While I’ve never been a drinker of the Wilpon Kool-aid, you’ll notice that I tend to support the team’s leadership more often than not.
The Jose Reyes action, or inaction to be more precise, has me in an unusual state – angry, depressed and unsure.
I always have been and will be loyal to my family, friends and causes. Every Sunday I don my Justin Tuck jersey no matter the final score. And any time I’m not sleeping, at a wedding or riding roller coasters, you can find me sporting a Mets cap. Sure it blocks the sun and keeps my hair out of my face, but it’s also a proud sign that I love my team, even if they haven’t won it all in 25 years.
And yet as I write this in the wee hours of Monday morning, there is considerable doubt if my faithful cap will move from its hook later. I am so perturbed by this news on Reyes, it has shaken the very foundation of my baseball core.
Unless the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson know some dark secret about Reyes’ hamstrings the rest of us are not privy to, their latest decision makes no sense.
In Reyes, the team had a homegrown player who developed into a fan-favorite with the ability to carry the team on his back. He could hit, steal and field all with his trademark energy. An average season for Reyes included a .292 batting average, .341 OBP, 57 stolen bases and 15 triples. His career offensive numbers are equally as strong whether they’re home v.s. away, right-handed v.s. left-handed or first-half v.s. second-half.
Hell, as Reyes went, so did the team. The all-star shortstop hit .328, carried a .379 OBP and sported an .889 OPS in 546 wins as a Met; in losses those numbers dropped to .251, .297 and .659.
Born in June 1983, he’ll turn 29 a month before next year’s mid-season classic and is entering his prime. Coming off a team-friendly four year/$23.25 million deal, Reyes is the prime example of a core player. His raw talent is unmatched, enthusiasm for the game still peaking and following among the fan base soaring, all while churning out numbers worthy of four all-star nods in nine seasons.
To be fair, injuries have been a concern with Jose. He missed a month with an ankle injury in 2003. The next year he missed nearly all of the first half with his first of many hamstring injuries, along back woes. Leg injuries also nagged him in 2009-2011. He played in at least 153 games a season from 2005-2008, but played in just 36 during 2009. Those number rebounded to 133 and 126 in 2010 and 2011.
Is there an injury concern with Reyes, sure, but it certainly does appear that the worst is over. And I’ll admit more frequent injuries and decreased production would probably occur in the latter stages of his career, not dissimilar of many speed-based players.
But $85 million over five years? Sandy, was that really your best offer? This is a homegrown Met who has excelled on the field, remained a positive character in the community and obviously the most important single part of team (I got this one wrong last winter). I can understand not wanting to toss out bids just for the sake of raising the price, but when word comes that your all-star player is on the verge of signing long term with a division foe for six years/$106 million, you wave the white flag?
I understand much of your MLB experience came with the Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres, but this is New York. Even if the team sucks, there is no “rebuilding phase.” New Yorkers don’t stand for years of horrific seasons to rebuild internally in exchange for being gouged on prices for tickets, food and parking.
At the very least, you need to keep a great core – especially a homegrown, fan favorite, to keep us entertained in the years before our next World Series win. I was expecting 2012 to be another lost season with Reyes, Wright and Davis to keep me watching until the young arms come up in 2013.
Unless there’s more to Reyes’ hamstring, you’ve probably lost a lot of my business this year. Why should I bother going to Citi Field, even with free tickets, when all I’m going to see is a sub-par team with a front office that needs a geography lesson?