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 ┬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.

 

Nov 11

What about Trevor Hoffman?

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

In a previous thread, Dave wondered about Trevor Hoffman. Well, what about him?

The San Diego Padres are rebuilding and withdrew a contract offer to Hoffman. The Mets, however, playing in New York, aren’t in a rebuilding mode despite being old in several areas.

They call it retooling.

So, should they “retool” with Hoffman if they aren’t able to land a marquee closer in the free-agent market? Hoffman is 41, and signing him does nothing about breaking away from Omar Minaya’s reputation for signing older players.

The Padres pulled off the table a one-year, $4 million deal, with a $4 million option for 2010. That’s not a lot of money. Hoffman converted 30 of 34 save opportunities, including 16 straight during one stretch.

Assuming Hoffman is willing to come to New York, and there’s been nothing written indicating he doesn’t want to, he would presumably fill the closer void until Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz are ready. That’s a plus.

Said agent Rick Thurman: “He’s a free agent. So many teams consider him to be a San Diego Padre. Not a lot of teams took him very seriously as a free agent. We’ll find out very shortly. A lot of teams need a closer. He’s the cream of the closers, and we’ll see what teams have interest in him.”

Last year’s numbers indicates he can still get the job done, but his age will be a concern, because you have to wonder when will the breakdown start?

Signing him does nothing about getting the Mets younger, but it does buy time for Parnell and Kunz, and gives them a mentor. It also addresses a need at a reasonable cost and enables them to spend most of their money on starting pitching.

While the first impression would be his age, remember the priority is winning and he’s a plus toward that goal. I know there’s not a groundswell for bringing in a 41-year-old closer, but if he makes them better it’s something they should consider.