How Will You Remember Jose Reyes?

We all glanced at the schedule when it came out to see when Jose Reyes would return to New York with the Marlins. David Wright says he misses his friend, but remembers the dynamic Reyes from a different perspective than we do.

REYES: Sitting alone after leaving his last Mets game (AP).

I’ll always remember Reyes as a dynamic player with an electric smile, but also prone to moodiness, injuries and taking plays off. Such as not covering second base in a late-season game against Washington which led to a big inning and another loss during the Mets’ historic 2007 collapse.

Reyes returns tonight and I wonder what the reaction will be. I doubt it will be as warm as the one Shea Stadium gave Mike Piazza when he returned as a San Diego Padre in 2006. There will be cheers, but I can’t see there being overwhelming affection.

While Wright says he wants to remain and retire with the Mets, Reyes never said anything like that last summer. I always got the feeling Reyes already had one foot out the door. Of course, the Mets never did, or said, anything to indicate they wanted to keep him.

Maybe that’s the feeling Reyes had when he bunted for a base hit and took himself out of the game to preserve his batting title in the season finale. That’s his last moment with the Mets, and not a classy way to say goodbye. It reminded me how LeBron James left the court in his last game with the Cavaliers. Both looked like they couldn’t get out of town fast enough.

I don’t like that it is, but taking himself out to preserve his title will be my enduring image of Reyes as a Met. That, and hardly running in the second half. Clearly, the injury prone Reyes wanted to protect his fragile hamstrings and not damage his stock in the free-agent market. That was selfish and disrespectful to his teammates and fans. Your remembrances might be different.

Anybody who understood what was going on with the Mets last year knew Reyes was gone. The team was in financial distress – still is – and wasn’t about to give Reyes a $100-plus million contract. With his recent injury history to his legs and declining base stealing totals, the Mets couldn’t afford to go six or seven years with him. As a rebuilding team, they couldn’t risk sinking that much money or years into a player who already had shown signs of breaking down.

That wouldn’t ┬ábe good business.

The Mets always treated Reyes well and gave him a long-term deal early in his career (2006) when they weren’t obligated. They could have played the system and lowballed him. Reyes grew up poor, was a new father, and insecure about his money. The Mets helped him; it was an investment in the future.

Years later, Reyes had no intention of leaving money on the table. He knew the Mets wouldn’t be the highest bidder. He was probably checking the real estate listings in Miami last August.

“It’s sad what has happened there.” Reyes said. “I loved New York. I loved playing for the Mets and I loved the fans, but there was no way it was going to work our for me to stay.”

Well, there was. He never told the Mets what it would have taken to keep him and had no intention of giving a home team discount.

It was a business decision – by both parties.

Reyes is a sensitive guy. Always has been. When he said he couldn’t wait to come back, you can take that a number of ways. And, you wouldn’t be wrong to think it is to stick it to the Mets.


6 thoughts on “How Will You Remember Jose Reyes?

  1. I choose to remember him flying around second going to third on one of his many triples.
    And making diving grabs in the hole followed by gunning out the runner at first.
    I remember key home runs against the Phillies.

    I remember the good more than the bad. Why? Because there was a heck of a lot more good. To focus on the bad is to minimize the impact he had on this team while he was here.

    It’s like the fans who complain about Wright “failing” at the end of 2007. BS. He had several games where he drove in go ahead runs, only to have the bullpen implode. People forget that, and instead focus on a bad at-bat against the Cubs. Or people who focus on Beltran vs. Wainwright and forget how well Carlos did overall. Wouldn’t we love to have him now (5 hr’s, .905 OPS?)

    When the bad outweighs the good, then yes, it should be noted.

    But the first thing that pops into my mind about Reyes is his exuberance. And the positives he brought to the team.

    • Ed: You are right. His body of work was indeed more positive than negative. Like I said, I just can’t get that image out of my mind. And, yes, when I think about him I will remember his exuberance.-JD

  2. As you say Jose can be a spectacular player both with the glove and the bat. He is injury prone and the Mets were right not to sign him at the going rate due to his injury history.

    However, the Mets handled it poorly. They should have publicly proclaimed their undying love for one of their own. They could always claim they tried which they did not.

    I think the fans will love him. Of his current generation I think they liked him the best. David is too proper. I wonder if in 2 years he will still be a Marlin.

    • One more thing. I do not think it is wrong for Reyes not to run the second half.

      He was injured. There is not point to him sitting out the rest of the year because he killed his legs. Yes it is better for him $$ to stay healthy. But also for the team. Was the team better off with his bat and glove in the lineup or was it better not to have him?

      I say the former. He did the right thing.

      I think he should have played the whole game. It is not right what he did. However how many players would play the game and see where fate takes them?

      • No. I am saying that the Marlins will trade Jose away in about 2 years.

        Same with Delgado and everyone else. Big signing win a WS get rid of the bums.

        This is what they do.