A couple of years ago, Reyes was about as untouchable as anyone to ever put on a Mets uniform. Where he went, the team went with him. If he was on base, the offense would usually thrive. If he wasn't getting on base, the bats would quiet.
A few years later, some of the rumored deals look pretty tasty.
Let's face the facts. The Mets have won one division title with Jose Reyes as their starting shortstop for six years. One NL East banner. No World Series. No NL Pennants.
Jose Reyes' value, in my opinion, is a lot higher with teams who don't have a great shortstop. They may even value him even more than the Mets do. Why?
Because they've seen the damage he can do. And shortstops like Jose Reyes don't grow on trees.
But if the Red Sox came along in January or February and offered you Jed Lowrie (replacement shortstop for the moment), Jacoby Ellsbury (replacement leadoff hitter), and Clay Buchholz (young starter to put in the already young rotation that we should see going into 2010), shouldn't the Mets do that?
Doesn't that make them better?
This was a rumored deal that the Red Sox pulled off the table. But if they don't make the playoffs, they will certainly be looking to upgrade their offense, and that will come from the shortstop position that they haven't been able to fill for years.
I understand Jed Lowrie may not be the most likeable candidate to replace Reyes, but you'd have to believe J.J. Hardy's stock has fallen so much in Milwaukee that obtaining him wouldn't be too pricy.
Let's look at the Mets' potential 2010 lineup if the Reyes and Hardy trades went through:
Now let's look at it without:
LF Pagan? Best option we have right now.
With the non-Reyes lineup, we improve our team dramatically from the one to six spots without dipping into the free agent pool. The lineup with Reyes is fine, but then once you get to the sixth spot, you have no clue who is going to hit there, or even play left field.
With the proposed Reyes trade, you eliminate question marks, strengthen the length of your order, and even improve the rotation if Buchholz can slide in. Jed Lowrie would be a nice complement off the bench, as well.
It's hard to contemplate trading someone as lovable as Reyes. I still remember his first game as a Met. His first home run as a Met. It'd be hard to see someone we watched grow up on the baseball field move on.
But if his talent is such that we're good with him, but better off if we trade him for a boatload of talent all around the diamond, I think it's a move that may have to be made.