Aug 22

Mets Crossfire: The Jose Reyes Dilemma

In a new feature that we will be doing from time time to time, myself and Joe D. from Metsmerized.com will do a point/counterpoint on various Mets hot button issues. This week, we share our opposing views on whether the Mets should re-sign Jose Reyes or just cut the cord and move on from him already.

John Delcos On Reyes – Lets Move On From Him Already

In an ideal world, Jose Reyes would stay healthy, be running free and sparking the Mets to the playoffs, as he did in 2006 – five long years ago and the only year in which the team made the playoffs with him.

However, it is not an ideal world and it might take another five years before the Mets see October again. By that time, Reyes would be at the tail end of the longest contract I’d be willing to give the All-Star, but fragile shortstop.

Reyes’ blistering first half took him off the trading block, and his second trip to the disabled list now makes him impossible to deal by the waiver deadline. He might still be disabled by the end of the month and the Mets will forced to settle for the compensatory pick because that’s all they’ll get when he signs elsewhere this winter.

The gamble at a boat load of prospects has passed.

With no chance to move him, the Mets are faced with the paralyzing choice of coming up with a long-term contract north of $100 million to keep Reyes or going the unpopular route and continuing their rebuilding program without him.

I’m inclined to choose the latter, because after all, it is not an ideal world, and the world that has been Reyes saw one playoff berth, several trips to the disabled list and leaving us with a feeling of wanting more than being satisfied with what we had.

Reyes makes his living with his legs and by the end of his contract his salary would become an albatross, much like it was with Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and Jason Bay. He’s not running free now and there’s no guarantee about the future.

That Reyes is breaking down again, as he has the past two years, is not shocking. But, it would be a surprise is if Reyes were to stay healthy for the duration of his deal, whether it be four years, seven, or anything in between. That’s a long shot.

General manager Sandy Alderson should not be seduced by Reyes’ first half and realize numbers in a walk year must be scrutinized carefully. Reyes hasn’t played this well in three years.

Looking at the Mets and it isn’t hard to see next year could be the same as this if the team stays intact and Johan Santana returns. But, even then, there are holes in the rotation and bullpen, a health question in Ike Davis at first, David Wright trying to rebound at third, and questions in all three outfield positions.

Assuming Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler are the real deals, we’re still roughly three years away. And, how healthy Reyes will be then is anybody’s guess.

Perhaps the Wilpon’s financial problems will be resolved by then. Maybe not. However, the $100 plus million it would take to keep the risky Reyes might be better spent on filling the myriad of holes on their roster.

And, with that kind of money, they should do better than the patchwork likes of Chris Young, Willie Harris and R.A. Dickey.

The Mets could move to rebuild with that money, or they could dig themselves into a deeper hole if Reyes doesn’t stay healthy. In his nine major league seasons, he’s only done it four times.

It’s time for the next chapter.

Joe D. On Reyes – Special Players Like Him Are Irreplaceable

While I clearly understand the rationale of those who are unwilling to see the Mets pony up the big bucks to keep Jose Reyes in Flushing, I on the other hand emphatically disagree with that strategy.

For all those who are constantly chirping on our comment threads about rebuilding the farm and building a winning team from within, why are many of those same folks the ones championing the exit of our one homegrown All Star, Jose Reyes?

Did I suddenly wake up this morning and find myself in Kansas City – Where home grown stars are traded or simply allowed to walk once they reach free agency? Is that what the Mets have been reduced to while playing there home games in the largest and richest sports market and the grandest stage in the world?

I don’t think and Bronx Bombers fans had this debate before Derek Jeter signed his first mega-deal in 2001 – a ten year $189 million dollar whopper of a deal. That was ten years ago, right after Jeter put up similar numbers in 2000 (.339 BA, 50 XBH, 22 SB) as Reyes has this season (.336 BA, 36 XBH, 34 SB).

Is the debate really about making the Mets better? Or is this really about money?

Yes, I agree that Jose Reyes is always an injury risk and there is no arguing that point, but does that mean we simply let a team like the Yankees, Phillies or Red Sox take the risk while we play it safe even at the risk of winding up with more egg on our face?

Did we nurture and develop Jose Reyes from a raw 16-year old, just so we can see him play the prime years of his career for one of our rivals?

Even if you were to convince me that letting Jose Reyes walk at the end of the season is a good idea, can somebody please tell me who replaces him at shortstop or at the top of the order? How do you replace a catalyst like Reyes? How do you replace the best shortstop and only All Star on the team?

Ruben Tejada at shortstop? Justin Turner? Angel Pagan leading off? Don’t make me laugh…

This front office already has a daunting task in trying to replace Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez this offseason on top of a dozen other concerns, and you want to add replacing Jose Reyes into that mix?

I’ve already see what this team looks like without Jose Reyes in the lineup, and excuse me for telling you they are dead in the water without him. It will take years and maybe decades before we ever develop another homegrown player like Jose Reyes.

Reyes is probably the best position player the Mets have ever developed in their almost 50 year history. Sure… Let’s just let him walk away… Great idea…

Aug 22

What to do with Pelfrey and Parnell?

It was interesting to hear the Mets are thinking of converting Mike Pelfrey to the closer role. Such a decision touches on two issues, neither of them of an immediate positive nature.

