Jose Reyes, along with the up and coming Ike Davis, who now is on the DL, have been the best offensive production on the Mets ballclub. Reyes has also become arguably the best player to be the subject of trade rumors this season. While it becomes increasingly likely that Reyes will be dealt do to an inability or lack of interest to resign the 27-year old speedster before he hits the open market come this winter, a struggling David Wright seems to be significantly less likely to be traded by season’s end. With Reyes on pace for his best year yet, and Wright showing signs of decline, instead of the hoped for return to ’07,’08 form, why not retain the guy that will have the best impact on the team long term? The guy that along with Ike Davis to build your ballclub around. That guy, is Reyes, not Wright.
Wright has been a crucial member of the Mets franchise since breaking into the majors in 2004. Wright reached superstardom in 2007, arguably his career year, becoming a trifecta player of average, power and speed, not to mention a golden glove to go with his .325 batting average, 30 homers, 107 RBIs and 34 stolen bases. Wright had all the potential to become the next great 5-tool player, possibly being ranked among the elite in the game today. Unfortunately, Wright failed to produce in 2009, putting up a career worst 10 home run and 72 RBI season. He has not been the same player since.
The 2009 season marked the beginning of the downhill slide of David Wright’s career. Not only the poor production numbers but also the fact that he was beaned by Matt Cain in 2009. Wright has become skiddish at the plate once pitchers decide to go up and in on him. That being just one of multiple factors contributing to Wright’s decrease in production.
It has been proven that in comparison to his earlier seasons, since 2009, Wright’s hot streaks have gotten shorter and shorter while his slumps keep extending in time. Even though Wright is still an all-star third baseman and one of the best in the game, still capable of 30 and 100 stats, he has become a bit of a headcase, and that is the last thing the Mets need.
Reyes, on the other hand, is on pace for a career year in 2011. Reyes has a .315 avg, .363 OBP, 12 SBs, 52 hits 18 XBH and 23 runs in 165 at-bats. Those stats are on pace for 222 hits, 51 SBs, 76 XBH and 98 runs. Reyes is the spark plug of the Mets, he gets on base, plays mind games with the pitchers, then proceeds to wreak havoc on the base paths. Reyes is the type of player that is irreplaceable, not just the stolen bases, the hits and triples, but the effect he has on the game. He doesn’t just get on base, but he creates situations in order to reach home plate.
With Reyes finally healthy after two seasons, he has shown what he can truly do as he will enter his prime and also, be entering his contract year. When Reyes eventually hits the open market, to acquire him will become an all out frenzy. Reyes is the best shortstop in baseball that will become available. Tulowitzki and Hanley will not reach the open market until they are 36 and 31 respectively. Reyes is 27, so there will be no doubt of colossal interest in the speedster.
But trading a rental player, which is what Reyes would be, can only receive so much of a return. If we trade Wright, he is still signed until 2013, a much more appealing contract to other teams than Reyes’. If Wright were to be dealt, the Mets could focus all their energy on retaining Reyes.
Wright has been somewhat dependant on Reyes being on base to drive him in. Wright is a better hitter with Reyes on-base. Reyes is not effected by any other player. If we trade Reyes, we could risk losing some of Wright’s ability as well. If we trade Wright, Reyes is not really effected. Reyes does not rely on other players.
Not to mention, Wright is more replaceable than Reyes. There are not many all-star shortstops in the game. It is one of the thinnest positions in baseball, making him even more irreplaceable. Wright is a power hitting corner infielder, not an uncommon occurrence. We have Ike Davis, who is also capable of hitting for average and power, to take his place as the power-guy on the team. Now don’t get me wrong, Wright is still capable of getting back on track to once again becoming a 5-tool player, he just needs some major coaching, similar to what Kevin Long did with Curtis Granderson in September of last season, and I do not believe the Mets can fix him.
I personally have always been a great fan of Wright, but unless he really turns things around, it may be time for hm and the Mets to part ways. Reyes though, when it comes to his impending free agency, shouldn’t be given more than a 5-6 year $85-100 million contract if the Mets truly try to make a run for him. I say this because he will be roughly 34-35 years old, where it is possible his speed will begin to diminish, that way, Reyes is under the Mets control during his entire prime years.
It would be wonderful if the Mets could retain both of them, and they should be able to with $50-$60 million coming off the books this winter, but the Wilpon’s current financial issues might play into how this is handled.
But as for now, the Mets should retain the guy who has shown that he can perform as expected this season and become a guy to build a team around. That guy, is Jose Reyes, not David Wright.