Three Things Off My Chest

There’s really nothing worse than a meaningless September. That’s probably how most fans of other teams feel, but for me a meaningless September in New York right now is about the worst thing you can possibly have.

K-Rod & Beltran
I don’t want to hear excuses about K-Rod or Beltran being traded. I am sorry they had to go, it would have been great if they were a part of a championship team, but the fact is they weren’t. Furthermore, you don’t build the future of your franchise based on a miracle. It’s a nice thought to think that miracles do happen every once in a while, but you can’t plan for them.

Does it bother me that K-Rod dropped his option so fast and thus the Mets lost out on 2 picks potentially? Of course it does. Truth be told, I was over Francisco Rodriguez the day he got in his locker room scuffle, which lead to an injury.

Nobody can tell me that type of player is a “leader” or “good for the clubhouse.” I don’t trust Rodriguez and his agent when they claim they wanted the option dropped with the Mets. I think if that were the case, it could have been dropped in April.

Imagine what a distraction free K-Rod situation could have done on Opening Day? Why wait until the trade deadline is looming? It seems too convenient to be honest. I think he dropped the option for the sole purpose of padding his own wallet and because his future was not in Milwaukee.

Would this team have been better with both of those guys right now? Maybe.

The problem with that theory is that you have no way of proving to me that keeping either or both of them would make Atlanta, St. Louis, San Francisco or Arizona any worse than they are today. Could the Mets be a .500 team right now with Beltran (assuming he didn’t get hurt like he did), who knows. The one thing that should be agreed upon is that Atlanta would not and has not slowed down.

Could it have happened? Absolutely, anything can happen. However, you don’t build a team based on that concept. A football coach doesn’t build his weekly gameplan based on the potential that maybe a hail mary pass will win them the game.

When Beltran was traded, Atlanta was on a 94 win pace. It would have taken an EPIC collapse for not only the Mets to catch Atlanta, but to also keep pace with Arizona or San Francisco. Plus you throw in the Cardinals who were clearly more talented than their 85 win pace at the time.

Since then, Atlanta has IMPROVED their win pace to 97 games! You know when the last time the Mets won 97 games? 2006, so please don’t spin me any stories about Atlanta not being that good. You don’t win 97 games as a fluke.

If you’re asking me would I rather finish 8-12 games behind Atlanta for the wildcard, and keep Beltran and watch him walk out the door or finish 15-20 games behind Atlanta but have a POTENTIAL starting pitching for several years down the road. I’m taking the pitcher and the 15-20 games any day of the week.

If Beltran’s contract included the potential for compensation, then maybe I’d consider thinking about keeping him. However, that was not a possibility because his contract was player friendly.

I don’t like the idea that the Mets HAD to make these two moves, but reality is reality. For me, I faced reality in 2010 when I realized as much as I supported Minaya, he had to go and a new direction had to be designed. You can’t fix the problems of the past by making the same mistakes.

Lucas Duda

Another key component to the Beltran deal is Lucas Duda. Do I think Duda can be an everyday starter in 2012? I honestly have no idea. I think there is a big difference between playing full-time for 3 months over 6 months.

However, I can say with certainty that we’d have NO idea what Duda is capable of had the Mets kept Beltran. When you look at the Beltran trade, consider that not only did they acquire a prospect pitcher, but also they got a good look at what they hope is their right fielder of the future. The experience Duda is gaining now is invaluable to his future as an opening day starter next year.

Jose Reyes

I’m going to go officially on record here, because I don’t want people telling me what I think. I think Jose Reyes is worth $14.25 million a year for 5 years with a 6th as an option with a reasonable buyout. Paying Reyes that amount per year would put him on par with where Wright is right now.

I enjoy watching him play, but the fact remains he is not on the field enough to prove he is worth much more. I’m sorry that his career has turned out this way, but a player at age 28 with leg problems who relies on speed and is averaging 89 games in uniform over the last 3 years is not a $20 million talent.

People like to get on me for the comparison, but comparing Jose Reyes through 2011 to Jimmy Rollins through 2007 is a very fair comparison for Reyes. Just because Rollins is a Phillie, doesn’t mean he wasn’t very good.

