Not even a few days have passed since the last out was made in the New York Mets 2011 season and at least for Met fans – the Hot Stove is about to be stirred. I was annoyed at how Jose Reyes’ season came to an abrupt end – the blow thankfully softened by the fact that He is now the first player in Met history ever to win a batting title.
His bunt single didn’t bother me in the slightest as it did to some fans. In fact for a leadoff hitter, it’s almost fitting for Reyes to go for the drag bunt single. However I was one of the many fans, including the SNY broadcast booth, who sat stunned as Reyes left the game right after his bunt single.
I think it’s safe to say that every Met fan would have loved to have seen Reyes at least take the field the next inning. Terry Collins, calling time, could have sent Justin Turner in a slow deliberate jog out to relieve Reyes – providing the fans and Reyes a chance for some mutual appreciation.
Cue the theme music from the movie The Natural and the crowd would have eaten it up.
Ok I admit it’s a bit cheesy and maybe we’ve been conditioned by Hollywood to expect and believe in these melodramatic moments. Maybe it’s just because as a franchise we haven’t had a whole lot to cheer for the last few years. Maybe it’s just splitting hairs when unfortunately it’s all that we have left to do.
Either way and for whatever reason or whoever is at fault, I think like many situations involving this team, this too could have been handled a lot better. But what’s done is done and it’s time to once again move on.
Will Jose Reyes get his chance for that roaring standing ovation in 2012….as a Met? All season we’ve speculated what Reyes’ agent will demand for his now 2011 NL Batting Champ. Let’s assume that Reyes and the Mets cannot come to an agreement; where does that leave the organization? Alderson isn’t the type to allow negotiations to go on ad-naseum so if a deal isn’t likely to happen soon it probably won’t happen at all.
If the team simply isn’t willing to entertain the idea of signing a player to a multi-year, close to one-hundred million dollar contract, then this is moot. But if they are then it begs a question, what about the real 800 pound gorilla in room, Albert Pujols?
Here’s is my reasoning on this, and I know I’m assuming a lot but hey, that’s what the Hot Stove is all about. If the Cardinals cannot for whatever reason sign Pujols, and the Mets pass on Reyes, should the Mets throw their hat in the ring and try to land Pujols?
Pujols is a player that any GM would salivate over having. He absolutely fits Alderson’s criteria. He’s a power bat with the ability to drive in runs and get on base and yes, an absolute marquee name that will undoubtedly fill the seats. He’s not young but he’s not necessarily over the hill either at 30.
The last marquee 30 year old the Mets acquired will most likely enter the Hall with a Mets hat and the title of being the greatest hitting catcher of all time. And perhaps more importantly, unlike the uber-fragile Reyes, Pujols has been healthy the majority of his career and is clearly a Hall of Famer if he were to hang up his cleats today.
If the Mets are willing to give Reyes at least 18 million a year for 5 years would they be willing to go to 22 to 25 a year for Pujols, with the question being how long? Does it make sense signing Pujols who can alter this team in ways that Reyes can’t?
Would coming to New York entice Pujols or are both free agents more likely to simply return to their familiar settings in the end? Perhaps Reyes’ quick exit on the last game of the year shouldn’t be worried over as much as it has?
So many questions and so many possibilities it’s going to make for an exciting Hot Stove this Winter. One thing is sure at least from my perspective, if we do lose Reyes and not replace him with someone of substantial substance; it’s going to be a long road ahead. What say you?