Apr 24

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  be 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.

 

Apr 16

Jason Bay In Mets Lineup

Serves me right for guessing. I posted earlier I didn’t think Jason Bay would play tonight in Atlanta, but he’s in there. From what I heard, I didn’t think he would be ready, but after testing his hand he was able to grip the bat so he’s good to go.

Maybe he’ll have the same success David Wright had in his return.

Here’s the order behind Dillon Gee:

Ruben Tejada, ss

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Ike Davis, 1b

Jason Bay, lf

Lucas Duda, rf

Josh Thole, c

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, cf

Dillon Gee, rhp

Apr 15

David Wright Sizzles As Mets Go For Philly Sweep

I didn’t think David Wright should have played yesterday. Still think it was a gamble, but obviously one that paid off for him and the Mets.

Wright homered on the first pitch thrown to him and he’ll try to stay hot against Cole Hamels, a pitcher he has owned with a .308 average, three doubles, a triple and two homers lifetime against him.

Wright took BP yesterday, said he was ready and then started raking.

“I felt good,” Wright said. “I got a little confidence after the first at-bat. I felt real good in the cage earlier. I wouldn’t have gone out there if I didn’t think I can contribute.”

After missing much of spring training with a strained side muscle, Wright is off to a fast start at 10-for-17 and at least one RBI in every game he has played. He has 16 homers in Philly, so the Mets really wanted him in the lineup.

The Mets go for the sweep today behind a pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, who is as cold in Philly as Wright is hot. Pelfrey has given up nine homers in eight starts in Philly as is coming off a poor first outing of the season when he was tagged for 10 hits in a 5.2 no-decision against Washington.

Apr 14

R.A. Dickey Pitches Big With Mets At Precarious Time

After two ugly losses, David Wright headed for the DL and the team headed for Philadelphia then Atlanta, the Mets are at a precarious time in the young season. Sometimes I can be glass half empty guy, but these are the Mets and you’ve seen it happen, too.

DICKEY: Pitches big when Mets needed him most.

With Cliff Lee dealing for the Phillies, I envisioned the worst last night, even after – surprise, surprise – Jason Bay homered in the first. But, R.A. Dickey came up with his 14th straight quality start.

Whether last night gets the Mets going again or delays the inevitable remains to be seen, but it was fun to watch.

As far as Bay goes, I’m reading anything into the homer. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

Bay did say this is a “big time” for him, and he’s right. He’s been a bust so far, and even should he have two big seasons, is that enough to salvage the contract?

I’m not sure it does, but if he has a good season in could make the last year more palatable and possibly make him easier to move. Have to keep a positive thought, right?