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 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.

Jul 31

Analyzing where the Mets stand today.

If the Mets were truly in a fire sale mode there was more they could have done prior to the 4:00 p.m., trade deadline. As a competitive team that to many overachieved through July, the Mets had plenty of chips they could have played to bolster their depth.

Chris Capuano and Jason Isringhausen both could help a contender, but are the types of players the Mets would need to plug in next season Capuano has been effective and warrants a chance to pitch for a spot in the rotation next spring.

Like all teams, the Mets need a closer, and unless Bobby Parnell makes progress the remaining two months – and during spring training – who is to say Isringhausen won’t get that chance for one more season? His potential to contribute in that forum likely exceeds whom he might have brought it. Isringhausen becomes even more important to the Mets when one watches Parnell struggle as he did this afternoon in Washington.

The one Met I thought might go was outfielder Scott Hairston, who homered twice this afternoon at Washington. He would have been perfect as a spot starter or pinch hitter, which is why Atlanta made a late run at him. But, with Beltran gone and questions persist surrounding the Mets’ outfield, there’s nothing wrong with having him around another year.

There’s something different about the make-up of this Mets’ team that was missing in previous seasons when the playoffs were not an option with two months remained in the summer. Then, there was nothing to play for. Now, they are playing to build a foundation.

Manager Terry Collins has impressed to his team these Mets are being seriously evaluated for 2012. When he said the Mets are trying to win as many games as possible, while the wild-card remains a long shot creating a winning chemistry is not out of the realm of possibility.

With today’s loss, the Mets are 7.5 games behind Atlanta for the wild-card with three teams they must leapfrog.

The Mets probably had a better chance to make a late wild-card run had they kept Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, but with October a distance away, they made the right trade decisions to prepare themselves for the future in that they freed salary and acquired a power arm to develop.

In the interim, this team has played shorthanded, but with a grit and intensity is worth building around. Hopefully, their offensive deficiencies created by losing Beltran could be offset with David Wright’s return from the disabled list. Then again, we’re always waiting for Jason Bay to hit.

So far, Isringhausen and others have offset losing Rodriguez in the bullpen.

When teams talk fire sales usually there are more bodies leaving than just Rodriguez and Beltran.  What remains intact is something for the Mets to build on, as what we have now is not the sign of desperation we envisioned coming out of spring training.

 

Jul 22

Wright to return tonight; won’t be enough.

The Mets expect David Wright back in the lineup, hitting fourth behind Carlos Beltran tonight in Florida. Beltran, on the trade block, isn’t expected to be dealt by game time, but his days as a Met are getting shorter. Getting Wright back will not change GM Sandy Alderson’s thinking regarding Beltran.

The All-Star outfielder is drawing considerable interest, and he’s playing at a rate where he’ll likely command a prospect, not a throwaway player.

WRIGHT: Back of DL tonight.

Wright went on the disabled list May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. He sustained the injury nearly a month earlier.

Even though the Mets have played shorthanded, they managed to tread water. However, the Phillies and Braves have opened up sizeable leads in the NL East and wild-card races that make competing difficult and the Mets are in trade mode.

They’ve already unloaded Francisco Rodriguez and are actively shopping Beltran. Beltran said he’s like to stay with the Mets, but it is all public relations.

Even should Beltran stay, Wright’s return will not greatly improve their status, regardless of what some players believe.

“You forget what he brings, because this has been our team for so long,’’ Jason Bay said. “It’s almost like we’re making a trade. We’re getting a premier player, adding an impact bat, and even though he’s our own guy. It’s going to be big for us.’’

Players say that all the time when a player comes off the disabled list, but even with Wright the Mets didn’t have enough parts, especially on the mound.

If history is an indication, Wright will need a monster night to overcome the disappointing Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA.

If you think that’s bad, consider he’s 1-7 lifetime against the Marlins, including seven straight losses in his last 13 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten Florida since July 8, 2006.

 

Jul 15

Would sweeping the Phillies make a difference regarding Beltran?

Even should the Mets sweep the Phillies, I’m not buying it will have a great impact on what Sandy Alderson does  with Carlos Beltran. If he gets a deal, he’ll take it, regardless of where the Mets are in the standings.

Make no mistake, the Mets are in the rebuilding mode Alderson vowed when he came to town. The Mets are playing better than anticipated, which has shed a different light on things in the eyes of the fans, but hasn’t altered Alderson’s plan.

The trade of Francisco Rodriguez, and the possible trading of Beltran, has been met with more resistance than expected largely because of the Mets playing .500 ball and Jose Reyes’ strong first half. Those two things have given the impression of the Mets being a contender, but they still have the same issues as they had coming out of spring training.