How Will You Remember Jose Reyes?
We all glanced at the schedules when they came out to see when Jose Reyes would return to New York with the Marlins. David Wright says he misses his friend, but he remembers the dynamic Reyes from a different perspective than we do.
I’ll always remember Reyes as a dynamic player with an electric smile, but he was also prone to moodiness, being injured and occasionally taking plays off. Such as not covering second base in a late-season game against Washington which led to a big inning and another loss during the Mets’ historic 2007 collapse.
Reyes returns tonight and I wonder what the reaction will be. I don’t think it will be as warm as the one Shea Stadium gave Mike Piazza when he returned as a San Diego Padre in 2006, but you never know.
While Wright says he wants to remain and retire with the Mets, Reyes never said anything like that last summer. I always got the feeling Reyes already had one foot out the door. Of course, the Mets never did, or said anything, that indicated they wanted to keep him.
Maybe that’s the feeling Reyes had when he bunted for a base hit and took himself out of the game to preserve his batting title. That’s his last moment with the Mets, and not a classy way to say goodbye. It reminded me how LeBron James left the court in his last game with the Cavaliers. It’s like he couldn’t get out of town fast enough.
I don’t like that it is, but taking himself out to preserve his title will be my enduring image of Reyes as a Met. Yours might be different.
Anybody who understood what was going on with the Mets last year knew Reyes was a goner. The team was in financial distress – still is – and wasn’t about to give Reyes a $100-plus million contract. With his recent injury history to his legs and his declining base stealing totals, the Mets couldn’t afford to go six or seven years with Reyes. As a rebuilding team, they couldn’t risk sinking that much money or years into a player that had already shown signs of breaking down.
That wouldn’t be good business.
The Mets always treated Reyes well and gave him a long-term deal early in his career (2006) when they didn’t have to. Reyes grew up poor, was a new father, and was insecure about his money. The Mets helped him.
Reyes had no intention of leaving money on the table. He knew the Mets wouldn’t be the highest bidder.
“It’s sad what has happened there.” Reyes said. “I loved New York. I loved playing for the Mets and I loved the fans, but there was no way it was going to work our for me to stay.”
Well, there was. He never told the Mets what it would have taken to keep him and he had no intention of giving a home team discount.
It was a business decision – by both parties.
Reyes is a sensitive guy. Always has been. When he said he was excited about coming back, you can take that a number of ways. And, you wouldn’t be wrong to think he wants to come back to stick it to the Mets.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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