As we come to grips with the fact that hope will be the prevailing theme in 2011 and that basically we are playing the same hand we had last season minus Johan Santana, we will all have our patience tested.
There’s a lot of things that need to go right where hope is concerned for the 2011 Mets.
- We hope Jason Bay shows up and performs at a level we all expected when we first signed him to add some pop to our lineup. That is to say the prospect of a 30 home run, 115 RBI season.
- We hope that Carlos Beltran comes back and gives us a Carlos Beltran type season, but more importantly that his knees will endure the rigors of a 162 game marathon.
- We hope that some sustainable offense will emerge at second base from a group that will include Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada and Luis Castillo.
- We hope that R.A. Dickey can duplicate his remarkable season of a year ago and hold down the fort until Johan Santana comes back, whenever that will be.
- We hope that one of our relievers can emerge as a reliable setup man, otherwise it won’t really matter how good our starting pitching does if we don’t have a solid bridge to our closer Frankie Rodriguez. Speaking of, we also hope K-Rod can return to form with no ill-effects from his thumb surgery.
- We hope that pitchers Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese and even Dillon Gee step up in a big way because there is little chance that help is on the way in the form of a top of the rotation starter, so one of them will certainly have to fill that role.
Did I forget anything?
Actually, I have…
None of this works without a return to glory for shortstop Jose Reyes. Of all the different things we need to go right in 2011, Reyes is the one that I believe has the best chance to come through in a big way for us. It’s his walk year, and that undeniably is very strong motivation for Reyes who will be looking to cash-in after next season.
The Mets have shelved any talk of an extension for now and that could change, but after what Carl Crawford signed for, I highly doubt Reyes will not take the plunge and test the free agent waters after the season. And you can certainly bet his agent has already had this discussion with him.
So what if Jose Reyes finished the season with a line that looks like this:
.313 BA – .389 OBP – 15 HR – 38 2B – 15 3B – 120 RS – 67 RBI – 56 SB
Will the Mets be ready to offer Jose Reyes a deal similar to the seven-year, $142 million dollar contract that Carl Crawford got with the Red Sox?
Actually, when you consider that Reyes plays an even more demanding position than left field, and that he’s a year younger than Crawford, there’s a chance that Reyes can even break through the $150 million dollar barrier next offseason. It’s certainly a very real possibility.
I’m sure that right after the Carl Crawford deal was announced, the new Mets front office cringed and that a little voice inside of Alderson’s head told him it might have been more prudent to try and work out an extension with Reyes before announcing to the world that no discussion would take place this offseason. I was surprised that they would reveal their hand in that way and give Reyes the sense this might be his last hurrah in a Met uniform.
So while we all hope for a comeback year of epic proportions from Jose Reyes this season, remember that the better he does the more likelihood his next contract will be larger than life and that the chances that he remains with the Mets becomes more uncertain.