Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cleaning House and the fate of Jose Reyes

Let me start by saying that there is an fan event, details here on facebook, whose sole purpose is to show anyone watching (i.e. management, television, other fans) that Mets fans want Jose Reyes to be a Met for a long time to come. I support the cause, but since it's a Friday night, I probably won't be out in Queens for the game (it's Friday June 3, the 7:10pm game against Atlanta; and it's a schlep from NJ for a weeknight game). The event is being organized by one of the most die-hard Mets fans I've ever met, Donna Bauer. According to the facebook event page, meet the group outside the rotunda before the game (4:30 to 6pm) and on the Shea Bridge in the top of the 5th.

Now, a lot has been written and spoken lately - really all speculation - about an upcoming fire sale of the Mets roster. Let me say this...I fully support it. In some ways, it's just wrong that a pro sports team in a major league based in New York has to go through with a fire sale, but in the case of the Mets, I think it's necessary. Not so much for the sake of shrinking the payroll, but more for the sake of cutting away the losers wearing Mets uniforms, as well as other players that just aren't practically part of the future of the organization.

There's still a handfull of "core players" leftover from the Mets teams that suffered through a playoff collapse in 2006 (I still say that not scoring in the bottom of the 6th in Game 7 against the Cardinals was a downward turning point for this franchise), the divsion-leading collapses of 2007 and 2008, and the utter failure of a season in 2009. I would trade away the leader of the pack - David Wright - as well as free agent-to-be Carlos Beltran. I would look to cut Francisco Rodriguez, even though he's preformed pretty well this year. I'd even look to trade Mike Pelfrey.

But there's one name that I left off that list. I know he's been injured in the past, but when he's on, he's explosive. This type of dynamic player just doesn't come around that often. That is Jose Reyes. Lots of people schooled in what the Mets are thinking have speculated that Jose Reyes will not even finish this season as a member of the New York Mets. He's a free agent looking to make big money this offseason, and it's money that the Mets just don't seem to have.

But if the Mets are hoping to compete in the future, they need their long-time catalyst. So why does everyone want to save him and not David Wright (Wright isn't even a free agent this offseason)? Well, let me draw this picture for you for Reyes, as just one example of "why". Lots of people have said that Citi Field is just too big. I think for Reyes, it's too small. I've noticed him legging out triples with ease at Citi Field (the way others get doubles). I think if the ballpark were a little bit bigger, Reyes would actually be able to turn 3rd and try for 4 bases a few times a season. With this Mets offense, Reyes needs to find a way to score on his own because guys like David Wright just aren't bringing him in very much.

And that leads me to the loser fan-annointed leader of this club, David Wright. The thought process is simple with him. He was the clutch guy and face of the team for all these bad years. And the word clutch should be in quotes because he just isn't. Maybe he's had undisclosed injuries (and I'll excuse what happened after he was beaned in the head 2 years ago) that have affected his play (throwing and hitting). Heck, it's widely thought that he has one now (caused by hustle, so it's not all bad, but we had to learn it from the manager's speculation almost 2 weeks after the fact, and not from the player saying i'm banged up and I need a day off). With Wright, and I think I've said this before, I say that the Mets have played bad with him, so they can play bad without him.

The end result of all this -- I think the Mets will dance around the bottom of contention until one of two things happens:
  1. the Wilpons need money and have to start selling off players now (that would only work in the supposed case that another team takes on the salary for the remainder of the season, which I had kept hearing wasn't gonna happen). That goes along with a rumor I saw on facebook today about a Memorial Day sale in Flushing.
  2. the Trade Deadline approaches and Sandy Alderson takes a reality check that the Mets are just short of serious contention, and it's time to start making trades for the sake of getting young players and draft picks in return for free agents that you won't be signing in the offseason because there's a need for new blood and less money to be spent. Now I know that there is some compensation for some types of free agents not being re-signed (though I don't know all the rules, nor do I know who on the Mets fits into that bucket), but making trades is better. It's kind of like being an organ donor. Especially if it's to a team that can beat the Yankees or Phillies.
But for now, let's try and send a message to management that while purging and rebuilding is a necessary step in making the Mets into winners again, it's important to keep the fans in the stands (they're having enough trouble with that with the current team as it is and the stadium layed out the way it is), and a big step into doing that is to keep Jose Reyes around for a long time (and I don't mean until this August).

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