger problem that needs to be addressed.

      Rickey Henderson–the standard by whom all leadoff hitters and base stealers are measured–won two WS in his career. Both came after he was added to a defending division champion. Reyes can turn a contender into a champion easily, but he can only turn mediocrity into something slightly less mediorce.

      There is no debate about how great Reyes is individually. The questions are just how much longer you’re willing to wait for the rest of the franchise around him to be fixed, and how much will he have left in the tank by the time it happens.

  • […] Emproto, via my blog partner, makes a very good case for why a farewell to Reyes might be a wise strategic choice. All of us — including Rob […]

  • Joe D.

    The question of the team being better with the money for one “excellent” player who is important to the club in so many ways (Jose) used instead to acquire more “average” players to fill more positions reminds me of the logic used by Joe Torre to justify the “Steve Henderson” trade during the 1977 edition of “Mets Yearbook”.