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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.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Easy Choice

I’d take a reported $106 million for six years, even if it meant having to become a Miami Marlin through 2017 to do so. If that was Jose Reyes’s choice — as opposed to nothing for no years, which is what the Mets apparently offered him — it was an easy choice.

So congratulations to the New York Mets for not setting the market. That was important to them. Good luck setting the market for ticket sales in 2012. Good luck filling second base alongside neophyte shortstop Ruben Tejada. Good luck with the next few years. Good luck waiting for Mejia and Harvey and Wheeler and whoever to blossom. Good luck riding Pelfrey and Pagan. Good luck with the dynamic pricing and all that. Good luck in court and with selling those minority stakes, while we’re at it.

And congratulations to the Mets for however many fans you have who will rally to your side on this, that it was smart business to not pursue one of your best players ever, 28 years old this coming Opening Day, hard. Because, worst-case scenario, you might have lured Reyes back or, more likely, made the Marlins pay more. But this is better, I’m sure.

Maybe the Mets should switch from blue caps to teal. They have become the new Marlins.

27 comments to Easy Choice

  • tim

    Well, do we know what they offered him? 6/106 is a lot for a SS. It’s more than Jeter makes. Nothing was leaked to the press, but they could have offered him Jeter’s 15 M for 3 or 4 years, who knows.

    I think this will work out OK. 2012 is probably a colossal mess, but if they can successfully plow that money they aren’t spending on Jose into a farm system, a bullpen, and other bits and pieces, 2013 and onward looks pretty good. I’m putting my trust in Alderson and Co.

  • Thomas

    You nailed it. I’m too young for the Seaver regret, but this is going to be up there with that.

  • Mike D.

    Based on Jeff Loria’s track record, what makes you think he’ll be wearing a Marlins uniform for more than two years anyway?

    I love Jose as a player, but this is hardly Seaver to Cincinatti. The Marlins drastically overpaid for him, based on a hunch that it might make people interested who didn’t show up at the ballpark in championship seasons. He made a mistake. If I were him. I would have asked every other team in the league to match before I signed with the Marlins. It’s baseball purgatory, and a new ballpark won’t change that.

  • Andee

    I’m with Mike D. — given the Marlins’ track record, the odds that he finishes out this contract with them are about zilch, unless he becomes untradably injured. They’re going to do what they always do: Load for bear, win themselves jewelry, and then dump everyone off and stuff luxury tax $$$ into their pockets for the next seven years.

    No, we’re not the Marlins. No other team does that. Take a look at the paucity of comments on Fish Stripes; Amazin’ Avenue probably has gotten more posts in five minutes than FS will get all night, and over half of theirs will probably be from Mets fans. Even with a new stadium, they’re going to be hard pressed to get their fans beyond the point of, “Fool me three times and I’m too stupid to live.”

    We’re also not the Yankees, who are the only team in MLB not to ever lose players they really want to keep. The Dodgers, Angels, Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, and Phillies are all big-market teams; all of them have gotten outbid (and in some cases, actually dodged a bullet in doing so). We would have had to offer substantially more than Miami because of the tax situation down there; note that no other team was biting, either, although there are probably at least 15 teams who could have used him and most of them are not operating on a shoestring. Maybe Sandy knows something we don’t.

    Which doesn’t mean this is not painful, mind you. It is. I’ll miss him like hell. But at least he didn’t go to the Phillies, that would have been a lot worse.

  • tensionfilter

    Waiting for the Marlins to trade Jose is as good a stratagy as the WilponMets current strategy of “Lets wait till the Phillies get old” which will become “Lets wait till the Nationals get old” and so on.

    The Wilpons have taken away any trust now that fans should have in them. Why should I care about Davis, Mejia, Wheeler, Familia, Tejada, etc when there will come a point that it will be too costly for the Mets to retain them?

    • Andee

      It will be at least two years before that’s even an issue, probably more. Davis is not even arbitration eligible until 2013, Tejada until 2014, neither FA eligible until 2017, and they’ve never traded players just because they were arb eligible. And I doubt they’re going to start now, since locking up good young players in team friendly deals is much more cost effective than blowing a wad on free agents (or for that matter, going to arbitration).

      The others you name are even farther behind them. And if any of those players develops the lengthy injury history Reyes did, I would expect the team to be circumspect about breaking the bank to keep them. There have been so many awful, terrible contracts the last few years, it fries my trigeminal nerve just to think about them, even the ones not on our team.

  • Jacobs27

    I’ll be that guy: Jose, Jose, Jose, Jo-say it ain’t so, Greg…

  • Steve D

    Sandy said that teams that lose $70 Million don’t do things like re-sign one of their few stars.

    This is as close to rock bottom as I have seen the New York Mets… and I lived through the late 70s and the worst teams money could buy. If you can be a fan through this, you will be a fan for life.

    To solve the Mets issues, you must figure out how they can possibly lose that much in a season (if that is the real number)…my guess is bad long-term contracts, low TV ratings and too much debt. But who knows if that includes SNY?

  • Ed

    Wasn’t it last Friday that it was reported the Mets were ‘offering’ Jose $80M over 5 years? Now it turns out we didn’t offer anything? I’m very disappointed in that. I can appreciate not offering him $105M over 6 years – but the Mets should have had a reasonalble offer on the table. This is embarrassing. The Mets better be giving away a lot of free tickets because Citi Field is going to look as empty as Shea did in the late 70’s. The mets might want to re-think banner day now!