Through the 2007 season, Jimmy Rollins was 28 years old and here is his resume:

7 Years on Opening Day Roster
3 time all-star
1 gold glove
1 silver slugger
Top 10 total bases 2x
Top 10 doubles 2x
Top 10 hits 4 times
Top 10 Runs Scored 4 times
Top 10 triples 7 times
Top 10 Stolen Bases 6 times
1 League MVP
Offensive WAR: 19.7
Defensive WAR: 4.4
157 Games played on average

Through the 2011 season, Jose Reyes is 28 years old and here is his resume:
8 years (including 2011)
4 Time All Star
0 Gold Gloves
1 Silver Slugger
Top 10 Total Bases 1 time
Top 10 Doubles 0 times
Top 10 hits 5 times
Top 10 Runs Scored 4 times
Top 10 triples 6 times
Top 10 Stolen Bases 6 times
0 League MVP
Offensive WAR: 24.1
Defensive WAR: 3.6
119 Games played on average

(To be fair to both parties, I did not hold 2003 against Reyes or 2000 against Rollins when they were not with the team at the start of the year)

Now I am not saying Rollins is better than Reyes or Reyes is better than Rollins. I’m saying it is a very fair comparison through similar ages. And the fact remains that you and I look at the Philadelphia roster and we see an aging SS in decline. We’re right.

But, the problem is in 4 years we’ll be saying the same exact thing about Reyes. Rollins is making $8million this year. Think about what we’d say about the same caliber of talent except making twice as much $ for potentially a longer period of time?

I’m not saying let Reyes walk out the door. I am saying if Jose Reyes wants to be a NY Met, then he will be. If his demands are reasonable based on his performance and health, then I have faith that the Mets will make him a fair offer. If Reyes and his agent walk into a meeting expecting the Mets to make a bad financial decision like Washington did with Werth and like Boston did with Crawford, then I expect the Mets to do what is best for the franchise, and not best for Reyes.

It’s as simple as that. For those that want to say $14 million is too little, here the list of position players in 2011 that are making at least $14million:

C: Joe Mauer
1B: Mark Teixera, Todd Helton, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols
2B: Chase Utley
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Chipper Jones
SS: Derek Jeter
IF: Michael Young
OF: Vernon Wells, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Torii Hunter, Jason Bay, Ichiro Suzuki, Matt Holliday, Carl Crawford, Kosuke Fukudome, J.D. Drew

It’s not the worst company to be in, and we all know that comparing him to mistake contracts is not in anybody’s best interest. Yes, he’s better than Vernon Wells, but Wells is not a model contract.

If Reyes wants to be here for the next 4-6 years, he’ll have the opportunity to prove it. If he wants to get rich, then we thank you for your service, we’ll collect 2 draft picks and Jose can enjoy walking to the monuments in D.C., or wherever he ends up.

Lastly, a Plan

After the Reyes contract situation is put to bed, I want to know what the plan is. Not only do I want to know what it is from Alderson & Company, but I want the people who stomp their feet wanting a contender right now to tell me how it can be done?

If the Mets plan is really to wait a few more years, I’m fine with that. What do I have to lose? I just want to know. I want somebody to say that they expect my patience to be worth it.

I also want the people that sit and pretend like this team could have won a playoff berth this year, and expect one next year to tell me how. If you refuse to part ways with the likes of Harvey, Mejia, Wheeler, Familia, Tejada etc. then how do you expect to make high impact acquisitions?

If you look at the free agent market for the coming years, you have to see that the answer is just not there. Teams do no re-tool in the free agent market anymore. They fix some holes or get the 1 difference maker that can take them to the next level.

The Mets need a lot more help than free agency can provide. So if the answer is not to be patient, build an adequate system that not only makes the Met fan excited but makes other league executives salivate, then how do you turn a mess into success quickly?

It could be a long and bumpy road, but at the end of the day I am a Mets fan. I’ve realized that farm systems are built in a day, and neither are complete rosters. Minaya got 4 years before anybody was really calling for his head. A lot can happen over the course of 4 years here.

If I need to wait to taste success, well I’ve been waiting this long, what’s another couple of years as long as I think the plan in place is the right one?

About Michael Branda 267 Articles
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.