Coutinho: Don’t Blame Sandy For The Exodus Of Jose Reyes

Alderson Not To Blame

By Rich Coutinho
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The news cut through the Mets fans chest like a knife through butter – Jose Reyes will be going to Miami to play for the Miami Marlins.  Yes, that same division rival that short circuited Met playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008

It is the worst thing possible for the Mets fans.  Let me be clear here, Jose Reyes is a dynamic game changing player that will be sorely missed and I do not blame him one bit for taking the best deal he could get for himself and his family.  And for the record, I totally underestimated the aggressiveness of the Miami Marlins and was clearly wrong in my interpretation of their game plan.

But don’t blame Sandy Alderson here.  He was given a budget and was hoping the market would bring Reyes down from the “Carl Crawford” money of a year ago and to a certain extent, it did.  It just did not come down far enough and for that reason, it made little sense to add $18 Million to a payroll in 2012 that already has $61 Million committed to Wright, Santana, and Bay among others.

Would you rather have Reyes than Bay for instance?  Of course you would but Sandy inherited that contract and has to work within the framework of the situation.  This was the first tough decision Sandy had to make here in New York and he could not be swayed by emotionalism or fan reaction.

The Marlins payroll will clearly be well north of $100 Million and that makes the situation different for them than the Mets.  Sandy had to be the adult in the room and had to make the best decision long-term for the organization even if in the short-term, it makes things difficult.

I fully understand the way the Met fans feel today, they feel that they lost a part of their soul with Jose Reyes going south and to a certain extent, they are right.  But in the long run, this move will benefit the Mets because it places them in a good place to add big-time players a year or two down the road when their finances are better defined and their prospects are ready to burst onto the scene. And I know it is a hard thing to digest or understand when you live in a town filled with Yankee fans and have a ballpark that has now become Citizens Bank Park North when the Phillies play here.

Now, I totally also understand in this economic climate we are in, if you decide to stay away from Citi Field because of this non-move, because the entertainment dollar can be spent in other places especially in a sports metropolis like New York City.

But I will tell you this – I’ve seen the players in the Met system that are a year or two away and there is some real talent down there.  I also know Sandy’s team is filled with highly competent baseball people like J.P Ricchardi whom I trust with the keys to the store.

Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, and Ruben Tejada are young players that are hungry and will help this team.  I expect David Wright and Jason Bay to benefit from the new Citi Field dimensions and there is every chance to believe Johan Santana could return with a bang in 2012.  I am sure the Mets will look at different closer options now that the Reyes issue has been decided and who knows… they could add a starter.

The point here is when you are trying to build a solid foundation, there will be those painful moments none of us want to face, moments like yesterday but believe me.  This team has a plan in place and the right people are at the controls.  Sure, if the team’s finances were better, this might never have been an issue.

But the fact remains they are an issue and as a general manager, you simply can not waste time worrying about the things you can’t control.  I look back in Met history and know that in the early 80’s, Frank Cashen had to make many decisions like this.  For example, trading a popular star like Lee Mazzilli or even deciding to not retain Tom Seaver after the 1983 season.

Frank knew he had a plan and help was soon on its way with players like Strawberry, Gooden, and Dykstra.  He also knew he would be in a better position to acquire players once those prospects were in place.  I do not know if the Matt Harveys and Zach Wheelers of the world will be great pitchers but I do know what baseball scouts say.

I will miss being around Jose Reyes every day.  I consider him a friend and he made things so easy media-wise being an honest accessible athlete.  I also understand what Sandy Alderson did or did not do yesterday.  Before you are ready to throw dirt at the 2012 Mets already, consider the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks.  A 90 loss team that added no bats in 2011 merely got a closer in J.J. Putz as well as all-star performances from Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson to propel them into the 90 win stratosphere in a division nobody thought they’d be a factor in.

Is it impossible to believe that Santana and say, Jonathan Niese could do that?  And whichever closer Sandy chooses could do what Putz did?  I thought Met fans were taught to believe in things like that.

Is it likely?  No.  Is it possible? Absolutely and that is why we play the games.

