Oct 29

Light up the Hot Stove season.

When David Murphy’s fly ball nestled into Allen Craig’s glove last night to end one of the most compelling World Series in history, the partying was ratcheted up a notch in St. Louis, but the Hot Stove Season began everywhere else.

Over the next five days, the Mets hold an exclusive negotiating window with their free agents: Jose Reyes, Chris Capuano, Scott Hairston, Chris Young, Miguel Batista, Jason Isringhausen and Dale Thayer.

REYES: What's he thinking?

 

Of the group, the most likely to return is Capuano, who should be a priority because of the Mets’ thin rotation. The others are interchangeable among the 200 or so free agents that will hit the market.

Reyes, of course, is the one drawing the most interest here, but the Mets won’t complete a deal in this window as the shortstop is determined to test the market and history tells us this won’t get done until December after the Winter Meetings.

At the end of the season I posted the Mets’ ceiling for Reyes should be four years at no more than $20 million a season, and I see no reason to back off that sentiment. I’d actually go lower, say $17 million.

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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 12

Dillon Gee is this year’s surprise

In forecasting the Mets’ 2012 rotation, there has to be a spot for Dillon Gee, just as this year’s staff held a role for R.A. Dickey as the result of this out-of-nowhere season.

GEE: This year's surprise goes tonight.

Chris Young’s injury was the opportunity Gee needed to build on his designation as an organizational arm to one with a future.

Gee, tonight’s starter at Arizona, has impressed with his guile and ability to challenge hitters. He gives no quarter and so far has been exceptional in spotting his 90 mph. fastball to set up his changeup, which is his best pitch.

“When I look at my stuff on video, I say, `Hey, it’s average,’ ’’ Gee said earlier this season. “But, guys tell me my changeup is a plus-plus pitch.’’

Catcher Josh Thole said Gee’s control carried him in the minors and has stayed with him on this level, but has deserted him recently as he has walked 12 over his last four starts.

Gee, of course, will carry into next season the specter of whether he can duplicate what he’s accomplished. The same questions were asked of Mike Pelfrey this spring.

Gee and Niese have been the Mets’ most effective pitchers. Pelfrey remains an enigma, Dickey can be upgraded and Johan Santana’s remains a question. Chris Capuano has been effective at times and should be brought back.

As they did last year, the Mets will explore the free-agent market for middle-tier arms, such as Jon Garland. There is talent in the minor leagues, but it is at least two years away.

 

Aug 08

Damn, maybe they are cursed.

I don’t believe in curses, I really don’t. But, with the Mets, they make you wonder.

Daniel Murphy sustained a Grade 2 MCL tear yesterday. He wasn’t even in the starting lineup, but entered late and left soon after when the Braves’ Jose Costanza slid into his left knee at second base. He’s done for the season. No surgery, but four months of recovery time.

MURPHY: Gone for year.

The way Murphy was hitting it appeared he turned the corner and all the Mets had to do was find a place for him. This is twice now where he’s been injured at second base, so that’s not his sweet spot.

At this timetable, Murphy won’t begin rehabbing until January, so we have no idea if he’ll be ready for spring training.

Meanwhile, Reyes, who missed 16 games with a strained left hamstring last month, reinjured the hammy running out a ball in the first inning.

If the same level of injury landed Reyes on the DL last time, it’s probably a decent assumption to think the same now. In any case, he won’t be playing soon.

Yesterday, I suggested Reyes was returning to earth with his injury and subsequent slump. There’s no reason to pull off that now.

Reyes has had hamstring problems at various times during his career, playing in just 54 games in 2004 and being limited to 36 in 2009. Yes, he had that stretch from 2006-08, but in seeking a long term contract they look at the recent injury history.

The injuries to Reyes and Murphy are two of many to the 2011 Mets, who are without Johan Santana – perhaps for the season – and another starter, Chris Young, for the year. David Wright missed two months with a stress fracture to his lower back, and Ike Davis is likely done for the year with an ankle injury which could require surgery.

On the lower levels, Fernando Martinez and Jenrry Mejia have all missed significant playing – and developing – time.

Ironically, as the Mets face losing Reyes to free-agency, this injury could enhance their chances. That is, if they want to take the risk. Should Reyes miss a significant amount of more time, his price could dip to where the Mets could be players.

But, do they want to bring back a guy who can’t stay on the field?

 

May 26

Dickey injured; DL expected.

The news isn’t encouraging for R.A. Dickey, who traveled back to New York this evening with crutches and a boot on his right foot after injuring his Achilles heel.

DICKEY: DL expected.

Dickey described the feeling as if he stepped on a spike, and the club is expected to place him on the disabled list tomorrow. Pat Misch, who hasn’t pitched well since being promoted, is Dickey’s logical replacement in the bullpen.

Another possibility is Chris Schwinden, but manager Terry Collins didn’t mention D.J. Carrasco, who opened the season on the 25-man roster.

Depth was always going to be an issue in the rotation, and the Mets are now without two of their Opening Day starters in Dickey and Chris Young. Don’t forget, the team is also minus Johan Santana, and Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese haven’t been effective.