How Much Of This Is on Reyes?

By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper

Sandy Alderson has been the Mets general manager for one year now.  His first year with the team was a lot of a wait-and-see approach, sprinkled in with waiting out some bad contracts to either expire (Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo) or dump (Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez).  Time will tell what happens with Zach Wheeler, the return on investment for trading Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants, or his staff’s first draft year.

Mostly, 20/20 hindsight is a hell of a thing.  Alderson was unfortunately in a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation coming in, especially at the beginning.  While it was evident that Mike Pelfrey might have been better off traded out of the NL East after his overperformance in 2010, or Angel Pagan kept around to continuously brainwash the masses into thinking he’s any sorts of good, Alderson could have traded these guys at the peak of their market and heard the wrath of fans…or risk keeping them around and deplete any kind of value they could get in return.  The latter, of course, is what happened.

What I like to say about this is that we want the best of both worlds: keep around our favorite prospects while getting the best free agents on the market.  Yet, while they can coexist but sometimes you have to sacrifice one for the other.  This isn’t just Mets fan specific, but every fan I suppose. One can argue till they’re blue in the face about the Mets though, about being a big market team which means they should spend at all costs, which to me is a bunch of crap because they’ve DONE that.  Because of reckless spending without a plan, we have the crap cake we’ve been chomping at for the past three seasons, possibly more if you can include how disappointing 2007 and 2008 were.

Now, Alderson had a huge task to basically “re-do” the New York Mets, but throw in the mix at the beginning the potential loss of fan favorite Jose Reyes to free agency after the 2011 season finishes and it’s an even more unenviable task.  There will be some in the camp who believe that Alderson should have negotiated with Reyes prior to spring training or the Reyes-imposed deadline of before Opening Day.  I will admit to being one of them.  For a front office that is supposed to be comprised of the smartest guys in the room, and be so conscious of costs, the best time to negotiate an extension with Reyes would have been prior to April.  He’d been injury-marred for a few seasons, having missed most of 2009 as well.  The flip side to that is with the Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth’s contracts that were given out like Skittles, Reyes had absolutely no incentive to even talk an extension for 3-4 years because all he had to do was play well in 2011.

But see, therein lies my issue with this whole shenanigans.  Douchecanoe Deluxe Dino Costa “reported” (e.g. “stirred up shit” because he wanted to) a few weeks ago that Reyes was all but signing with the Marlins.  Funny, I haven’t seen a press conference yet.  For Reyes’ agents who only vocalize anything about their client is when they say he wants to “shop around,” something struck me funny that he would sign immediately with the first team that offered him a contract, ANY contract.  But also to give the Mets the right of first refusal.

And isn’t it funny that with Alderson’s crew, there’s something else going on: leaks are very contained now, and if anything is leaked, it’s very controlled. You know why?  Because competent people are actually running things now.

Which leads me to this.  Last night, a bit of a kerfuffle occurred because during the day, Adam Rubin of ESPN had reported that Alderson said that he only knows what’s going on with Reyes “in the headlines.”  Which led to an uproar on Twitter and other portals of social media, about how Alderson isn’t trying to sign Reyes and he sucks and he’s awful and he’s playing “Moneyball” now.

You know what we don’t hear, though?  Is how much of this negotiation or lack thereof is on Jose Reyes and his agents.

Think about it.  All we knew at the beginning of the season is that Reyes would have liked to negotiate prior to the start of the season.  Another dude did that too: Albert Pujols in St. Louis.  His team went on to win the World Series…a feat that no one predicted at the beginning of the season.  Pujols has every incentive to stay with his team now.  The only thing that would keep him from doing so would be money or perceived disrespect. Does anyone think that Pujols is going to sign anywhere else?  Probably not. (And Pujols was also offered a contract by the Marlins)

This leads me here.  Jose Reyes IS the Mets.  He has been for several years.  Yet, the Mets are in a precarious position.  They had one of the highest payrolls in baseball with nothing to show for it.  The farm system is in neglect and bottom-heavy for now, while there are still bad contracts that may handicap the team (namely Jason Bay and Johan Santana) short-term.  Sadly, Reyes has become a luxury and not a necessity.  Don’t get me wrong: I love Jose Reyes.  I will miss him if he goes.  The team hasn’t won anything with him, that also means they can lose without him too.

