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The Shame of Losing Jose Reyes

The Shame of Losing Jose Reyes

The Shame of Losing Jose Reyes

We all knew this day was coming, but for Mets fans it still hurts knowing that Jose Reyes will no longer be playing shortstop at Citi Field. Once the Marlins crossed the $100 million dollar threshold, it was game, set, match for the Reyes sweepstakes.

Clearly, giving Reyes a 6-year deal and an option comes with risk. He’s missed about 40% of games the last three seasons. The Reyes we saw from 2006-2008, who is worth more than $17 million a year, hasn’t shown his face around these parts in a long time. Will he show up in Miami? You already have heard talk about “measures” he is going to take to preserve his hamstring; sounds like we will see more of the post-All Star Reyes, than before it. That player is not someone you build the franchise around.

We could debate good or bad contract. Everyone has their opinion, and based on the lack of a market, many teams do not believe Jose Reyes is worth the price. The fact that Boston, Chicago, or even Washington didn’t at least tempt him with matching the offer tells you a lot. That fact should not shield the reality the Wilpons didn’t have the ability to match this offer. A team that plays in a brand new ballpark and has a Regional Sports Network, as well as a history of fan support in excess of 3 million, couldn’t compete with a team that sports uniforms from the BASEketball movie and is facing a federal investigation.

Adam Rubin said it best when he pointed to four individuals- Bud Selig, Bernie Madoff, Omar Minaya, and the Wilpons- who are responsible for this mess. This all starts and ends with the Wilpons, but the fact that Bud Selig has allowed this charade to continue is abhorrent. I have said all along that Selig has swept much of his dirt under the rug. The investigation of the Marlins by the SEC might finally reveal what a corrupt leader he’s been for the sport.

Want to get sick? If the Mets were in bankruptcy like the Dodgers, they probably could have signed Reyes. The Dodgers have been free to spend (see Matt Kemp), and the Rangers went to the World Series in 2010 despite spending a large portion of the year in receivership. Instead, Selig lets Fred, Jeff, and Saul pretend they have seven investors in what appears to be a legal pyramid scheme. If you had $20 million dollars would you invest it in a company that is nearing bankruptcy with a promise of 3 percent interest? Maybe they feel their share of the team will increase in value after a sale. If so, why is a simple sale of this nature going to take till March? All of these are questions that have yet to be answered. They never will in MLB’s anti-trust exempt world.

In the end, I think the Marlins overpaid Jose Reyes. I would have liked to see him go to South Beach if all things were equal. A New York team should be able to afford Reyes despite the presence of the Jason Bay and Johan Santana deals. It shouldn’t be too much to expect a $120 -$140 million dollar payroll in New York. You don’t need it to win, but you do need it if you have $41 million dollars tied up in two players (Santana, Bay) with dubious productivity projections.

The Mets can survive and thrive without Jose Reyes. It’s how we got to this point that is aggravating. The fans will respond with many empty seats next season. That is a bigger shame because there are some good players on this team that deserve your support. It is, however, the only way to turn this around. If Bud Selig won’t remove this awful ownership group, then the fans must do it. Stick your money in your pockets and bankrupt them. They have payments due on Citi Field, SNY, and the team that will eventually sink them. Dare them to do their own version of a Marlins fire sale. Losses at the gate is the only way to have checks and balances on this ownership group since the man hired to make decisions in “the best interest of baseball” refuses to do it.

***

Want to really know where Jose Reyes’ money went? Look at in left field this coming season. Jason Bay will earn $16 million dollars in 2012. It was a contract given by Omar Minaya that may turn out to be more harmful than Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. Remember, the Mets lived in a much higher payroll stratosphere despite the bad money for that duo. Bay’s salary is 16% of the projected $100 million dollar 2012 Opening Day payroll. Reyes will earn about $17.5 million yearly in Miami during his contract. For all the risk in signing Reyes, wouldn’t it be nicer to exchange him for Bay right now?

Want to get really aggravated? I exchanged texts with an individual down at the Winter Meetings about this situation. In conversations with members of the Seattle organization, he was told they were only willing to go 2-years on a Bay contract. The Mets basically blew both them and the Red Sox “out of the water” to sign Bay.

Again, I must admit I supported the Bay signing. I thought the Mets needed to replace the power they lost when Carlos Delgado went down. I would not have supported this contract if I knew the Mets would be working on a $100 million dollar budget.

Want to know where Jose Reyes’ money went? Look out in left field this year.

By Mike Silva
Monday, 5 Dec 2011

 

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