Reyes, along with third baseman David Wright, has been the face of the Mets for the past half-decade, and while he's still in the prime of his career, it might be a good idea for the Mets to make Reyes available and trade him now.
Reyes has had a surprisingly high number of injuries during his nine-year career, and he does happen to play an extremely demanding defensive position.
There was the sprained ankle his rookie year, a strained hamstring in ’04, a calf injury and torn hamstring that caused him to miss three-quarters of the season in ’09 and nagging injuries that kept him out for half of ’10 as well.
Even this year, he’s visited the DL for a hamstring injury, which makes three straight seasons in the prime of his career that he’s been injured.
He’s only 28, but given how many years he’s been in the major leagues, Reyes has a lot of mileage on him. If he’s having injury problems already, they’re likely not going to get any better.
And coupled with his defensive position, Reyes is the type of player who may be a stretch to still play shortstop—or at least effectively—when he reaches his 30s.
There’s never a better time to trade a star player than in the midst of a career year, and Reyes is having that career year at the perfect time.
He’s been arguably the best player in the National League this season, with a .349/.392/.522 statline to go with 16 triples, 30 stolen bases and an adjusted OPS of 154.
FanGraphs rates Reyes as having accumulated 5.3 wins above the replacement level player at his position this year, by far the best total in the NL in 2011 (and third in the major leagues).
Last year, Reyes stole 30 bases in 133 games. This year he already has 30, and it’s barely past the All-Star break.
He’s a .291 career hitter who is leading the NL with a .349 batting average. His 16 triples put him on pace for one of the highest single-season totals in the modern era. He’s also leading the NL in hits, and his .914 OPS is over 70 points higher than any other year of his career.
That’s not to say Reyes is having a fluke year. He’s always been a remarkable player, if not even underrated, but he is simply playing out of this world this year, and it would be a great idea for the Mets to deal him while he’s at his all-time high.
The Mets were a World Series contender in ’06, and although they suffered late-season collapses in both ’07 and ’08, they still were a team that could challenge for the NL East every year.
Those seasons are gone now. The Mets showed in ’09 and ’10 and even this year that they are not ready to compete for a playoff spot.
Johan Santana is coming off surgery and hasn’t pitched yet this year. K-Rod was just dealt to the Brewers. Carlos Beltran could be traded any day now. Carlos Delgado is gone. David Wright is hitting just .226 with six home runs.
These Mets just aren’t ready to compete, and holding onto Reyes isn’t going to get them anywhere this year.
As I mentioned in the previous slide, the Mets are not built to win now. Jose Reyes isn’t going to make the difference between the team winning the World Series this year and making the playoffs.
Barring an absolutely miraculous late-season run, this team is not going anywhere.
Trading Reyes would give the Mets some prospects to groom and hopefully help the team become a contender again within a few years. Reyes is a dynamite player, and the Mets could get a lot for him.
Reyes is in the final year of a five-year, $33.75 million contract. At the rate at which he’s been playing, he’s going to command a nine-figure salary.
He could get $100 million to $125 million, and the Mets would be foolish to invest that kind of money in Reyes, even as good of a player as he is. Plus, if the Mets wait until the end of the season and wanted to re-sign him, they would have to compete against other teams to pay him.
Trading Reyes now would guarantee they at least get something for him.