    I guess the Mets really feel he is too fragile and will breakdown.

    The Marlins are certainly acting in the role of “Steinbrenner’s Yankees” as MLB network reported on SUNDAY that they offers to most all the big free agents. Kevin Millar wondered what would happen if they all agree to the Marlins contract!

    Andee has got it straight. For the Marlins fan base I hope not but it wouldn’t surprise me if they build themselves up and break down just as quick.

    Adding Joze Reyes and Heath Bell are good moves for the Marlins, but they will need alot more work in order to be more than a 3rd or 4th place team. They need a CF, a middle infielder – that is a proven hitter, and at least 2 impact starting pitchers in order to overtake the Phillies.

    I get the feeling that without additonal significant changes to the marlins roster, Jose won’t be any closer to a world series ring.

    • Andee

      You can only make a formal offer if an agent actually accepts the bid as a bid. If Greenberg said, “Jose won’t come back for any amount of money,” or, “Don’t even bother calling me unless it’s a Crawford deal,” then Sandy would have been wasting his time calling Greenberg, who would have just slammed the phone down in his ear. Why make a lowball offer only to get laughed at?

      But YEAH on the rest of it. The Marlins are going to have to sign Pujols and Wilson now, and maybe Buehrle too. If they’re going on a spending binge, they have to go all the way, or it’s a waste of effort on every level.

    • Ed in Westchester

      They just got a middle infielder who is a proven hitter.
      Their starting rotation is solid.
      bullpen is good.
      They need a marginal CF at this point. They’ve got enough good players elsewhere.

  • Dave A.

    In honor of their upcoming 50th Anniversary, the Mets plan to lose 120 games and be the laughing stock of baseball.

  • Stefanie B.

    I have always been a Mets fan and always will be. But even I – a LONG time partial season ticket holder – will be buying my tickets at half price on stub hub this year. Not signing people like Reyes will make the Mets lose more money and the spiral goes downward. I think the only way to fix this team is for the Wilpons to sell. So in the end I think I’m rooting for Picard. And also for those smug Marlins fans to be sitting in a new empty stadium.

  • Ed in Westchester

    See, the Marlins are doing the smart thing. Brand new ballpark, gotta fill it, so go out and sign a couple of good free agents. Fans get interested.

    Our team on the other hand has a brand new ballpark, needs to fill seats, and allows a star to leave, and will replace him with a guy who has looked overmatched as often as he has looked good. No plans to add anyone good (and yes, I understand that the FA market is kinda crappy this year).

    Which team will draw more fans over the next couple of seasons? Which team will actually compete?

    “If you build it, they will come” in MLB does not refer to a stadium.

    It refers to a TEAM.

    Build a good team, and the fans will come.

    Tear it down, and you go into a spiral because you will have less revenue since fans will not come. Oh, the diehards will come, but not as often. And those that might normally take whatever little extra cash they had and go to a game will funnel those dollars elsewhere.

    At least I still have the Jets and Islanders

    oh, wait

    :slams head against desk:

    • Mike D.

      How is this building a team? What the Marlins are doing is exactly what Minaya did all these years, which put us in the financial position to not be able to resign Reyes in the first place. And Madoff notwithstanding, the Marlins have less financial wiggle room than the Mets do. It wasn’t all that long ago they had a full-season attendance of 800,000 tickets paid.

      • Andee

        Yeah, and can you imagine how pissed Marlins fans (all three of them) will be if, four or five years from now, they have to let Mike Stanton go because of the huge obligations they have to Reyes et al. (I’m pretty sure whatever deals they’re putting together will be heavily backloaded.)

  • BlackCountryMet

    Hey, it’s VERY DISAPPOINTING. More so, because he’s a Met that matured as one and may well(?) be about to approach his peak years. But the math doesn’t lie, we’re not the Other New York Team and we can’t afford him. It’s topical to mention this at present we’re now a MoneyBall team for the next 2 -3 seasons. I can appreciate how frustrating this when we wanna compete (at least) for Divisional Titles but past bad contracts and the off the field financial mess have put us where we are now and we’re just gonna have to bite the bullet. I’m vexed too but hey, I don’t think he would have signed for a sum we could afford and now, at least we MAY be able to pursue some better starting pitching. If we get more offense from Ike and Wright, then this MAY compensate. As someone once said”Ya gotta believe!”(don’t ya,don’t ya….??)

  • open the gates

    Damn.

    Damn, damn, damn.

  • RoundRock Mets

    Some years ago Greg very eloquently made the point that we were the one constant with regard to the Mets; players, managers, owners, etc. change over time, but the hard core loyalists remain the same. The evident hurt and anger over Reyes’ departure stem from the feeling of loss and the belief that those who could have prevented the loss don’t share our love for the team and thus aren’t mourning. It’s frustrating to say the least.

  • I continue not to understand fans who root for the front office and tougher contract negotiations. There is no good side to this. If he’s worth 106 million to the Marlins, he’s worth at least that much to the Mets. They should have signed him. I am very depressed today.

  • Will in Central NJ

    It’s time to roll out the old marketing slogan, circa June 16, 1977: “Bring Your Kids to See Our Kids”. Sigh.

  • John Isom

    Spot on. Sadly.