Choosing Mets Over Reyes

An article by posted on December 5, 2011

I recognize that when things like Jose Reyes signing a contract with the Miami Marlins occur, there will always be an outcry.

I guess what I am most confused about is why people are acting as though they didn’t see this coming? I recognize that I am in a minority of Mets fans that is glad the Mets didn’t go 6years/100+ million. I can live with that, because I told myself and several times on here that I wouldn’t be comfortable with more than 5/95.

When a player hits the market you have to tell yourself a number. If you don’t, that is how you end up bidding against yourself or paying with your heart and not with your brain. This is also why I don’t flip out when I hear “no formal offer” was made. GM’s have discussions with agents, and ballpark years/dollars are discussed.

If Alderson said “We can’t go more than 5 years under any circumstances,” that’s not an offer right? But it’s certainly enough information for Greenberg to know if he gets 6 somewhere else, he should take it.

If the Mets had signed homegrown Blue Jay Jose Reyes with his injury history, his career year in a contract season and his overall career numbers following the 2009 season, mostly everybody here would be all over Omar Minaya for it. Especially if in year #1, Reyes got hurt or had a lackluster season. That’s a fact, and anybody who tries to dispute that is not being honest with themselves.

I’m sorry Reyes was a casualty of the mess that is the NY Mets, I really am. But at the end of the day, I’m not interested in what is best for Jose Reyes. I’m interested in long term franchise health for once. When Minaya was here early on, I was gung ho. I was all about trading prospects, get a “now” team and just get that dang championship.

But now I see what that can do to a franchise if you swing and miss. I look at teams like St. Louis, Atlanta, LA Angels, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay. Teams that have their ups and downs lately but if they occur they are short lived because they continuously are re-shuffling the roster, not by spending on overpriced players.

For me, in the last 2 years I’ve come to the realization that the NY Mets are not the NY Yankees. Just because they play in New York, doesn’t make them equals. I look specifically at the LA Angels who despite success will always play 2nd fiddle to the LA Dodgers.

They’ve learned to work around that, and they spend money sure, but they don’t rely on money to win them games. They never seem to have an off-season where “they have to” get big time free agents. Why?

Because they have guys like Bourjos, Trumbo, Aybar, Callaspo. They can let a John Lackey or a K-Rod walk because they have enough to get Haren, or they have Ervin Santana, or faith in Tyler Chatwood. They can get a temporary closer like a Brian Fuentes because maybe Jordan Walden is a legit closer.

They never seem to panic. They make moves, they sign guys here and there but it’s never out of desperation. I believe when you sign a free agent out of desperation, there is no way you can make an educated decision.

I noticed Joe D today explained that he feels the reason the Mets didn’t sign Reyes was because of Alderson’s aversion to long-term contracts. I don’t think that is a fair statement. I think that statement makes it seem like Alderson is on an island in the world of MLB GM’s who don’t commit to 6+ years.

Since 2006’s winter season the following players were signed to 6+ year deals following an under .500 season by their new club (or extended club).

-Alfonso Soriano 8 years to the Cubs, prior year Cubs were 66-96
-Barry Zito 7 years to the Giants, prior year Giants were 76-85
-Carlos Lee 6 years to the Astros (extension), prior year Astros were 82-80
-Aroldis Chapman 6 years to the Reds, prior year Reds were 74-88. This obviously was a special case, but the point is still valid that for the 1st year years he’s been a middle reliever.
-Jayson Werth 7 years to the Nationals, prior year Nats were 69-83
-Jose Reyes 6 years to the Marlins, prior year Marlins were 72-90

So far it would be hard for anybody to convince me that any of the previous 5 deals turned out to be good for the franchise over the length of the deal. In fact, Soriano-Zito-Lee have somewhat crippled their franchise from moving forward.

Since 2006, the last players to get 6 year+ contracts (regardless of team record) during the winter were:

Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Carlos Lee, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeria, C.C. Sabathia, Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Adrian Beltre, and now Jose Reyes.

I see two very apparent things with this list. First, I see teams signing “final piece” type players. The Cardinals with Holliday acquired him during the season, and extended him as protection for Pujols on a 91 win team that would win a World Series 2 year later.

Beltre, a guy who would be added to a team that made it to the World Series in the prior year, signed to add to an already explosive offense.

Obviously players like Tex, ARod, Sabathia, we know why they were signed.

