By Rich Coutinho
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It’s the question that’s been asked since the Mets arrived at spring training: What will Sandy Alderson do at the trading deadline?
What a great question. So many people have pontificated about what the team should do — and should not do — in regards to Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Francisco Rodriquez. So, with 8 weeks to go until the July 31st deadline, we’re all still anxious to know what the Mets have up their sleeves. And truth be told, on Beltran and K-Rod, nobody really knows.
I can tell you this: Reyes’ profile has risen dramatically inside the organization, and rightfully so.
You know, we all talk about leadership. Reyes is showing it on and off the field. He is in a contract year, yet we don’t hear a peep out of him about it — even after the team’s owner made a misguided comment. On the field, Reyes has been the best in baseball at his position and you could make a case he’s been the NL’s top player so far in 2011.
Off the field, he has become an understated leader, mentoring players like Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada. I have noticed it because, well, I asked the two players and both infielders told me Reyes has taken them under his wing and helped them become better players.
And I’d like to stress once again — not one word about his contract. What he wants, what the Mets owe him, what the world owes him for that matter.
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He has even taken the high road with his detractors in the media who said this and that about him last year. Instead, he has made himself accessible to all reporters every day. He is very humble about his success. That’s the way Jose was brought up. And when certain reports in this town brought up theories about the team choosing between and David Wright –reports that were unsubstantiated, I might add — Reyes did not let it drive a wedge between the two. His friendship with Wright is very important to him.
The voice of Mets fans on the Reyes issue has been very noticeable and I had a chance to talk to some of them at Citi Field this weekend. Lets face it, the fan’s voice on this issue is important to consider and as I have stated on numerous occasions, the Mets fan is often times portrayed by the media as paranoid, negative and downright snarky. Although that is a great way to describe most of the media (especially with the advent of social networking), that is not an accurate depiction of the Mets fan — at least not the ones I know.
Last year, they were calling for Reyes to remain with this club and the media that are now FINALLY jumping on the bandwagon are late arriving to the party. But the truth is, most Mets fans never stopped loving Reyes AND Wright — even when times were tough. Reyes’ effervescent style personifies the fan who generally needs very little persuading to jump up and down, much like the fiery shortstop.
They were brought up with “Let’s Go Mets,” “Ya Gotta Believe” and “We Got The Teamwork To Make The Dream Work.” They know that Reyes and Wright are part of the solution that will lead this team out of the wilderness. I firmly believe that Sandy Alderson has been coming to that assumption as well. And the Wilpons, despite all of the negative comments, know it too.
I said it in spring training and I will say it again — I simply believe Reyes and Wright will be wearing Mets uniforms after the trading deadline. Both will be patrolling the left side of the infield. Nothing I have seen this season has made me change my mind on that issue. Nothing.
Agree? Disagree? Let Coutinho know in the comments below…