Why the Mets Were Right to Let Reyes Leave

Given all the information available as of December 8th, 2011, I’m willing to declare that the Mets were right to let Jose Reyes, arguably their best homegrown superstar this side of Tom Seaver, leave for the Miami Marlins.

With or without Reyes, barring some epic miracle, the Mets will not be contenders in 2012. That much is certain.

Beyond that, we can venture, at best, an educated guess as to when the Mets will have a legitimate shot at returning to the postseason. That time may come as soon as 2013. Or 2015. There are simply too many variables to consider; we cannot project with any degree of certainty when exactly the Mets will field a playoff team again.

Reyes’ contract might very well prove to be a boon for the Marlins, but that doesn’t mean the Mets should have matched Miami’s offer. If the Mets gave Reyes a 6-year deal themselves, they not only would have very likely been wasting the first year of Reyes’s contract, but potentially the first three. In other words, by the time the Mets’ window of contention reopens, Reyes’s best years might very well be behind him, and his performance would no longer justify the $22 million-dollar annual salary that he is scheduled to receive from 2015-2017. Even the most bullish analysts concede that Reyes might be hard-pressed to provide equal value to the Marlins at the back-end of the deal.

Sure, many people contend that the Mets should have resigned Reyes, because, while he doesn’t make the Mets a playoff-caliber team in 2012, he would be an integral part of any potential Mets playoff run in 2013 or 2014. There’s something to be said for that, particularly since it’s awfully difficult to find five- to six-win shortstops.

But that strategy is quite risky, as it’s largely contingent on the assumption that Jose Reyes will be the difference between at least an 85- and a 90-win team (if not a 90- and a 95-win team) by 2013 or 2014, and not the 75-80 win team the Mets are as of right now. Assuming the Mets did have the financial resources to resign Reyes, why not simply wait until the Mets are absolutely certain they can contend by 2013 or 2014?

The fact is, we will have a much better idea of where the Mets stand in 2013 at this time next year, than we do at this very moment. Granted, shortstop is a difficult position to replace. But if everything goes smoothly in 2012, and the Mets do, in fact, have a shot at contention in 2013, there are plenty of marquee free-agents — most notably Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Matt Cain — who are potentially available next off-season, and would provide similar value to Reyes.

And while it’s hard to imagine that Cole Hamels will fill the black hole left in our hearts following Reyes’s departure, winning heals all wounds. Sandy Alderson was forced to make a tough decision Sunday night, and the Mets are a better team because of it.


Matt is a high school student in New Jersey and avid Mets fan. He occasionally updates his blog at: matthimelfarb.wordpress.com
  1. mic December 9, 2011 at 6:14 am

    I REALLY like your analysis.

    But my concern is that the Fish are pro-active in exciting a usually nonchalant fan base in Miami, but the Mets with a TWO year old facility are less activity in a far more revenue inducing city.

    ALRIGHT Reyes is gone. Maybe Tejada turns into Edgar Renteria (who he kinda reminds me of) and Wright stays …(and is extended). Plus Santana comes back better than ever. I think the Mets can be competitive in 2012 and contend in 2013.

    I personally think Ike and Tejada are the core going forward (with Vets DW and Santana. I think Niese is part of that.

    i think Bobby P and Pel are NOT. I have heard many say that ‘value is low on Pel’ If Pel has another year like last, not only is he a liability, but could be non-tendered. The time to deal him is now.

    On hearing the rumors of (a minor league deal to Chris Young) and an offer on Mark Buerle I was kinda enthused. why. take 106M and then say for 58 you can get Mark Buerle, or 77M gets CJ Wilson…how do YOU spend the $$$?

    Looking at Cappy and Young in 2011, sure there were not enough innings, but both looked good in their own right and Cappy coming off injury was shorted by bad bullpens.

    I agree that Rausch etc is not an upgrade. But I think Martinez and Jenry could be big factors. also I think Harvey and Jeury’s will debut in 2012.

    I see Torres as a non-factor/4th Outfielder. That sill means Sandy needs a catcher, Outfielders and a second baseman. Could CB be back? He’s kinda perfect. He IS a Met fave, he will have a fraction of his previous price tag, he is a GG caliber fielder at CF/RF. He know NY and Citi. he fits in the 4th/5th hole. He is not be overwhelmed right now either.

    So lets see.

    • Joe December 9, 2011 at 10:58 am
      If you are responding to this post, it wasn’t “Joe” (Janish). His analysis was a tad less positive.
      • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:54 am
        Yeah sorry Mic, this post was written by Matt Himelfarb.

        My take was much more realistic. (No offense, Matt!)

  2. mic December 9, 2011 at 6:20 am
    PS: I just notice Argon and Dave had the same thought. Kudos!!

