MMO Flashback: Yippee-Ki-Yay, Jose Reyes
Here’s another great article originally written and posted back on February 15, 2011 by the always entertaining Rob Silverman AKA Tie Dyed. It’s a little bit prophetic and some of the comments are a blast to read nine months later. Enjoy…
Nakatomi Plaza, Century City, CA: John McClane is acting alone, trying to save hostages from a group of terrorists. But he is not just fighting against the terrorists. The LAPD, the FBI, the media and even some of the very hostages he is trying to protect are working against him. His only ally is a street cop named Powell who he is communicating with via walkie-talkie. In one scene Powell asks, ‘How are you feeling?’ McClane’s response: Pretty (expletive) unappreciated.
I wonder if our own Jose Reyes is also feeling pretty (expletive) unappreciated.
On June 10, 2003, one day prior to his 20th birthday, the young shortstop made his ML debut. Although the Mets lost a 9-7 slugfest to Texas, Reyes batted 8th and went 2-4 with 1 double and scored 2 runs.
The following day fans displayed hope when writing on message boards about the first Mets teenager since Doc Gooden. One fan wrote, “The Mets have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeing how this kid plays the rest of the year. Lets hope Reyes stays longer then the 2 week trial period (Steve) Phillips says it is.” Another fan posted, “In just one game, Reyes along with Wigginton has vastly improved the left side of the infield. Derek Jeter, take note.”
Reyes has definitely surpassed the ‘2 week trial period.’ And then some. He has done everything management and teammates have asked of him. He has become a bona fide superstar, an All-Star, the best lead-off hitter in team history. And he has done all of this while elevating himself to one of the most beloved players in team history.
Fans have shown him the love. Management has not.
Jose has already become the Mets All-Time leader in triples and SB’s. He ranks 3rd in runs scored, 5th in hits and 6th in doubles. He was a silver slugger in 06 as well as league leader in triples and SB’s 3 different seasons. He also is the only player in New York baseball history to post 3 consecutive seasons with 50 or more Steals. He has a career 80% success rate. And at just 27 years old, he is only now entering his prime.
In seasons when Jose was healthy and our every day shortstop, the Mets have compiled a .538 winning percentage. In years when he was hurt or before he assumed the every day role, we have posted a 427 winning percentage.
There is no way to calculate how many games Jose has won with his speed. How many times in 7 years has he legged out an infield hit? How many times has he stretched singles into doubles and doubles into triples? And how many times has his speed disrupted the pitcher’s concentration? The next best thing to stealing a base is the threat to steal a base.
Yet, our GM, the great and powerful Alderson, discounts all of Jose’s attributes, claiming recently that ‘Stolen Bases are a footnote.’
It is clear that Mets management, or lack thereof, is more concerned about the bottom line then winning. A healthy Reyes would force the Wilpon’s hand to dole out the big bucks starting in 2012. Yet, Sandy Alderson has already begun the smear campaign and made less of Reyes’ talents and what he brings to the park day in and day out.
Reyes has been everything and done everything asked of him
However, on the flip side we have Oliver Perez. Perez is clearly one of the most hated players in team history. He has done nothing teammates or management has asked. But yet, he is welcomed to Spring Training with open arms. He almost seems to be less in the crosshairs then Reyes.
Since Alderson’s predecessor handed him $36 million over 3 years, Perez has compiled a 3-9 record with a 6.81 era and tossed only 112 innings. Over this time he has earned $24 million, or to break it down, $214,000 for every inning pitched over the last 2 years.
And yet these two players who have different impacts, different fan support and different work ethic are put on the same level by Alderson and Collins?
Jose is in a no-win situation and it appears almost a foregone conclusion that his days in NY are limited. If he struggles this season, management will certainly not resign him for ‘12 and beyond. And if he puts up big numbers, it seems unlikely that owners who have been digging around the garbage all winter for leftovers would suddenly hand over the big bucks.
All we can do is sit back, hope for the best and enjoy #7 for as long as we have him. Unlike a Hollywood blockbuster, once he’s gone there wont be a sequel.
About the Author: Rob Silverman
It was 1973 when my dad introduced this 7 year old kid to Baseball and the Mets. It's been a love and passion that has lasted for 40 years, much longer than my first marriage. Since I was little, there've been 2 things I've always dreamed of: 1) Being a successful author and 2) playing right field for the Mets after Rusty Staub retired. Although 4 decades have passed and based on the current condition of the Mets, I have not given up on either dream
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