The day that all Mets fans have had circled on their calendar since the Winter Meetings has finally arrived; Jose Reyes will be playing at Citi Field once again, but for the first time in his career, he will be sitting in the visitor’s dugout. It’s already been weird enough to actually say that Jose Reyes is not a New York Met after he spent over a decade in the organization, but it will be even weirder to watch Johan Santana pitch to him in the top of the first inning with a different uniform on. I must say, I have mixed emotions about the return of Reyes.
Do I miss having him on the Mets? Without a doubt; his energy and enjoyment of the game were always things that I admired about him. However, even though New York is currently struggling at 8-8, it’s not because of the absence of Reyes. Yes, the offense isn’t
producing much at the moment, but Ruben Tejada (.263/.344/.386) has more than held is own at the plate and in the field and is performing better than Reyes (.230/.294/.377). During his years in New York, it was widely regarded that as Reyes went, so did the team. If he was hot, the team was hot; if he was in a slump, the team struggled. It’s almost as if the organization was able to use it as a crutch when they weren’t playing well. It doesn’t matter how important one player is to a team, this was an unfair situation to thrust upon Jose.
Now that he is no longer with the organization, the team has been able to play like more of…a team. What a concept! Instead of depending on Jose getting on base, stealing a bag, and someone else driving him in, they have to play cohesively as an entire unit in order to put a win together. So, in a sense, the departure of Reyes has actually freed the Mets. Even though he is one of the best shortstops in the game today, New York wasn’t a winning team with him in recent years. Couple that with his increased threat of injuries, it didn’t make any sense for Sandy Alderson to throw $100 million to try and keep him in Flushing. That wouldn’t have allowed them any financial flexibility to build a team around Jose to bring a winner back to Flushing.
At the end of the day, I thought Jose would have been more loyal to the only organization he’d known in his professional career. It was pretty clear that he wanted to get the most money possible from whomever was willing to give it to him. I know Alderson didn’t make an official offer, but he contacted Peter Greenberg, telling him that the organization was willing to guarantee a maximum of five-years and $80 million. Once they told the Mets front office it would take more than that, why would they continue to pursue? If Jose really wanted to stay in New York, he would have been willing to negotiate with that $80 million proposal.
But, I digress.
After all the smoke has cleared, the tears wiped away, and the anger has subsided, none of us can deny how much fun it was to watch Jose Reyes play for the New York Mets the last nine years. That’s why I’m OK with a short video to acknowledge his playing career in New York. Howie Rose said it best last night during game two of their doubleheader against the Giants; it’s just the right thing to do. Saying that the Mets were planning to honor Jose with a tribute may have been the wrong word because it’s tough to honor someone who decided to leave you. However, taking the higher road to briefly acknowledge what he did for the team is the right thing to do. I wish Jose the best in the rest of his career, and if I were in the stands tonight, I would giving him a standing ovation, but for 18 times a year, I’m going to hope for an 0-fer.
How do you feel about Jose Reyes returning to Citi Field for the first time?