    2. Another move: I think Freddie Gonzalez is consideration for a coaching role.

  3. gary s. December 9, 2011 at 11:06 am
    Imho you are all missing the boat here.THERE IS NO REBUILDING PLAN!!The Wilpons do not want to invest any money in the team anymore but want to retain ownership.A real rebuilding plan would mean you let Reyes go because you have a stud ss in triple a to replace him.Ruben Tejada is a journeyman type player at best.He has no power or speed and at best is probably a .250 hitter.Where is the stud 3rd baseman to replace DW if he is traded.They don’t have one.The Wilpons just want you to show up and spend money and MAYBE in 2 to 3 years we might win some games.ARE U KIDDING ME?That is not a rebuilding plan!This is the era of free agents.Arizona went from 68 wins to 94 wins last year.Who in their right minds tells their fans we need 2-3 years to be a good team when your ticket prices are one of the highest in the league and you have a hugely profitable Cable TV network?The Wilpons and their MLB Stooge GM Alderson will lie till the cows come home to save the franchise they have destroyed .Don’t believe a word they say
    • Mike B December 9, 2011 at 11:34 am
      Gary, noone hates the wilpons more then me, the whole reason most people wanted to keep JR was becuase there arent too many stud SS in any level Single A to MLB. They are impossable to replace.

      And I do agree this is a FA era but arizona did it the old fashion way with a lot of homegrown talent and timely trades.

      Upgrading the bullpen was a step(a small one) in the right direction. If this team is serious they would consider signing carlos and figure out C and look into a sp. And i think this team could win surprise some people if Bay and Wright ever play the way we know they can. Its actually not bad lineup and there starting P is average and maybe this bullpen will only blow 10-15 saves instead of 24.

    • Joe December 9, 2011 at 11:55 am
      Vent away but really the idea seems to be that they aren’t investing but if they did, it would still be bad since hey their ticket prices are too high to have patience (see Arizona can do it in a year! as if it didn’t take longer to lay the groundwork) and they have so much money, so why can’t they just not win now?

      As to winning a few games, they won a few games ’06 on. In fact, they may have won a bit too many, putting a false front on how what they were doing was good enough with just a few tweaks needed.

      After all, one game away three years in a row. In ’10, they were doing well in the First Half. Even this year, even with lots of injuries to key players, they were competitive much of the time.

      I’m not saying the ownership isn’t lousy by saying this. Lousy ownership doesn’t merit hyperbole in my opinion either. As to Reyes, there are other ways to rebuilding, including relying on pitching [e.g., getting Zack Wheeler for a two month rental that turned out to not be enough for them] and when that is in place, get a FA bat or two. Duda, Davis and perhaps someone else also might have a future.

      There are signs of improvement, including not doing anything overly stupid and wasteful like signing some wasteful contract. Just maybe, if the ownership can leave, there will be something a bit better to launch a better future. Or, we can just say it is all lies, nothing good is happening. If this is your thing, go for it.

      • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:58 am
        Agreed. I really hated it when the Mets were winning in 2006. All those happy times and excitement just pissed me off to no end.

        But thankfully the Mets are back to where they were in the mid 1970s, where we have absolutely nothing to look forward to but misery, and no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so pleased!

        • Joe December 10, 2011 at 10:51 am
          “Agreed. I really hated it when the Mets were winning in 2006. All those happy times and excitement just pissed me off to no end.”

          That’s nice. Back to what I actually said, they were flawed, and needed something to get over the hump, but since they were just good enough to almost make it repeatedly, there was not enough there with the current leadership to compel the changes needed for that.

          “But thankfully the Mets are back to where they were in the mid 1970s, where we have absolutely nothing to look forward to but misery, and no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so pleased!”

          No light? But, you can spend all this time putting words in my mouth and sneering at the team!

    • Glenn December 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm
      Sometimes I wish that every comment a person made was recorded and when the number of wrong comments reached three, you weren’t allowed to make any comments anymore. There is a reason fans sit in the stands and not in the GM’s office. They are overly emotional which leads to wild fits of irrationality.

      Is there a plan. Sure there is. It’s this:

      The Mets are trying to do 2 things at once. Restock their farm system with as many prospects as they can while keeping attendance from collapsing. Fans scream for two things. Either sign every FA in existence or sell off everyone with a heart beat. The Mets cannot do neither. If they do the former they repeat the sins of Minaya, if they do the later attendance will collapse and you won’t see a contender in Flushing until 2020, a contender you won’t be able to afford.

      the Mets won 77 games last yr. This yr this will not have Reyes or 4 months of Beltran, but they will have full seasons from Wright, Santana, Duda, and Davis. Does one cancel out the other? I don’t know.

      The plan is for the Mets to cling on the periphery of contention up until the ASB like they have the last 2 yrs. Then as the lack of depth kills them, they will trade off Pelfrey, Murphy, and Ramon Ramirez and possibly Torrez for prospects. Havens, Valdespin, Nieuwenhuis, Harvey and Famalia will take their place.

      In 2013 more of the same except Bay and Santana (last yr of contract) will be traded and Wheeler and Maybe Lagares take their place plus whatever prospects come back.

