Here we are. Another season, another fading playoff hope, another team full of inconsistent players and injuries. The main topic of discussion this season has been, “who will be in a Mets uniform next season, and who will be relocated?” And at the center of that debate has been Jose Reyes.
The original title for this article was going to be “Five Good Reasons to trade David Wright, not Jose Reyes”. But as I was doing research, I came across more and more arguments for the opposite side. I understand this is a blog and my opinion is really the only one that matters, but I find it fair and necessary to present both sides of the issue.
*Just to give my two cents, I am 100% on the side of keeping Jose at any and all costs. But I also live in a realistic world and I know the Mets only have so much money and have other pressing issues as well.
Why the Mets should keep Jose Reyes:
1. Citi Field was built for him, not Wright.
Look, we all know Citi Field is where home run hitters go to die (right, Jason Bay?), but the place was made for speedsters like Reyes to run wild. Reyes currently has 12 triples which leads the league by a day and a half (next closest is Shane Victorino with 7). Wright has decent speed, but certainly doesn’t come close to Reyes. If Wright goes elsewhere, his number may spike back to his 30-40 HR days at Shea. If Reyes ends up in a place like Fenway, those triples into the gap will turn into singles, eaten up by the monster.
2. Contract Situations
Hear me out. After this season, Reyes will be a free agent. Wright will have two years left on his contract. Now, if you are another teams general manager, are you willing to give up your teams best prospect to get Reyes’ services for half a season? Or are you willing to give up your best prospect to have a power hitting third baseman for the next two and a half seasons? I understand what Reyes is doing this season, but bottom line, Reyes is not anything close to a power hitter and has a history of injuries. The team that trades for Reyes knows he will still probably walk at the end of the season (a la Cliff Lee). The Mets have a better chance of getting more quality prospects for Wright than they do for Reyes.
3. The Energy
There is nobody like Reyes in the league, and definitely not on the Mets roster. When he comes to the plate, you get excited. You are on edge, waiting to see him stretch the single into a double or smack a ball in the gap for a triple. When he is on base, you focus on him, not the batter, waiting to see him take off on first movement and dive head first into second base with the stolen base. The Mets cannot replace that. Experts say the Mets shouldn’t hold onto Reyes just to sell tickets. I don’t believe that is what Reyes does. He injects energy into the rest of the team. When he gets on base, you know Justin Turner and Carlos Beltran and just aching to drive him in. If Sandy Alderson and co. decide to trade him, there is nobody on the Major League or Minor League rosters that can bring that type of energy to the team.
4. The Leadoff Man
This kind of goes hand in hand with the previous reason, but having that type of energy and playmaking ability at the top of lineup is difficult to come by. When Reyes gets on in the first inning, the end of inning will usually have at least a 1 on the scoreboard. So many teams are constantly scrambling to find a leadoff man, somebody to test the opposing pitcher right from the start. Since 2004, the Mets have not had to do that.
I’d just like to bring to light this quote made by Alderson when dicussing Reyes’ future with the team:
"“I think if we’re in it, it would be hard for me to see us trading Jose Reyes. I don’t think being out of it dictates anything. In Jose’s case, it’s kind of a one-off situation. Whether we are winning or losing at that point is a lot less relevant in Jose’s case.”"
Good news for those of us who want to see Reyes in a Mets uniform in 2012.
Why the Mets should get rid of Jose Reyes:
We all love Reyes, we all love Wright. But the plain and simple truth is, have the Mets hoisted any championship banners since they arrived in town? Nope. I am certainly not saying that that is all Reyes’ fault, but he can’t be left out either. He has faltered down the stretch in recent years. It’s easy to be blinded by the year he is having, but if it doesn’t lead to a Mets playoff appearance, it’s just another good year that will be lost in history books.
Again, being blinded by the year he is having is making many Mets fan forget what Reyes has been. A player with huge potential but who has a serious injury history. In 2009, he missed most of the season. Even when he was playing, he has complained about being banged up. Reyes not at 100% is not Reyes. The Mets have an unlucky history of signing players to long-term contracts, then watching them sit around injured during most of it. The last thing the Mets need is to sign Reyes to a 7-year deal and then watch him suffer a serious injury next season (Johan Santana?)
I didn’t know this until I just read it, but if the season ends and Reyes walks, the Mets get all of two draft picks in return for his free-agent signing. Well, that is just unacceptable. If the Mets decide to trade Reyes, even contrary to what I said above, they will certainly get more value than two draft picks worth. The team will be playing Russian Roulette with the guns pointed at them if they decide to wait and try and sign him in the offseason. And to make matters worse, Reyes has already said he won’t talk contract during the season, meaning the Mets will be left completely in the dark until the end of the season.
4. Harder to replace Wright
Quality third basemen are just difficult to come by. If the Mets let Reyes go, they have arguably their best prospect in shortstop Wilmer Flores to take his place. Maybe not right away, but in a few years Flores will be in the majors and could replace Reyes. In the short term, they have Jordany Valdespin who could come up and contribute. As for third basemen, they are sparse and nobody comes close to comparing to Wright. Zach Lutz is currently the third baseman for the AAA Buffalo Bisons, and while he is playing well, you don’t hear people getting overly excited when they hear his name.
I am still on the side that you have to do everything possible to keep Reyes in Queens. His energy is unmatched and the Mets are a better team with him at the top of the lineup. I love Wright and everything he has done for the city of New York and the team, but he’ll be better off with another team. If he does leave, I will absolutely be rooting for him to get a World Series ring ( just not against the Mets).
Met fans may still be under the delusion that we might make the playoffs this season. Even if we do, so what? This is not a team that has a chance to challenge a team like the Phillies right now. This is a team that needs to be rebuilt from top to bottom, and if I’m going to pick one player to build around, Jose Reyes is that player.