What do you make of Coutinho’s take on Reyes and the 2012 Mets?  Share your comments below…

  • t

    Why does this franchise go through the same cycles.
    Success for a year or two then 5 plus years of rebuilding? One year of success then 5 plus years of rebuiiding. I don’t care who plays shortstop or third base I want to win. Before I die!!!!!

  • john

    You have some nerve printing this nonsense.Are you a cheerleader or a journalist? How can you rationalize such gross neglect? The Mets are a valued institution with MILLIONS of fans that have supported them with money and time for DECADES! The wilpons have an obligation to run this organization as a large market franchise in a capless MLB…or sell it to someone who can afford to. If fred bought the empire state building would people stand idley by while he let it crumble to pieces while claiming lack of funds for upkeep? I think not…and its a building…not a franchise with millions of people hanging on every play for GENERATIONS. What makes you think the mets ownwership can build a “solid foundation” for anything? When have they done that? How can you call for patience? HOW many years must we wait? The yanks miss the playoffs ONCE in 15 seasons and their response is to sign not one, but the TOP THREE free agents…would yank fans allow robbie cano to walk? You may as well write a piece about how the wall construction is coming along, at least that way you will just be boring and not gutless.

    • stick

      except for the fact that owners don’t dip into their own pockets to fund losses for a team. The club needs to be able to support itself, or spending gets slashed.

  • Adrian Martinez

    great plan, Sandy. Wrong city. Patience is a good plan in Kansas City, or Pittsburgh, but not in the biggest media market, and greatest city in the world, where there are 1,000 things to do every day, besides baseball.
    No, here you need STARS. Remember those? Those are all the guys you are giving away for nothing.
    You expect anyone to spend their had earned money on duda? murphy? an overrated david wright? what pipe are you smoking from?
    Be a man and tell the wilpons to sell the team so we can get a real owner here to sign the reyes of the world, AND get albert pujols.
    Why? because it is stars that stir the new york drink.

  • a140

    great plan, Sandy. Wrong city. Patience is a good plan in Kansas City, or Pittsburgh, but not in the biggest media market, and greatest city in the world, where there are 1,000 things to do every day, besides baseball.
    No, here you need STARS. Remember those? Those are all the guys you are giving away for nothing.
    You expect anyone to spend their had earned money on duda? murphy? an overrated david wright? what pipe are you smoking from?
    Be a man and tell the wilpons to sell the team so we can get a real owner here to sign the reyes of the world, AND get albert pujols.
    Why? because it is stars that stir the new york drink.

  • Old Timer

    Finally someone writes an intelligent assessment of yesterday’s events, and all the Anti-Wilpon, “spend without thinking” back-seat GM’s hop all over him with their “don’t confuse me with logic, my mind was made up long ago” drivel. (And the anti-semitic idiot bogot who wrote “The Wilpons are Zionist New World Order puppets” should be barred from posting on any Met related site for life.)

    Anyone with half a brain would realize that matching the Marlins’ offer would have been foolhardy, given the reality of Sandy’s position vis-a-vis the Mets finances today. He has a large number of holes to fill, and devoting almost all his budget to Jose would have put the team short of too much talent. As Rich says, letting Jose go in favor of adding the pieces we need to establish a foundation for winning down the road is smart baseball. I, for one, will be happy to go to Citi several times next year to yell and scream for the product that Sandy puts on the field.

    • Bobby

      hey buddy, I am a Jew myself but I can smell zionists when I see them. The wilpons fall under that determination.

  • Avi

    They had a figure for Reyes which would fit their budget so why didn’t they at least make an offer. You don’t mention that now their revenues will probably plummet a lot more than they will be saving by not signing Reyes. So, in 2 years they’ll have more money to spend on other free agents? How has that worked out so far. Better to sign a homegrown star than take a chance on someone else’s. I have supported them all these years but now my budget won’t allow me to continue my season tix and pay major league prices (and get ripped off for parking too) when I can see the Cyclones for a lot less money.

  • ace11


    ANY chance you go with Reyes to Florida??