      Notice Wright is not on that list. Because the Mets have two objectives and owners believe attendance will plummet if they do.

      the difference between 2mil in attendance and 3mil is roughly 150-200 mil in revenue. There will be no great 5 yr rebuilding. The Mets are attempting to win 80 gms in ’12 and ’13 and hope the minors will produce by then. You may not like the plan. But that’s the plan.

      • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 1:01 am
        Note to Glenn: the Mets play in NYC, not KC.

        What’s happening has very little to do with the GM. The Wilpons are broke, MLB has taken over, and Bud Selig is using Flushing as a laboratory to see if a big-market team can win with small-market strategy. And we Mets fans are the rats … will we tap the lever to suck down the saccharin?

  4. gary s. December 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm
    You have no shot if the ownership is not committed to winning champioships.This ownership wants to save their worthless butts.Btw,Toronto led MLB in blown saves last year.Our stooge of a GM than goes and shells out almost 10 mill to sign them.Nice work
    • Joe December 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm
      Who do you think the Mets should have picked up to save games and for how much?
      • gary s. December 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm
        Maybe i’d start with anybody whose BP was not worse than ours last year.Actually when i first heard of the signings i thought it was an upgrade over last year.But, that was before i read about how poor Toronto’s pen was.Maybe Dotel and Nathan would have been my choices for the 8th and 9th.Money would have been about the same
        • Joe December 10, 2011 at 10:59 am
          “Dotel and Nathan”

          So, you want to take a 38 year old and someone just off surgery? I’m not sure how much better that would be myself. Nathan was signed by the Rangers for two years at $14.5M. Dotel just was signed by the Tigers for 3M.

          Even money, I think Nathan rather pitch for the Rangers. I think the same as to Dotel. So, don’t think the Mets would have gotten them, but who knows. And, I guess 2M more is kinda “about the same.” Thanks though.

      • gary s. December 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm
        I want to be at banner day next year.Could make that 10 cent beer nite riot from tears ago look like a cub scout meeting.Lots of angry Met fans in the blogospheres.Can’t wait to see the banners expressing our happiness
  5. Rick T December 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm
    in the entire miserable history of the Mets franchise, who are the multi- allstar home grown position players? Prior to Wright & Reyes that long list consisted of Darryl Srawberry. How many other Mets have led the league in an offensive category 10 times? That list is even shorter.

    Tell me again how it makes sense to let a 28 year old player go with nothing in return who is arguable having a Hall of Fame career. I am so disgusted I can hardly write. M Donald Wilpon needs to sell my Mets and take his jinxed ass over to Yankee Stadium and root for them.

  6. Mike B December 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm
    You guys want to read something funny???

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    Samantha Paul

  7. Stan December 10, 2011 at 9:11 am
    I tend to agree with Matt. The Mets could not match the Marlins’ offer and still have enough money to put together any sort of a bullpen or fill in other holes.

    Everyone loves to assign blame, but none of us have to pay the bills or deal with millions of dollars in loses. Mismanaged or not, this team is in bad financial shape and limited in what it can spend. Unless that changes, and it doesn’t look like it will any time soon, the days of big signings and blockbuster deals are over.

    The other question I have is, how will the Marlins’ moves work out in the long term? Particularly concerning Reyes, can he play out an entire season without landing on the DL? Can he put up the same numbers in 2012 as he did in 2011? I have my doubts. As much as I loved watching Jose play, and having him as a part of the team, I don’t think he was worth a 6 year $106 million dollar contract. Neither did any other team, since the Marlins were the only team to make that kind of an offer.

    As much as I would have liked to see Reyes back in a Mets uniform, I don’t see how the Mets could have done this given the Marlins’ huge offer.

  8. Gary S. December 10, 2011 at 10:34 am
    Are u aware that the huge offer has them paying him 10 mill the first 2 years of the deal ?I am ok with not signing Reyes if we had someone decent to replace him with.Tejedas best position is 2nd base for goodness sake.Collins said that Murphy will play second base next year .Very scary thought
  9. Jack Straw December 11, 2011 at 1:31 am
    Ludicrous, Matt. Short of eleven or twelve timely plane crashes the Mets have no chance of getting to the postseason until 2015 at the earliest. They have literally no pitchers with one good season yet in the upper minors. They don’t have a single position prospect in the upper minors who’s even a 50-50 bet to become an average major league regular.

    The Opening Day budget is going to be under $100m, with no good reason yet to believe that it will increase in coming years. The Wilpons seem hellbent on keeping the team, which means low payroll, meddling, and incompetence for the forseeable future. Even with the in season pickups the Mets farm system is at best average.

    To think that the Mets might be good in 2013 is at best delusional, at worst willful ignorance and dishonest cheerleading.

  10. Jack Straw December 11, 2011 at 2:06 am
    By the way, it should have been clear to anyone paying attention, but the Baseball Prospectus article at http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15644
    makes it even clearer that the Mets decision to both keep Reyes and never make him a remotely competitive offer is not a decision any GM would make; thus that decision came from the Wilpons.

    If the Wilpons are making significant baseball decisions, this team has little hope, even in 2015.