The first, of course, is concerns whether Pelfrey will ever be the dominant starter envisioned of him, and signs of which he flashed last season. The second is their doubts on Bobby Parnell becoming a closer.

PELFREY: Could he be a closer?

Pelfrey has regressed. His command is erratic and he continues to have trouble putting away hitters and closing innings, which is the prime requisite of being a closer, so it  makes me wonder if it will work. Then again, Pelfrey tends to run into trouble the second and third time through the order after hitters have had a chance to look at him. One inning might be the change of scenery he might need. It is definitely worth trying instead of dumping him.

As far as Parnell is concerned, he has trouble in the eighth, so the ninth is alarming.

If the Mets are serious about this, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try the last five weeks of the season. What do they have to lose? After all, does it matter whether they finish in fourth or fifth place in the NL East?

The Mets wanted Parnell to start a couple of years ago, but Jerry Manuel did him a disservice when he yanked him from the rotation when the season was already lost. At the time, Parnell’s problem was commanding his secondary pitches and finding away to work out of jams. He was never going to learn without the opportunity, and when he went back to the bullpen it became easy for him to rely mostly on his fastball.

If there is a possible experiment for Parnell the remainder of the season it could be as a long reliever, where he gets two, maybe three innings.

The Mets’ bullpen is a disaster so looking at Pelfrey is worth a shot. It might provide an indication of what direction to go this winter. With Parnell, there’s not enough time to stretch him out now so if they want to go back to him in the rotation that would be a spring training project.

The Mets don’t figure to spend much this winter again so it doesn’t hurt to look at internal options. There is young talent in the lower minor leagues and Jenrry Mejia is an injury concern, so there’s no immediate help available.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

Aug 21

Mets hope to salvage Milwaukee series behind Dickey

The Mets have had more than their fair share of gut-wrenching defeats this season.

There was the balk-off loss at Atlanta. The back-to-back games where they tied it in the ninth only to lose. But, yesterday’s meltdown to Milwaukee stung like vinegar on a cut.

DICKEY: Trying to stop the slide.

Down six to tie, then lose. It doesn’t get any more frustrating.  When the first two runners reached against Jason Isringhausen you had to know bad things were coming.

You can’t blame this on youth, because the late-inning damage was done against a veteran. Even so, as in most losses there were things that stood out, such as all the walks from Chris Capuano and the inability to hit in the clutch.

There’s only so many times you can talk about heart and grit, and the Mets have those qualities. Unfortunately, over the course of a long season, talent carries more weight.

After a surge that carried them over the .500 mark and even brought wild-card fantasies, the Mets find themselves five games under this afternoon with the R.A. Dickey called upon to stop the bleeding. Last season’s surprise, Dickey has a respectable ERA, but a lack of support has him at 5-11 and a loser in three of his last four decisions.

Today’s lineup will feature:

Angel Pagan, CF

Justin Turner, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, RF

Ruben Tejada, SS

R.A. Dickey, RP

After today, the Mets have back-to-back series against Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his tender left hamstring. Reyes ran to first this morning without difficulty and said he’ll run the bases with more intensity this week and play in a rehab game, perhaps at Buffalo.

 

Aug 20

Bay remains enigma

Jason Bay is back in the lineup for today’s game against Milwaukee following a one-day benching on the heels of an 0-for-20 funk. He might hit a home run today, or two. Or, he could have another 0-for-4 with three punchouts. Not that it matters anymore.

Several months ago, when there was still a worthwhile part of the season left and Jose Reyes at the top of his game, Terry Collins suggested moving Bay to second in the order to get him more fastballs. Collins never moved on it and now that boat has sailed.

Even when Reyes returns his legs won’t be the same and the experiment will be a moot point. The Mets have tried everything with Bay, but his mechanics are so fouled up right now that it seems nothing will work. Maybe Bay will snap out of his funk. Maybe it won’t, but for now it seems no other conclusion can be drawn other than this signing was a bust.

And, there are two more years at $16 million per to endure. Sandy Alderson managed to get takers for Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez. Maybe next year he’ll get lucky again. One can only hope.

Aug 19

Mets begin tough stretch tonight

The Mets open a difficult stretch tonight with three games against Milwaukee, followed by three each against Philadelphia and Atlanta. They are three games below .500, but could be in the NL East basement by the time the month is over.

Considering how they’ve played most of the season, it would be a shame.

Tonight’s Mets’ lineup looks resembles one of those spring training batting orders sent to Fort Myers. David Wright, Angel Pagan and Jose Thole are the only Opening Day starters in tonight’s lineup behind Mike Pelfrey against the Brewers.

Nothing quite says rebuilding like tonight’s lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, 2B

David Wright, 1B

Lucas Duda, 1B

Mike Baxter, RF

Jason Pridie, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Mike Pelfrey, RP

Looking at tonight’s lineup, one can envision it being on the field a lot next year, minus Harris, Baxter and Pridie.

The frequently banged up Justin Turner will sit tonight for the fourth time in seven games. Also, sitting is Jason Bay, who is on an 0-for-20 slide.

Meanwhile, Jose Reyes continues to rehab his strained left hamstring. He’s running straight forward, but not cutting corners or going full throttle.

It isn’t likely Reyes will be activated when he’s eligible, Aug. 23.