Jose Reyes and the New York Mets Approaching a Crossroads
This is definitely one of those moments where you can take a step back and remember why you are a New York Mets fan. The Mets just put the finishing touches on a 14-3 victory against the Detroit Tigers. Jason Bay, of all people, hit a grand slam which snapped a nearly 23-month-long grand slam draught for the Amazins. They are above .500 for the first time since April.
Two of the most exciting players to watch, David Wright and Ike Davis, have been injured for weeks, yet somehow the play on the field is more exciting than any of us could have hoped for coming into the year.
And although they are in striking distance of the wild-card spot, albeit very early on still, the most exciting thing going on with the team right now is what is going to happen to Jose Reyes. Dead serious, this is one of the most compelling conundrums I can remember any team having to face in over 20 years of being a baseball fan. And of course, it happens to our Mets.
Enter Sandy Alderson. An ex-marine, Harvard-trained lawyer and proven successful general manager, Alderson is disciplined, unemotional, analytical and respected. Fred Wilpon, who has done very little right since 1986, recruits Alderson to help make his baseball team good. Alderson agrees to do so.
Wilpon proceeds to find himself in the middle of the biggest financial scandal in human history. Alderson does not flinch. Wilpon proceeds to publicly alienate all of his best players. Alderson does not flinch.
What should the Mets do with Jose Reyes?
Now less than a year into his tenure with the team, and while navigating the obstacle course that comes with being a member of the Mets organization, Alderson has to make a decision that will likely shape the fate of the franchise for the next decade. This decision will define his legacy with the team. If he fails, he will join a long line of men who have been unable to alleviate the pain of a suffering, yet consistently passionate, fan base. If he succeeds…let’s not even go there, it’s nearly unthinkable at this point.
With every hit, every triple, every stolen base, every rocket throw from short to first, Reyes is increasing his value higher than it ever has been. As his value climbs, so do the stakes for Sandy.
It is highly unlikely the Mets will be able to give him the money he will command on the open market, especially after Wilpon’s comments have probably destroyed any loyalty Reyes might have felt to the team that has nurtured him.
Though they are close right now, without three of their best players (Wright, Davis and Johan Santana), it still seems unlikely that the Mets will be able to eke out a playoff berth this season. Not trading Reyes, and then not being able to sign him at the end of the year, would be an unmitigated disaster. Trading him and having whatever group of prospects they get back not pan out, would likely cause riots in the streets of Flushing.
Even though, as Mets fans, we have been conditioned to expect the worst, look at it this way: At least Omar Minaya won’t be the one steering the ship through these impossibly rocky waters.
Moreover, neither will Jim Duquette. When it is all said and done, we won’t have to watch Victor Zambrano , Billy Taylor or Mel Rojas pitch. At the same time, we also might not get to watch the most exciting player in baseball.
My pulse is racing trying to untangle this knot with my brain. I take solace that a smarter man than me is in charge of figuring it out.
The Phillies have the best record in baseball. The Braves are the Braves. The Nationals look like they are going to be scary good in a few years. Davey Johnson will be coaching games against the Mets this year! That alone is mind blowing.
I expected to be bored to death by this season. Who could have imagined this would turn out to be such an exciting time to be a Mets fan? The stakes are high and that’s a very good thing. Sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s going to be a wild few months.
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