As Ed Leyro blogged yesterday, Jose Reyes, who has been out since May, has torn his right hamstring while working out on Tuesday. He was already trying to recover from a torn hamstring tendon, for which surgery appeared increasingly likely. Now, the new injury only complicates the situation and raises questions about whether Jose Reyes will be ready to play again by opening day. Much of the speculation suggests that Reyes could potentially miss a significant portion of next season, and there are questions that his biggest asset, his speed, may never be the same again. The Mets disclosed the new information after Reyes was examined Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
As if all this information isn’t bleak enough, the Mets have suffered through a season long string of futility from those who have stepped in during Reyes’ absence.
Alex Cora, Fernando Tatis, Anderson Hernandez, Ramon Martinez, Wilson Valdez and Argenis Reyes have all taken a stab at playing shortstop this season, but none of them did anything to really distinguish themselves.
Let’s all agree that Argenis Reyes, Ramon Martinez and Anderson Hernandez shouldn’t even be considered options for next season. I believe it’s also safe to assume that Fernando Tatis will not be back unless he takes a significant pay cut.
That leaves us with Cora and Valdez who both fall short as everyday players in my opinion. Of the two, the only one I would even bring back is Alex Cora as a backup, mostly because of his intangibles and the positive presence he brings to the dugout.
Some of my esteemed fellow Mets bloggers are advocating bringing back Wilson Valdez instead of Cora here and here, but I strongly disagree. The case for Valdez is based on too small a sample size and the fact is that he’s 31 years old and has amassed barely 340 at-bats in his major league career, hitting an anemic .225 with a .275 on-base percentage. Those are the facts, and anything else is purely speculative.
That said, it’s plain to see how slim the pickings are for the Mets at shortstop. If the Mets were to require 200 at-bats from either Cora or Valdez before the All Star break it could spell doom for the 2010 season.
The Mets cannot afford to make the same mistakes they made this season in 2010. They cannot bankroll their season on the uncertain returns of key players. The Mets blew it by not sending Jose Reyes for surgery in June. They blew it again in July, and again in August, and again in September. Their handling of Jose Reyes has been an unprecedented disaster on so many levels.
With his 2010 season now as cloudy as the Mets decision making process, I urge Omar Minaya to error on the side of caution and go out and sign a capable replacement for Reyes and not subject the fanbase to another comedy of errors at shortstop.
Some of the shortstops that are heading toward free agency this winter include: Orlando Cabrera, Bobby Crosby, Miguel Tejada, Jack Wilson, and finally one other who I think will fill the bill and fit perfectly on the Mets…
Consider former Mets farmhand, Marco Scutaro, currently of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Scutaro has had a solid season for the Blue Jays scoring his 100th run last night, and he has done so for the rock bottom price of $1.1 million dollars. Compare that to Fernando Tatis at $1.7 MM or Cora at $2.25 MM.
I love the power spike Scutaro has enjoyed this season and he has some good speed too as evidenced by his 12 stolen bases this season. Another offensive achievement worth noting is his 35 doubles which would seemingly play well at Citi Field.
The right handed Scutaro has also played second base, third base and left field in his career. This is important to note because upon the return of Jose Reyes, whenever that will be, he can easily slide into leftfield or slide over to second base. He would give the Mets an enormous amount of versatility.
Obviously, the Mets have many areas they need to focus on this off season, but I believe Scutaro would go a long way toward easing the concerns of the shortstop position, while potentially giving the Mets the option of moving Castillo if they so choose once Reyes proves he is healthy, and he also provides the team with an insurance plan at third base, as well as another option for leftfield.
The most appealing part is that Scutaro may even be one of the lower cost options out there for the Mets this off season. Considering we shelled out $4 million dollars for Tatis and Cora, wouldn’t Scutaro be a tremendous addition if the Mets were to approach him with a 2-year offer at $5-6 million dollars?