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Coutinho: The Case For The Mets To Keep Jose Reyes

By Rich Coutinho
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It has been a very turbulent 12 months for the Wilpons. They’ve dealt with managerial changes, pending lawsuits and an air of negativity throughout their fan base. There has also been wild speculation that Sandy Alderson will be in full seller mode come July with K-Rod, Carlos Beltran, and Jose Reyes being offered around to provide salary relief and prospects for the future. And if the team is struggling, it might be prudent to pursue that route with some high-priced veteran players.

But the issue here is Jose Reyes is not a veteran player–he is still a young shortstop who just 2 seasons ago was perceived to be part of the solution–not part of the problem. I will admit the last 2 seasons have been disappointing and has forced many to question his durability but that has made us forget one very important thing–Reyes is a game changer and when he plays, or more precisely when he scores a run, the Mets generally win.

It is very obvious in the early going this season, Reyes is healthy and is treating Citi Field like his own personal triple machine. Defensively, he is flashing both the leather and arm that few shortstops in the league possess. Playing behind a staff that generally pitches to contact makes Jose even more valuable. So what is the problem–why wouldn’t the Mets sign a twenty-something homegrown shortstop who is a legitimate 5 tool player? Many suggest it is because of team finances. That may indeed be the case, but my feeling is THIS is the player you allocate the dollars to even at the expense of other high ticket items.

The experts have also theorized that Reyes will want Carl Crawford-type money which will price him out of the team’s budget constraints.  I have talked to Reyes about that and although we have not gotten into dollar specifics, I get the sense he loves living in New York and playing alongside Wright and would be willing to be reasonable if the Mets would do the same. It certainly makes sense, at this point, for both parties to wait, but if Reyes is having a big year, I wouldn’t wait too long.

But I don’t want you to take my word for it–I asked opposing players what Jose Reyes does in a game.  “You just have to keep him off the bases–if you don’t, everyone in their lineup becomes a better hitter,” said Ryan Howard last week in Philly.

Want more evidence?– “In that first inning of a game you just pray you get him out, because if you don’t you might be climbing uphill all night,” said Chipper Jones when I talked to him about Reyes in spring training. Those are two pretty good testimonials from two great players, but there might be one more item to consider.

Perish the thought–if he became available this off-season, the Yankees might strongly consider signing Reyes and moving an aging Derek Jeter to another position. That is a nightmare situation Sandy Alderson simply can not let happen. Losing Jose Reyes to the Bronx might be too much even for the most loyal Met fan to take.

Should the Mets keep Reyes at any cost? Weigh in below…

  • Richard Sweeny

    Reyes is a home grown Met, which is worth something, but he’s hurt A LOT. He hasn’t hit in the clutch. He’s a great lead-off man, but his on base percentage is mediocre. The Mets should offer him $60 million for five years today! Add another ten mil in incetnives for OBP, clutch hitting and you have a fair deal for both sides. They don”t have to pay any money until Beltran’s contract ends, so he doubles his salary, after missing almost 2 out of the past 3 years, and management still has $8-$9 million/year left from Beltran’s expired contract. Use that to siagn another solid pitcher. If Reyes doesn’t take the deal, trade him at the trade deadline.

  • Charles de siena

    Baseball fan since ’44. If Jose really wants to stay it wouldbe irresponsible to let him go! No excuses.! Sell the team but do not sell reyes.

  • safe-at-the-plate

    Reyes is the kind of player you do all you can to get as a free agent. The Mets would be crazy not to do all they can to keep him. He’s a Franchise Player.

  • Ed

    Trade him now! His stock will never be higher. Great talent indeed, but can anyone recall a clutch hit from this guy? EVER? He never hits in the clutch.

  • Laura C.

    YES, The Mets have to keep Jose Reyes. Only stupid ass people would get rid of him. Give the fans this! Plus Jose is playing better than David at this point!!!!!

  • Alex Fishbane

    Need to keep Reyes. If the Mets can trade Beltran and Santana (not worth the 24 million), and not allow the K-Rod contract to vest, they will have the capital to resign Reyes. And with the prospects they get from Beltran and Santana, in two years they will have a very talented team, with Reyes at the heart.

    • Moses

      And who would take for a pitcher who makes 24 mil a year & who can’t stay healthy? It’s easy to say trade this player, also what team out there can afford to pay one player 24 mil a year & who has about 5 more yrs left in the contract. Also, as of right now, Santana is in the DL, nobody knows when he’s returning & if he does, will he the same pitcher in was 3 yrs ago. Typical Mets fan, wanting to get rid of their own trash & hoping to dump them on another team, like teams out there are as stupid as they are.

      Wishful thinking Mets fan, but this only happens to the Mets where they take players nobody wants. Reyes is a career .284 hitter, no power, not an RBI guy, cannot carry a team, yeah, re-signed him for 120 mil & 2 yrs from now you will be the first to say trade him & there’s no takers.

      • Jeff

        Tom G, wake the hell up, Reyes sucks, when he’s not hurt, you’re a joke by making such a stupid statement, when not hurt. How many championships have the Mets won when Reyes has been healthy? don’t take to long to answer, it’s not a trick question.

      • Tom G

        Reyes isn’t an RBI guy? Has no power? When not hurt- between 2006 and 2008 , for three years Reyes averaged 17 HR’s per year, 70 RBI’s and he scored over 100 runs and stole over 40 bases per year. There isn’t another player in the league putting up those kind of numbers from the leadoff spot.

      • Matt O

        Jeff ur poin thesuck period reyes is the only good onenu dont make the world series because 1 player and its all about pitching

  • Kurt Spitzner

    I think he is a great spark plug and should be re-signed but only at a homegrown price,and if not then let him go because he will not get Carl Crawford money from this regime,nor should he.All ball players are paid too much money for those of us in the real world to comprehend but there still has to be some sort of a limit and on this side of town that shadow has already been cast!

    • Mark

      a hometown price, that’s a good one. Don’t know what the hell that means because Reyes is a selfish player who would want the most he can get even if over paid. Joe Mauer gave the Twins a hometown price, it cost the Twins $184 million and an eight-year contract, so much for a hometown price. Get real dude, you’re dreaming.

      This is the real world. I forgot, you’re a Mets fan, you people live in Fantasy Island

  • Zman

    He is one of the only reason to watch the Mets. Wilpons think ticket sales are down now? Wait until after the fire sale… Bring in Cohen, pay Reyes, and keep stocking the minors…

  • Mike

    Mets need to do what’s needed to keep Reyes. If they don’t it is clearly because of finances and this ownership we know is not committed to winning. A big market team needs to keep their home-grown talent!

  • James

    Reyes has been in the league for 9 seasons now that alone makes him a veteran, also, a player with six or more years of Major League service makes him eligible for free agency, that also makes him a veteran. Reyes will be 28 in June, in sports that’s 3 yrs in the prime yrs for an athletic. Reyes has only hit .300 ONLY ONCE, had a 200 hit season ONLY ONCE, both came in different seasons ’06 & ‘08.

    Reyes is a very good player, he’s not great. Reyes is not the type of player who can carry a team. He SUCKS come clutch time in September; he hit .214 in ’07 and .240 in ‘08, the 2 historical chokes, his career OPS .335 which is really bad for a leadoff hitter. Mets have never won with him, what makes you think they still can? He’s not Pujols, A-Rod, Jeter, Howard or Votto, not even close, so don’t make people believe that he is.

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