By Rich Coutinho
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I have sat and listened to the so-called experts pontificate about the merits of Jose Reyes and whether the Mets could or should sign him. All I keep hearing is about the last game of the season and how Jose Reyes should have done this or done that. The bottom line is he led the league in both batting and triples and those facts are undeniable. In a season in which many injured Mets took many weeks to return to the lineup (some took all season) Reyes pushed his body to return and played 100% every waking moment. I’d venture to guess if the Braves or Red Sox had him, we would not be talking about their collapses and Terry Francona would still be wearing a Bosox hat. That is how valuable I think Jose is to a team.
Of course, Jose can not do it alone and much will depend on how Sandy Alderson reconstructs his bullpen and what the Mets get from Johan Santana in 2012. But this nonsense about Reyes in the season finale is just that — nonsense. Aside from the people who paid their way into Citi Field, no one has a right to complain and, the last time I checked, members of the media do not pay their way into ballparks. The bottom line here is most of the media threw dirt on Jose Reyes last year saying he’d never show he could be a great player.
Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki had their breakout seasons. What about Jose? Well, now that he had a breakout seasons, the media has to explain away why they buried Jose Reyes and so they hang onto “this season finale nonsense”. Bottom line is Jose Reyes had enough at-bats to qualify and fully understood how important winning a batting title was both to him and the Mets organization. Important to him because it enhances his “free agent” value and important to the Mets because nobody in the franchise’s 50 year history had ever done it.
Football-wise, this would be like Adrian Petersen passing Frank Gore for the rushing title by a yard and then sitting out a meaningless quarter because he did not want to fall back into second if he was pinned with a 5 yard loss. It takes nothing away from Petersen and the same can be said for Reyes. This uproar has little to do with what occurred in the season’s last game but more to do with the media always having the last word. You see the media kept telling us all year that Jose Reyes could not have that breakout season but he did. They told us he could not possibly command heavy dollars on the open market but he will.
Will that big contract be with the Mets? My guess is both sides want this and for that reason it will get done. I do not think it will be done quickly because chances are Reyes will get other bids for his services which he will entertain. But believe you me — whomever signs Reyes will be lucky to have one of the true game changers on their roster. Now, a big dollar commitment should be scrutinized carefully and much must be considered. But at no point, will any team waste any time asking themselves if Reyes leaving the season finale after one at-bat impacts their decision. That is unless they are considering changing career paths to become a member of the media.
Is Reyes judged too harshly? Leave a comment below.