By Rico Brogna
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Hey ya’ll, sorry that it has been such an incredibly long time since I have written a blog for wfan.com. I have been crazy busy with football coaching at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Fairfield, CT that it really hasn’t allowed for much “me” time. But I am back again, baby, and can’t wait to get some baseball thoughts down to share with you.
Jose Reyes, I believe, was a 19-year-old making his debut season at the Double-A level in the Eastern League (Binghamton, NY). I was coaching for the Reading Phillies, only a year removed from playing my last season as a major league baseball player. My baseball instincts and my baseball eye was still fresh and as I watched this young, highly touted Mets prospect play that summer.
I knew I was watching a unique and special talent. There was little doubt about Reyes and his athleticism, body control, burst, quickness and raw natural strength. Jose possessed a lot of unique natural skills dissimilar to many of the Eastern League pro’s who were pretty solid baseball players, but most of which would never see a big league clubhouse. When you watch and evaluate the “players” compared to the other players, it is quite evident who will become the athletes that will someday take center stage.
Yes, there is a wide gap.
Reyes was on his way for sure, and most of us who saw the infielder during those developing years thought that it would take a while for him to mature both his physical and mental game. Jose, like many talented young prospects, had obvious energy and ability on the field.
What was also evident was that this young rising star needed to learn more about “how” to play the game. Again, this is very common, and is especially common for a young talented player that is being pushed through the minor leagues because of what we baseball people call “up-side.”
Maybe “rushed” is the wrong word. To be fair, his talent made him a fast-riser through his minor league development years. Sadly enough, far too many highly projected, highly rated players are pushed and rushed through the minor leagues.
This is especially true when there is quite a large sum of money tagged to the player from say, the amateur draft-signing bonus. Money paid out to bonus babies rule the day. Owners push front office execs to see the players and the team that they paid for … there’s more pressure today than ever before because of this factor.
Jose is a free agent and the Mets are wrapped in closed-door meetings discussing the value of players on their roster, players not on their roster and the young up-and-comer’s from their own development system. How much value does Reyes bring to the Mets is a key and critical questions they will have to answer before making Jose an offer to stay, both in years and in dollars. “Value” is something that each teams has criteria for and the Mets will be putting a final “value” grade on Reyes in the next couple of days if they haven’t done so already.
Personally, after scouting Reyes and the Mets for many recent years, I would let Jose go and let him hit the market. I have my own personal criteria and value chart that I have put together through the years (mainly shaped from teams that I gave worked with and learned from) and in this particular player’s case, the value is not a fit for me.
Too many inconsistencies and unpredictability with this player to sign long term — and probably have to sign for big bucks to go along with multiple years.
I have seen this young talent rise through the minor leagues, scouted him in his rookie and sophomore seasons in New York, and now have finally seen his development take him into his veteran years (free agent years) as a major league baseball player. My opinion and belief as a scout and front office executive (baseball ops) guy is to say “thank you” to Jose, but we are moving in the proverbial different direction.
Wish him the best, and start growing your roster with other players … and yes, I would trade David Wright as well (for pitching, pitching, and more pitching!).
Agree? Disagree? Let Rico know in the comments below…