Yet, no one has brought up the other side of the equation: sure, Alderson may say all he knows is what he reads…but where is Reyes and his people in this mix?  If they desperately wanted to either a) stay in New York, they’d be planting more stories or b) his agents could also conversely put negative stories there to make it seem like it wasn’t their fault.  Either way, no one talks about what Reyes might be thinking.  He may say he wants to stay in New York, but if someone blows him out of the water, he’s not going to say no to that too.  And we all know there is a cap to even Jose Reyes, despite what the lunatic fringe may try to convince you of.

When Alderson traded Beltran, there were those of us upset because Beltran was no longer a Met (I was one of them), those who were ambivalent or those who felt that the Mets front office gave up too early on the season, that they still had a “chance” to somehow win.  Yet no one ever brought up that Beltran, in his tenure with the Mets, was demonized by fans, media and even his own team alike for certain perceived behaviors.  It wouldn’t be the first time this team’s front office or local media tried to run a superstar out of town.  Yet, no one brought up that perhaps behind the scenes, Beltran and Alderson may have had a chit-chat, and Beltran may have green-lighted any deal do that he could wash away the negativity that has plagued him since signing with the team in 2005.  The Mets were in no position to do so, especially since they owed him a lot of money and whoever picked him up would not be able to offer arbitration and get their draft picks.  But they did and Beltran went gently in this good night.

What’s to say that Reyes might not be interested in talking to the Mets because in his mind, he’s moved on, or that his agents want him to negotiate with the Mets after they’ve shopped him around?  The fact is no one knows and I think that’s a good thing.  I’ve had nothing to really write about this offseason because all the stories have been bland.  And I swore I wouldn’t write anything else on Reyes until SOMETHING happened.  But really, I had to address the insanity, because it’s only going to get crazier until something happens.  But I’ll make my judgments after the press conference.

19 responses to “How Much Of This Is on Reyes?

  1. Good stuff, my friend. I think there’s some posturing going on, and that’s about it. Alderson’s statements this summer about wanting to negotiate and being spurned were Shakespearian. Alderson knew that before he asked. Smart people know the answers before they ask public questions. That was Sandy “putting it on Reyes”. Reyes’s agents are flaunting the Marlins offer (which interestingly is the ONLY one), to “put it on Sandy”. Fact is, we know what Sandy wants us to know, and that’s ok. The MSM doesn’t know anything Sandy doesn’t want them or us to know, and that’s even better. Let this thing play out privately, and let us know when and where the press conference will be.

  2. There are some things I felt Sandy could do to improve the team but as far as this season goes, it’s really unfair to wait around for the Wilpon financial conditions to improve. Alderson is hamstrung but is smart enough to be the fall guy. What sucks is that I don’t even think Reyes will be given much of a chance. Sigh.

  3. Great read.

    Count me in the camp of those who thought they should have extended Jose last winter. I understand the mindset of why Alderson went in a different direction but hindsight being 20/20 (Reyes winning the batting title) didn’t help his detractors from bad mouthing that decision. Thing is, we’ll never know if a contract could have been agreed on by both sides.

    Fast forward to now and I believe the Reyes situation has been elevated to represent the one factor that might make or break fans perception of where this team is headed as a whole.

    Sign him and for most fans, all might be well. All might buy into the lower payroll and rebuilding of sorts to produce an organization that competes every year.

    Don’t sign him and it’s all on the Wilpons, their near broke status of the Sterling Mets, the perception that it’s all about them trying to hold onto the team at all costs and nothing but that.

    Unfortunately when all is said and done, I think it’s going to be the latter. We’ll lose the one player they should have concentrated on keeping for his entire career.

  4. I agree with SRT. Right now, there is a portion of the fan base (at least some people that spend a lot of time posting on blogs, which almost by definition puts them in the lunatic fringe, bu some seem farther up there. yet I digress) that despise Sandy, the rest of the FO, and everything they perceive them to stand for. it is almost comical at this point.

    I just have to laugh that some people honestly feel that Sandy has no interest in having a winning team, and that he somehow is playing a game where cutting payroll is the ultimate goal. BS> He would spend money if he could, but the team is broke (worse then broke, deep in a hole most likely).

    But, like any manager, he takes the heat for the owners. And will do the best he can with what he has to work with. And, a biggie, he is looking at building the team for the future, even if that means not “going for it” as hard in 2012.