Dice K was signed by an 86 win Red Sox team that had already won a World Series and knew they need just a little extra to win another. Was he the only reason they won in his first year? No, but his best 2 seasons were the best the Red Sox have had since 2005.

Crawford, everybody knows the Red Sox thought he’d be a final piece to another championship puzzle with AGone as well.

So you have those guys, then you have teams trying to turn water into wine with free agents.

So if very few teams have committed to 6+ year contracts in the last 5+ years, then how can it be fair to say Alderson is the one who doesn’t like long-term deals?
If you take away 1 year and minor leagues, the majority of winter free agent deals are between 2-4 years, not 5-7. So why are we (or some of us) upset that Alderson didn’t do what almost no other team does?

If Reyes was such a no brainer to sign to 6+ years, $100+ million then where are the other competitive and financially stable teams who needed a SS? Where are the Tigers, Brewers, Giants, Phillies for example? It’s not because “Sandy Alderson is averse to long-term deals,” it’s because MOST GM’s are and with good reason.

I believe part of the problem is a lack of acceptance that this team is rebuilding without tearing it all down. I think that can confuse people, because when people think “rebuild”, they think trade everybody and start over. The Mets are treading water right now, I don’t need Alderson to tell me that.

I have come to terms with the fact that for better or worse this team put all their eggs in 2006-2008, and it didn’t work. I’ve come to terms with the fact it’s going to be a few years before I see any real success here, but there’s a mess to be cleaned up. I can’t do anything about that. Jose Reyes was a casualty of a plan that didn’t work, and bad timing in terms of finances.

For fans to say they are not going to Citi Field because of this 1 move, I have to call them out for it. You likely weren’t going anyway. Jose Reyes had his greatest season in his entire career in 2011, and through July, the team was playing competitive baseball and was fun to watch, where were you then?

The Mets averaged paid attendance was 30,108, with a capacity of 41,800. That’s a 72% capacity average for the entire length of the year. So where were you all when Reyes was in uniform? If you look at the attendance figures and exclude the Yankees series it’s very apparent that the attendance goes up when the team was .500 or above. It had nothing to do with Reyes, and everything to do with the team on the field.

The Mets and every team are about the name on the front, not on the back. If you want to act like Jose Reyes did so much for you as a fan, that’s fine. I simply do not remember a parade in New York City with Jose Reyes holding a championship trophy.

The fact remains that when Jose Reyes was here, the Mets averaged 80 wins a year. That means during his career as a Met, the Mets were an under .500 franchise. If you want to only use games he played in (which negates his injury history), the Mets are an 84-78 team. That still ain’t cutting it.

I’m sorry you may not like that fact, but it’s true. He has brought excitement yes, but has he brought so much success that it’s impossible to think about living without him? No.

I wish Jose the best, but he also made a choice just as the Mets front office and owners did. He isn’t fully to blame by any stretch of the imagination, but at the end of the day if he wanted to be a NY Met, he could have been. He and his agent knew the Mets financial situation; it’s no secret what is going on right now.

He got his big pay day, I don’t blame him as a person for doing it, but he still made the decision to get paid. There are so many parties involved in this decision, I don’t blame anybody with anger, I accept the current state of the Mets and hope there is a plan to make them better in the future over the long-term.

LeBron James KNEW the Cavs couldn’t do as much for him financially over the long-term that the Heat could. If he wanted to stay in Cleveland, he could have found ways to work within their limits to get the best deal for all parties involved. Instead, he followed the money.

In almost every single instance of a homegrown player choosing $ over his team, he’d get booed, but because some Mets fans are so angry right now, they will give greed a pass because they aren’t willing to come to terms with the current state of their beloved franchise. If Pujols or Prince join the Cubs, they will get booed in St. Louis/Milwaukee.

Teams have their financial limits, and if a homegrown player chooses to not take those into consideration to go play for somebody who can pay them more then I don’t understand how any fan could give them a “pass,” on leaving.  

I do not believe over the course of Reyes’ contract he will prove to be on the field enough and performing at a high enough level that we’ll look back after 6 years and say “what a great sign by the Marlins.”

It’s okay that you think I’m wrong, but I believe when you think with your head and not with your heart as a passionate Mets fan that you will see things in a different way.

When it’s all said and done. I’m not a Wilpon fan, a Sandy fan, a J.P. fan, an Omar fan or a Reyes fan. I’m a Mets fan.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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