  • Pete

    If any of these commenters had a business which lost $70,000 every year, much less $70 million, they wouldn’t up the salaries of the staff as a remedy to the failing business.

    People talk freely with other peoples money, but cut coupons when alone at home.

  • EddieBressoud

    I agree. As long as the Wilpons on the Mets they are going nowhere

  • MonsterMet

    It is bogus to argue that they should “save the money now” so they can get really good players a couple of years from now… Huh? You mean like the Knicks saving cap room for LeBron? Why not keep a really good player now AND get good players next year too? Baseball has no hard salary cap. The only reason it is an either/or proposition is because the Mets are owned by deadbeat owners who run the Mets like a car wash. I will be rooting for the Madoff Trustee more than the Mets this summer.

  • Bobby

    richie boy,
    stop farting and leaving your smell on the screen. I like your optimism, I really do, but farts are farts and FARTS ARE FACTS. The Wilpons are Zionist New World Order puppets, there is no way they will leave the Mets, basically because they are just puppets in the wide-range fear mongering elite. They attend the Bildeberg meetings, they are ‘pond scuum’.

  • ace11


    You are PATHETIC……LMAO

    and I HIGHLY DOUBT Reyes considers you a friend

    70-75 wins next year at BEST

  • MetFan

    Mets Fans, if you are REAL fans then I implore you, Stay away! Don’t buy any tickets or merchandise, force the Wilpon’s to SELL THE TEAM!!!!!!! That is our only hope! They won’t or can’t spend any money and they are terrible owners – sell the team now!

    • Peter

      so true!!!!

  • mark g

    what the mets should have done is trade reyes when they could for prospects- but no matter how you sugar coat it they are a dysfunctional team and I have no more time to waste on them I will not be going to buy tickets , 25 years of the incompetence is enough

  • Joe D - Mets Merized Online

    Why don’t you leave the guy alone. He’s a class act and unlike most of the other best writers he is a die-hard Mets fan. I wish there were more like writers like Rich whose columns always ring poignant and are not filled with snark. Keep up the great work Rich. I may not always agree with you, but I always respect your opinions.

  • Joe H.

    I like your optimism, but I doubt the Mets will win more than 73 or 74 games next year. Also, i’m sick and tired of writers and Mets brass telling me that Dan Murphy and Tejada and Duda are future stars. Murphy has some double-hitting ability, Tejada has some defense but no offense, and Duda is no better than a bat off the bench and a utility player. Are you also trying to tell me that Jon Niese is going to win 19 games this season? hah… his over/under stands at 14 wins at this point… and with no bullpen, I doubt he will get much past 10 wins…

  • nick

    Hey,Rich,minor league success doesn’t mean players will be good major leaugers.Remember Lastings Milledge?Alex Escobar?Alex Ochoa?Aaron Heliman?Butch Huskey?And what do we do while waiting for the young guys to come up-watch a bad team?No,thanks!We have been patient enough!

  • joseph

    This is nothing more than Wilponzi being cheap and not wanting to pay for top talent.

    Enough with the spin, we as fans have had enough!

  • Ned

    Coutinho, give up that crystal ball brother. You’re the one who was so sure the Mets were in a playoff contention in May, May. You were the one who was so sure that Reyes was going to stay that you wrote telling Mets fans to not pay attention with the Met lowering the payroll, because if they did, it would not be $100 mil or less.

    You’re also the one who wrote not to pay attention to the Madoff stuff because it would not have an effect on Reyes.

    Now you’re asking Mets fans to be attention to what the Diamondbacks did this year. That Diamondbacks team has talent the Mets roster currently does not have.

    See what Justin Upton did for the Diamondbacks this year. Reyes could only dream of being that type of player and the Mets do not have one player with Upton’s talent.

    I’m sure that’s the same crystal ball you had in the 2000 WS when you thought the Mets would beat the Yankees and the same crystal ball you had when the Mets CHOKED in ’07 & ’08.

    How did it work out for you then? Stop lying to these Mets fans by using an item that had failed to predict something positive, that crystal ball is cursed.

    Mets are years away from being a good team, let alone a contender.

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