Friday, July 22, 2011

Jose Reyes: Why Signing The Shortstop Will Just Add To The Mets Problems

The New York Metropolitans stated this week that they have no intention of trading their All-Star short- stop Jose Reyes.

This is a bigger mistake than Heidi Montag deciding to go under the knife for the eighth time, a bigger misstep than Emilio Estevez keeping his Latino name.

The evidence is consequential, the data beyond verifiable. We are in the midst's of witnessing a gross miscalculation of an individual players worth right before our eyes. Signing Reyes for a six or seven year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of 140-160 million dollars will be the second Ponzi scheme the Mets will have suffered recently. No one player is worth that amount and no team should bankroll their future in an aging shortstop, unless your the Yankees.

The Mets are still stinging from scandal, trying to pick up the pieces like most of the country. The last thing they should be doing is sacrificing long-term team success and growth for short-term inconsistency and ultimate stagnation. This team has a track record of overpaying players to satisfy the emotional appetite of the rabid New York sports fan, a tendency to veer towards overreaction while fearing the shadow of the pinstripes.

Reyes is playing great this year (when healthy), but what about the previous six seasons which were marred by injuries and erratic play. In this 24-hour news cycle, we have become such prisoners of the moment.

We are the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society on steroids.

So what if the market value was raised because of nonsensical signings like Jason Werth to the Nationals and Carl Crawford's deal with the RedSox.

The Mets can look at their own history.

They gave outfielder Jason Bay an ocean, Carlos Beltran a lucrative deal off of one good playoff series, and David Wright a monster deal when all signs pointed wrong.

Reyes relies on his legs as much as his bat to be a game changer. At 28, he is the John Dillinger of stealing bases. But, when players hit 30 they become the Flash on a Guinness Diet.  Reyes isn't a power hitter. His value lies from his ability to stretch a ground ball for a single and advancing around the base paths like the roadrunner.

When signing a player to a long term deal, health is a major issue. As great as Ken Griffey, Jr. was, he became delicate as a baby fawn once he signed his gargantuan contract with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds still feel his aftershocks in their wallets. The difference is Griffey wasn't injury prone before coming to Cincinnati. Jose Reyes is and has been with the Mets his entire career.

The Mets have a little brother complex sharing the concrete jungle spotlight with the Bronx bombers. It has clouded their judgment to the point where management believes any free agent splash will make a reverberating wave.

Reyes is a spark in the lineup, but he's also a riskier bet than a Tiger Woods celibacy vow. Mets fans can afford to be emotional creatures and to think with their hearts.

The organization can not.

Spending U-Haul vans full of cash on one baseball player (pitchers excluded) can't catapult a team to the top of the food chain. It can and has left clubs in partial paralysis and future financial handcuffs.

A thriving baseball team is the sum of its parts. Jose Reyes is a nice, but overvalued piece of a much larger puzzle.

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