With the news that Jose Reyes and the Marlins are getting closer and closer to reaching a deal, it may become time to seriously consider what life for the New York Mets will be like without Jose Reyes.
It is highly unlikely that Reyes or any other big name free agent will sign until the new CBA is in place, but the two sides could easily put together a deal that is just waiting to be signed.
Letting Reyes leave and play for the Florida Marlins speaks a lot about the future of the franchise. The move could have implications for David Wright’s future with the Mets as well.
When looking at Wright’s future with the Mets, there are two separate and important ways that it needs to be looked it. For one, the Mets are still a business and the Wilpons want to put fans in the seats. The second consideration is in regard to when the Mets will once again be competitive.
Losing Jose Reyes will certainly irk a large part of the fan base. It would not be surprising to see season ticket sales for 2012 slump after Reyes leaves. He is an incredibly exciting player and was able to put fans in the seats even while the Mets were struggling to play .500 baseball.
The Mets finished 14th in the MLB in attendance in 2011 as they averaged 30,108 fans per game at Citi Field. They could find themselves slipping even further down the list without Reyes.
Given the financial implications of losing Reyes, the Mets would need to think long and hard before they decide to move Wright. If the Mets were to trade Wright, it would completely alienate the fanbase. The growing discontent with the Wilpons would soar to unimaginable levels.
Without Wright and Reyes, the Mets would likely find themselves in the bottom third of the MLB for attendance. While the Wilpons would save money by not paying Wright and Reyes, they will lose a ton of money from the loss of ticket, parking, food and merchandise revenues.
There is also the other side of the coin, which involves the Mets and their competitiveness in the NL East.
Reyes was a key part of the Mets team in 2011 and without him, the Mets are a much worse team than the one that won 77 games in 2011.
The Mets had an opportunity to trade Reyes at the trade deadline this summer and pick up at least one, if not two, very good prospects. Instead, they held on to him and they will only get a draft pick as compensation.
It seems likely that the Mets will be entering a sort of rebuilding mode this winter. Their rotation is questionable and they will have a number of spots in their lineup that need to be filled.
There are a number of prospects in the Mets’ minor league system that can help the team, but they are almost all a few years away from the majors. Should they lose Reyes, the Mets likely won’t be playoff contenders until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest.
Given that Wright’s contract expires after the 2013 season, the Mets should take a serious look at dealing him this winter. His value will not be any higher since his 2013 option is voided if he is dealt.
There are a number of teams that would have significant interest in Wright and the Mets should be able to get an impressive return for him. The prospects that the Mets could get would be part of the next competitive team that the Mets put on the field.
However, if the Mets are planning on building around Wright, they should hold on to him. The team should be fully committed to trying to extend Wright if they are to take this approach.
Consideration should certainly be given to moving Wright if Reyes will not be a member of the Mets in 2012. At the moment, the Mets direction is uncertain and it seems as if they are driving on a back road and they are without a map. The team needs to find a direction and quickly.
There are two very different strategies that could play out.
One is that the team deals Wright, gets a few top prospects, struggles for the next two years and then is competitive starting in 2014 and has a new core of players to building around.
The alternative is that the Mets hold on to Wright and pick up a few pieces to support him. In this scenario, the Mets would be a very mediocre team for the next two years and could potentially sneak into the playoffs as the wild card. With this approach, the Mets will face the same decision with Wright during the 2013 offseason that they faced with Reyes this winter.
Which one of these two very different options is better? It is up to the Wilpons to decide and one must hope that they make the right choice.