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?

4 comments on “Wilpons: What were you thinking about Reyes?

  • AJ

    It’s a sad, sad feeling to know that Jose Reyes is no longer a Met. I don’t think the team ever had a more exciting position player, and the fact that last season he was the first Metsie ever to win a batting title and now he’s playing for the hated Fish is a bitter pill to swallow.

    HOWEVER… I think Alderson did the right thing.

    The Mets need to move away from “Yankee Ball”, where you give out ridiculous contracts in a futile attempt to satisfy the “this is New York” mind-set that demands a World Series winner at all costs, every year. That approach hasn’t worked very well for the Yankees in the last decade, and it never worked for the Mets. It’s time for the Mets to build a winning team the old fashioned way, by constructing a balanced team that comes out of a balanced, productive, well run organization.

    They have a long way to go. And it’s a shame that early on in this rebuilding process (and that’s exactly what it is – being in NY doesn’t mean your team never goes through a rebuilding process) they had to part company with such a charismatic, dynamic player as Jose Reyes. I think it’s a take-your-medicine moment for the team. The Minaya days are done. The Metsies spent a bank full of money in the 2000’s, and not only did they never bring home a championship, they suffered through a collapse of historic proportions and in recent years failed to produce even a winning season. That wasn’t Jose Reyes’ fault, but he was a core player for this stikingly disappointing team.

    Reyes’ game is completely dependent on his legs, and his legs are suspect. At 29 years of age he is not “entering his prime”, as the above article states, because since the clamp-down on performance enhancing drugs players no longer can be expected to remain highly productive throughout their 30’s. To say, regarding Reyes’ injury-riddled career “it certainly does appear that the worst is over”, is little more than wishful thinking. No one can know what Reyes’ health will be in the years ahead, but his recent track record gives ample reason to be wary. When considering a 6-year, $100 million commitment, warriness seems prudent.

    Sandy Alderson earns my respect for biting the bullet and making the smart move, despite the pressure from the fan base to do otherwise. I’m really sorry to see Jose Reyes go, but he was following the money and Miami was willing to pay more than any other team in baseball thought wise to spend. Now Met management needs to keep their collective nose to the grindstone and continue to overhaul the organizational structure. Nothing will help the Flushing faithful get over their grief at losing Reyes more than seeing the Mets begin to win again.

  • Mike Koehler

    I absolutely agree with you about the Yankee Ball bit. Winning long-term is built around homegrown talent mixed with the right free agents. But you have to hold onto your homegrown talent. I wouldn’t advocate just handing out these large contracts to anyone, but Jose Reyes is an exception considering what he is to this team. I’d have been happy to sign him and a few cheap bullpen arms this year.

    Evidently there’s enough people who think his “suspect” legs are worth million of dollars over several years. We saw what he can do, even when he’s injured. Baseball players tend to peak in their early 30s before tailing off. I wouldn’t expect Reyes to be more than a shell of himself by his mid-30s, but if you get four or five great years while keeping a homegrown core in tact… I hate to say it but it worked pretty well across town for a long time.

    • Bus

      I don’t think this front office is opposed to keeping homegrown talent. The way these events transpired is truly unfortunate, especially when the shit hits us fans. The fact that he managed to have a career year in his free agency period just as the ownership was facing non-baseball financial problems, is uncanny. But it happened, and we’ll just have to appreciate the 9 years we got out of having the best SS in New York, and look to the future.

      I hope you did take the cap off the hook.

  • dave stark

    I hope you still wore the hat after all when it comes down to it you are and always be a true Mets fan.

    I’m sad that he left but not angry with Alderson yet at least. Yes he shouldv’e raised the price offered. The revenue from Reyes shirts, bobbleheads and more would’ve coverd at least a few million more of the money offered him. And while i understand Alderson saying he wanted Reyes to see what the market was and then he would make an offer he needs to realize that reaching out and showing Reyes how important he is might go a far way in helping him decide.

    The reason i’m not yet mad is that we don’t know yet what the Mets have planned or will at least try to do the rest of the off season. As you said next season was gonna be another lost season anyway. With Reyes they were still not going to the post season. But maybe without Reyes they can afford now to address a few of the other holes with the team.

    At the moment though the biggest thing this means to me is that the next time i go to my yankee fan inlaws house ill hear about how the mets are terrible for not signing reyes instead of hearing how they are terrible for not having any 50th anniversary items on sale black friday. I wonder if i should remind them that untill this season they kept saying reyes was terrible and could never live up to jeter.

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