‘Hart of the Order’
By Sean Hartnett
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At present, losing Jose Reyes to injury hurts the New York Mets in the short-term.  A nine-game deficit in the Wild Card is a difficult hill to climb even with Reyes and Daniel Murphy in the lineup.  Murphy’s MCL sprain means that he’s done for the season, and Reyes re-aggravated the same hamstring that forced him to miss more than two weeks last month.

With their playoff chances shelved, Mets fans are examining their roster and wondering who will be signed, traded away and let go.  The main focus is obviously on Reyes, the heartbeat of the Mets and coveted free-agent-to-be.  Baseball experts have long debated whether Reyes will receive a contract similar to the seven-year $142 million contract the Boston Red Sox awarded Carl Crawford.

Some believe that Reyes could command a deal that exceeds Crawford’s and others feel that his injury history will scare off a few interested clubs.  The Mets will be delighted if the latter is the case as there would be less competition in free agency.  Once word gets out that one general manager is afraid of a player’s health, other teams tend follow suit.  No team would want to be on the hook for a seven-year deal that pays out over $20 million per annum if their star could miss significant time in any given season.

Reyes’ hamstring has been a lingering problem throughout his career — and he has also been plagued by calf injuries.  As players get older, they tend to pick up more injures.  Reyes has already had his fair share and is two years away from turning 30.  Hamstring issues in particular are known to trouble athletes more frequently with age.

This plays into the Mets’ favor as they hope that this will ward off some of Reyes’ suitors and keep winter negotiations within their budget.  Losing Reyes would deeply impact gates at Citi Field and it’s a must that he is retained.  The Mets’ fan base has been vocal throughout the season and there would be a backlash from both season ticket holders and casual fans if Reyes ends up putting on a different uniform.

Citi Field could be desolate place.

Unlike other teams, the Mets are desperate for Reyes’ services whether or not he is able to play near the 150-game mark.  He fills Mets fans with hope and is an integral part of the franchise’s marketing.  Strictly on the field, Reyes is the player in which the Mets must continue to build around.

The Mets are well aware of the consequences of losing Reyes and are hoping that his record of injuries will work to their advantage.   This could be the blessing in disguise they were looking for…

What do you make of Reyes’ chances of remaining with the Mets beyond 2011?  Share your thoughts below and send your tweets to @HartyLFC.

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