Dec 06

Reyes took the money and ran … before pulling another hammy.

I have no problem with Jose Reyes taking the money and running. There are fewer and fewer players who’ll play their entire careers with one organization. Cal Ripken did it. Derek Jeter will do it. I thought Albert Pujols would do it, but I’m not so sure anymore.

REYES: A no brainer decision by him and the Mets.

I can’t even guess the odds on David Wright doing it now.

I never figured Reyes would be one of those players. Early in his career he begged the Mets to give him a long term deal. They did it, to him and Wright, when they didn’t have to. It was a good business decision then, but at the time Reyes was saying how he desperately needed the money for his family. It was a sign he didn’t manage his funds well, and would eventually go for the bucks.

No problem, because that’s the way of the sports world.

There are some interesting things to come out of Reyes signing with the Marlins. While the Mets never gave a formal offer their early conversations with Reyes included a base with incentives – games and plate appearances – that could have pushed it over his magic figure of $100 million. The Marlins’ money is guaranteed, so if Reyes blows out a hamstring and ends up playing 50 games a year for the Miami he’ll still get paid.

Knowing Reyes’ injury history the past three years, the Mets were right to be cautious. So, too, was Reyes. He knows he’s not durable, so it was a no brainer for him to take the guaranteed money.

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Nov 25

Slow developing market for Reyes.

On the biggest shopping day of the year, the Mets are home wondering what to do with their leftovers.

When I read the Kansas City Royals could offer Bruce Chen $9 million, I begin to wonder if it worth being patient. Then I realize there is no other alternative. Jose Reyes could very well get his $100 million, but he won’t get it from the Mets.

The Mets’ stance of letting the market develop for Reyes before jumping in seems to be the philosophy of everybody else. The Marlins were the first one in, and they gave him a relatively low offer compared to what he’s expecting.

The Mets’ well-founded cautious take because of his injury history is also the thinking of everybody else. Rightfully so. This is not a knock on Reyes, but a statement of fact on the situation.

The offers will increase the closer we get to the Winter Meetings, and the Mets will undoubtedly make their tidy “well we gave him a fair proposal“ contract designed for show.

And, the Mets will be right. It would have been a fair proposal. But, when it comes to free agency, fair has nothing to do with it.

 

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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Dec 13

Are you ready to sacrifice 2011?

Sandy Alderson insists the Mets will compete in 2011, but at the same time acknowledges limited resources and holes in the rotation and bullpen. The plan is for those injured to bounce back healthy and the others to play at the top of their game.

Don’t expect Johan Santana before the All-Star break at the earliest. We’ve known since he joined the organization this would be the case, but it is sinking in after coming home with scraps from the winter meetings. Yes, the Mets needed a back-up catcher and another bullpen arm, but that’s not enough to get it done.

Alderson said today he’d like seven or eight arms to compete for starter roles but came up with only Mike Pelfrey, RA Dickey, John Niese, Dillon Gee and Pat Misch. Jenrry Mejia, he said, isn’t ready. Alderson didn’t say where the other arms would come from. Chris Young is somebody they are looking at, but he’s a project and wants more than what the Mets want to give.

Everything has to break right for the Mets to have a competitive season. That much Alderson has told us. He just hasn’t said how this is to happen.

Dec 06

Winter Meetings open with stunning Werth deal

Nobody saw this one coming. Jayson Werth was going to stay in Philly or go to Boston. He would make his money, but $126 million over seven years from the Washington Nationals was completely off the radar.

WERTH: Mets shouldn't be swayed by deal.

Losing Werth weakens the Phillies, but they are resilient, willing to spend and will find a way to replace him. No tears shed there. As for the Nationals, he can’t help but make them better, but this is a team that just lost Adam Dunn so are they upgrading the offense that much?

Werth is good player, but how much of that production comes from hitting in Philadelphia’s bandbox and the protection afforded him in that lineup? Not sure he’ll do the same for the Nationals.

Word is the Nationals aren’t done and are willing to throw money after pitching, notably Carl Pavano.

We know the Mets aren’t as good as Philly, Atlanta and probably the Marlins. Now the Nationals are making noises like they want to escape the NL East cellar. Sad to say, but they just might be the yardstick the Mets will measure themselves by in the near future.

Washington’s aggressiveness is being noted by the Mets, but hopefully they will stay the course and give Sandy Alderson’s blueprint time to develop. Trying to keep up with the Joneses with foolish spending is what got the Mets into trouble in the first place.

Mets fans have been clamoring for change since the end of the 2007 season when the team blew a seven game lead with 17 to play. There has been no structured plan for development the past three years as the Mets approached each offseason with a piecemeal approach.

This time, the Mets are trying patience and trying to build from the bottom up. That’s been the party line and Alderson has not wavered and suggested this team will be competitive by throwing large sums of money at players.

There is a lot of work to do, and most of it will come next winter after Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and probably Francisco Rodriguez are off the books. That’s when the spending will come. For now, it’s evaluating, minor moves and hoping players stay healthy as the way to go for 2011.

It’s tempting to watch the Nationals and give in to the spending impulse, but in the long term that’s not the way to go.

We’ve wanted a front office with vision, organization and planning for three years now. We now have one, so let’s give them the time to get it done, no matter how much spending goes on this week.