    Sure, a team can get lucky and have a miracle run, but a smart GM plays the percentages. A 5% chance of making the playoffs is that for a reason, it is damned rare to happen.

    anyway, as to Reyes? Yes, negotiations go both ways, and 99% of what we read (and react to) is spin that was put out for a reason. Gotta laugh at all the people swearing Sandy is doing nothing, or ignoring a player, etc. when none of us really know what is going on behind the scenes.

  5. SRT & Stick – I’ll comment on you both since you seem to have overlapping views. First, thanks for reading and commenting! Second, I think we’re in for some culture shock as fans since we’re so used to seeing EVERYTHING play out publicly. Look at even when Beltran signed in 2005…it was like “Beltran sneezed in New York’s general direction” and everyone went ape. Reyes is negotiating in private and may or may not be including the Mets. I think it’s great if Alderson isn’t running to the media every 10 seconds with it. All it’s doing though is feeding the trolls and lunatic fringe into thinking the Mets aren’t doing anything. At the root of it all, I am torn. Torn if I want Reyes back (of course I do – just at the right price) and what could be done to learn from this in the future. Thanks again for reading and have a nice day!

  6. I would love to see Reyes in a Mets uni in 2012′ but agree with Coop – ONLY at the right price. I believe Jose will hold out for “Carl Crawford” money from the Mets because Fred famously said back in May that he wouldn’t get it. You all remember that, right? He also said that DW is a good player, not a superstar, and that Beltran was only 65-70% of what he was. All in one day! Smears 3 of the Core in public! If I were Jose, I would actually take less money from another team than prove Freddie Boy right.

  7. Yes, I agree that none of us really know what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s foolish to get too excited one way or another until we actually see how the Reyes situation is resolved, how the Mets offseason is handled overall, and what the team does on the field in 2012.

    But fans who are suspicious of the direction of the team are not exactly crazy. The evidence backing their suspicion is 77-85, 79-83 and 70-92.

    Fans don’t really care who the GM is, much less polished or foolish he may look in front of a camera. Nor should they.

    All we really care about are wins and losses. And quite frankly, this organization just doesn’t have the win-loss credentials to demand trust and dismiss suspicion from the fan base.

    Produce a winner. That’s all we care about. And that will certainly earn this organization credibility with its own fans.

  8. will the mets improve with reyes next year or he is around cause’ he is reyes ?
    can the mets finish third with or without him? trade let him go if he chooses and look foward to 3 years down the line. by then the mets will have a short stop who will not spend twostays at the DL hilton hotel. by 2015 te mets will have younger players through the re-building process and reyes will be older…and a injury liability.

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  10. Great article, Coop. I agree with the sentiments expressed that the Mets of 2012 (even 2013) won’t win whether they have Reyes or not. I love watching him play and I hope he stays. If he goes we’ll have to wait to see how the draft comp. picks develop down the road. If he stays the question will be do the Mets have the ability to build a winning team around him by maybe 2014?
    Who knows? I do trust Alderson more than the Wilpons, but that is not enough.

  11. @JR, not so much a “point” but a way to look at things from not-fans-looking-to-get-on-Sandy-Alderson point of view. It’s a blog post, I don’t claim to have “inside info” but want to see the other side of the story. I write what I want to see. What kind of questions do you have?

  12. @ Seat5…SEAT FIVE!!!!!!! BTW, CONGRATS. Second, you look at things the same way I do. At the end of the day, we want to win. Period. I think you can’t be BAD with Jose Reyes on your team…but the Mets have been bad. So now what? Its an open-ended question. No one has the answer. So I want to meet the wife, bring her to a game next year!

  13. @Chris, Mets were lucky to be able to trade Beltran with a back-loaded contract and the money he was owed, not to mention, his injury-history. In 2015, Kranepool Society made a facetious tweet about Mets fans complaining about Reyes’ crippling contract. Heres the thing: we’re in the big market, but we’re not the Yankees. That much is true. the Mets make deals differently though, with thoughts that long contracts can be crippling. I feel though that Reyes can break that mold…but we’ll never know TILL that actually happens.

  14. @Norm, it’s like you are ME! I say that all the time. I don’t want people to get the impression that I don’t love Reyes, I DO. I want him to be a Met for life. But my position has changed from “we need him at all costs” to “I’m ok with him not being on the Mets next year.” It seems like you are the same way too!

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