New York Not Good Enough For Reyes, But Perfect For Wright
David Wright wasn’t surprised by the lukewarm ovation, saying some people would never forgive Reyes while others understood why he left.
Reyes simply said the Mets never made him an offer, and he took that to mean they didn’t want him. There can be no other explanation.
In retrospect, despite some lip service to the contrary, the Mets were never going to be in it for Reyes. This is a player who makes his living with his legs, but missed considerable time the previous two seasons with assorted muscle pulls. The first years of his career were the same.
Reyes is a breakdown waiting to happen. He is a high maintenance sports car that is frequently in the shop.
What Reyes didn’t say last night, was he was in it for the last dollar and the Mets knew they couldn’t swim in that end of the pool. No, the Mets didn’t go out of their way last year to keep Reyes, but he didn’t exactly go out of his way to say he wanted to stay.
It was an inevitable divorce; two parties seeing the end and doing nothing to stay together. Passive aggressive? Not committing is a statement.
The Mets, not knowing what their future finances would be, knew they couldn’t keep Reyes, then re-sign Wright, and then fill in the rest of the pieces. It just wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t happen with Johan Santana and Jason Bay on the payroll, and after all that money wasted on Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and others. Even with Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez gone, the Mets couldn’t afford to keep both. Not with what they knew at the time.
The choice was Reyes’ flash and speed against Wright’s power and consistency. While both had sustained injuries, the Mets decided Wright might last longer than Reyes at the top of his game, even with the latter having a stellar year and winning the batting title.
Reyes had injuries the previous two years and had already been on the disabled list twice last summer. When he returned the second time, he turned it off as to not risk hurting himself and his chances in the market. In doing so, they had to wonder if this decline would continue and what he would be like at the end of his contract.
Conversely, Wright hurt his back, but it was in making an aggressive play. These things happen. Wright lost his power stroke hitting 14 homers last year, but after 29 the season before. The Mets’ gamble, enhanced by moving in the fences, was Wright would be able to sustain being a power hitter longer than Reyes could be a speed threat.
Power is more marketable, and so is Wright’s personality and grit. Reyes tweaks a hamstring and is out for two weeks; Wright played a month with a small fracture in his back and this year with a broken pinkie.
Wright plays with passion; Reyes plays with flair. Which would burn out first?
The Mets might have gotten their answer when Reyes took himself out of the game after bunting for a hit to preserve his batting title. I can’t imagine Wright pulling himself from a game for such a me-first motive. Reyes turned his back on the fans who supported him and came out to say good bye.
Maybe the Mets and Reyes weren’t loyal to each other, but the fans were loyal to Reyes and he dissed them. Mets fans have, and always will have, some inferiority complex. It comes from being the second team in town. And, in leaving, Reyes reinforces that insecurity, and was telling the public Miami’s millions were more important than the Mets’ millions.
He was saying New York wasn’t good enough. Meanwhile, Wright has been saying New York is all he wants.
It really wasn’t that hard a decision after all.
* * * * * * * *
Joe D – Check this out… Thanks to die-hard Met fan Geoffrey Sorensen, who was kind enough to allow us the pleasure of posting his footage of the Jose Reyes Tribute Video… Thanks Geoffrey!
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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