The Mets have done a lot of dumb things in the last ten years; they gave Carlos Beltran $119 million dollars, they traded Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, and they gave up half of their farm system for Johan Santana who has been a shell of his former self.
The Mets have become a big joke in major league circles and their money woes have only been topped recently by the Los Angeles Dodgers who filed for bankruptcy. Things were so bad that majority owner Fred Wilpon decided to rip everyone from his star third baseman David Wright to his superstar shortstop Jose Reyes.
Wilpon in particular said about Reyes that “he’s crazy if he thinks he’s getting Carl Crawford money” this offseason… if Wilpon had any sense in that old and decrepit skull of his he may want to rethink that statement.
Even though they sit nine games out of first in the NL East, the Mets have a decent shot at the wildcard at 5 games back and its mostly due… no wait, it’s because of the out of this world play of Jose Reyes. Coming into Thursday’s play Reyes leads the national league in batting average, runs, triples, doubles and hits, is second in stolen bases and in the top 10 in slugging and OPS. In other words without Reyes the Mets would be swimming with Jimmy Hoffa rather than having an outside shot at the playoffs.
And this is the guy that Wilpon wouldn’t give $142 million to, yet gave Beltran $119 million after one good stretch in October?
Beyond what he does on the field Reyes is the face of the team off of it. I know a few years ago the Mets had Wright positioned as their man of the moment but Wright hasn’t been that guy. Reyes is electrifying, he’s currently one of a handful of players that you HAVE to see play when he comes into town. Reyes is a marketable figure that you can bank on bringing in large amounts of revenue for your team. Who wouldn’t like having Reyes at the top of their order creating havoc on the base pads and then having the charisma to sell watches afterwards? You’d be crazy to think he’s not worth that.
Where I would see an owner not wanting to pay Reyes is due to his spotty injury history. Reyes has missed 155 of 324 games in the last two years, which would be a concern for anyone that has money to burn. Also in the years before his injuries Reyes was faded down the stretch when the Mets needed him most.
During their historic collapse in 2007, Reyes batted .205 and had an OBP of .279 as the Mets eventually lost their grip on the NL East to the Philadelphia Phillies and the next year Reyes faded again. As electrifying as he is Reyes still needs to prove himself when it matters down the stretch to show that would be worthy of such a huge deal.
After the bomb contracts given to Beltran, Santana and Carlos Delgado you could understand why the Mets would be hesitant to give another deal like that to Reyes. However, with the current state of the Mets Fred Wilpon would be stupid to let Reyes walk away to sign with another team and give fans in Queens even less of a reason to watch the Mets.
The smart thing to do for the Mets would be to sign Reyes and build around him for the future. It would give the fans a reason for hope and keep the Mets relevant.
However, with the way that things have gone for the Mets in recent years they may do exactly the opposite. They’re not called “The Mess” for no reason you know.