Heading into this offseason, fans of the New York Mets are on pins and needles about whether or not the team will bring back superstar SS Jose Reyes. Reyes, one of the team's staples and few homegrown talents that have succeeded at the major league level, is a fan favorite. The Mets have allowed their exclusive window to negotiate with Reyes to pass without so much as a whisper of an offer. What does that mean for the Mets?? Bye-bye Jose.
Reyes is too talented a player for teams to let pass. He is a five-tool player, who can single-handedly alter the outcomes of baseball games. This last season was his best in his career, winning the batting title and being a MVP candidate for the first-half of the season. Teams like the Giants, Red Sox, Nationals, Marlins, Angels and Orioles are all teams that can ante-up come pay day. Reyes will most likely demand a contract in the range of $110-120 million over 5-7 years. While some teams might be hesitant to meet those demands, letting a player like Reyes slip through their fingers will eventually figure in him being paid.
While Reyes will be donning another uniform next season, most New York Mets fans will be wringing their hands in frustration and anger. How can a team playing in New York not afford one of the games most exciting and talented players? How does a team struggling to draw fans to come to Citifield expect them to spend money on season tickets without Reyes?
Who knows what the Mets are thinking overall. Ever since the Wilpons were taken by Madoff, the details of how much money this organization lost vary from source to source. One thing is for certain, the fans of this franchise have been abused ever since Carlos Beltran went down looking in Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS. Starting with their incredible choke-job of letting a seven-game lead with 17 games left to disappear in 2007 - all while playing six of those games against the weakest team in the NL. Simply put, the Mets organization has been a black mark on the sports world.
Few, however, would have thought that the Mets would slip to such an embarrassing low. The ones who have paid the most - in money and heartbreak - have been the fans, who the front office is saying "too bad" of the prospect of being a competitive team for the next 5-10 years. Without signing Reyes, a 27-year old who is the best everyday player this organization has ever produced, is a slap in the face to anyone with a education. While the Mets scream poverty, they still will have enough money to spend on a player that can single-handedly win games in many different ways. If you can't spend money on a player with the talent of Reyes, a SS who is in the prime of his career, who then can you justify spending money on? Everything fits for the Mets to reward Reyes with a justified contract, but sadly the Mets will let another team reap the rewards of getting one of the best all-around players in the game.
Moving forward, I have heard from literally thousands of Mets fans, who are basing the future of their team with this transaction. Sadly, the front office could care less. This is the same front office that offered little solace to their fans after another late season collapse in 2008- combined with celebrating the mediocre (at best) history of the teams 45 years at Shea Stadium AFTER their loss to the Marlins that eliminated them on the final day of the 2008 season. The same front office that after that debacle thought that a new stadium would erase the humiliation their fans suffered from those collapses; something that every Mets fan I have talked to will NEVER forgive them for.
Already having those strikes against them, the organization brought in Sandy Alderson, after Omar Minaya burned the place to the ground. Alderson and the fans were promised by Fred Wilpon, who now makes Tommy Flanagan look like George Washington, that the team spending would NOT be affected the by mess the Wilpons have gotten into with Madoff, something his son said in May also. “He’ll have all the opportunity in the world to bring anybody he wants in,...” While the Wilpons might think their fan base is stupid, and by rooting for an organization like the Mets, they are somewhat guilty - most are not as ignorant as they think. The fans are fully aware at the lies and broken promises the front office has thrown at them, something the fans are fed up with.
It will be interesting to see how the Wilpons react to the decision not to resign Reyes once it becomes official. Amazingly, this front office continues to live in never-never land, thinking that fans will be patient with this new regime. Things will be VERY ugly for this franchise moving forward, as the white flag that they are raising by allowing Reyes to leave will never be forgiven by an already demoralized and stepped on fan base. Mets fans are sick of being laughed at by fans of the Yankees, Braves and Phillies. Now add the Marlins and even the Nationals to that group, and being a Mets fan will become comparable to rooting for Charlie Brown - with the exception that Charlie Brown has pity, while the Mets only have scorn.
The fans are trying to send a clear message to the organization. One of contempt and hope at the same time. Contempt in the fact that they would dare to not resign one of the most popular players in team history, at the prime of his career, and hope at the fact that they could not possibly miss the importance that Reyes will have to the morale of a beleaguered fan base. One thing is for certain however, the Mets will lose countless fans that will never return if Reyes is allowed to leave. It is hard to imagine an organization being this clueless, but those who have followed the almost criminal efforts of the Mets front office the last few years, are not shocked. The fans, however, have had enough, and losing Reyes will be the final straw.