Stop Overrating Jose Reyes

Stop Overrating Jose Reyes

Stop Overrating Jose Reyes

As the rumors persist that Jose Reyes will sign with the Miami Marlins, the “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” of Sandy Alderson has begun. The most persistent second guess to date is why didn’t Alderson trade him in June or July when his value was the highest? If you look closely, Reyes’ hamstring injury on July 2nd pretty much changed what was shaping up as an MVP season.

After that date Reyes played in 46 games, hit .305 with 4 HRs, 12 RBI and 9 stolen bases. He did continue to his positive plate discipline trends under Dave Hudgens by walking 16 times to 15 strikeouts, but he wasn’t the MVP candidate we saw earlier in the year. He was a very good shortstop, but one that held back for fear of injury. In addition to missing 17 days in July, he missed another 22 in August. He was essentially on the field 50% of the time in the second half, a period the Mets desperately needed him, especially after the departure of Carlos Beltran. As a Mets fan how does it make you feel that Reyes decided to “pack it in” after getting injured? Does that sound like a winning ballplayer? Do you want to chant “Jose, Jose, Jose” for those late season nights where he elected to “stop” at second instead of busting it to third on a triple to preserve a hamstring

Rewind to the final week of July. You’re an opposing General Manager who can rent Reyes for 8 weeks and you know the Mets have no leverage since it’s doubtful he makes it through August waivers. Do you give up a top prospect for him? Or do you offer what most teams, other than San Francisco, offered for Beltran, which was a bunch of B and C level minor leaguers? Are B-level prospects better than potential sandwich draft picks? I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Don’t forget that David Wright was a sandwich pick by the Mets in 2001. We don’t even know what the market for Reyes could have been since it never really materialized in the rumor mill. To say anything with certainty is speculation, at best. Imagine if you did make a late season deal and lost Reyes for most of August. Could you hear what that fan base would be saying?

The other factor is the Wilpon ownership situation. Fans can say now they would have supported a Reyes trade, but there would have been an outcry about how the team is “punting” the season by moving him. They were still on the peripheral of the Wild Card and the return of David Wright and Ike Davis was on the horizon. The Wilpons knew dealing Reyes would destroy any chance of residual ticket sales the rest of the season, and were going to ride any thought of contention to the hilt. Again, you fans were a willing participant because of the love and admiration you showered on Jose, even though he is probably looked at more favorably by you than others around the league. This admiration was sometimes undeserving based on what he gave you on the field.

The final question you have to ask yourself is do you put your job on the line for Jose Reyes? Most teams live in the $100 to $110 million dollar payroll range or less. Paying Reyes $20+ million AAV on a contract means you are dedicating a quarter of your payroll to his legs, attitude, and durability. Does his track record outside of ’06-’08 make you feel good about that risk? You could argue the Mets should not be working with such a budget; that’s fair, but we have to deal in the reality of the situation and not “what should be.” The Wilpons failures are an old and tired story that is out of the control of all of us. We can only assess based on the facts in front of us, which is a budget of $100 million dollars.

Maybe five years from now we will rue the decision to move away from Jose Reyes. Maybe both he, and the soon to be departed David Wright, were solutions going forward all along. Somehow, I think it’s time to move away from the era. The results of the past five seasons tell me there is no one on this roster that will be painful to lose. I think you will see that Jose Reyes is a very good, not great, player that will always leave you wanting for more. He showed for a couple of months this year that he could be the Rickey Henderson of shortstops. Throughout his career he has had bouts of injuries, lack of focus, and a poor attitude. Those are characteristics that will always follow him- big contract or not. This isn’t Seaver or Strawberry leaving. This is the equivalent of Edgardo Alfonzo leaving.  You want to invest big money and long term for that? Better get that GM resume ready.

By Mike Silva
Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011


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