This offseason, the New York Mets must make the gutsy choice and allow Jose Reyes to walk – if his legs let him, that is.
The oft-injured shortstop is entering the final month of his contract, and many have predicted he will be among the best paid free agents once the World Series ends. If the offers he receives remotely border the figures he is rumored to rope in, – five to seven years for roughly $100 million – then the Mets should shake Reyes’ hand, thank him for all he has done for the franchise and turn their backs.
With or without Reyes in the lineup, the Mets have been mediocre this season. The team is 50-49 in games he has played, and 14-19 without him.
The inconvenient truth is that the Mets will not compete for the championship next season, and in all likelihood, they will not be serious contenders in 2013 either. Given the dire financial situation the Wilpons are currently in, they would have to win the Power Ball Jackpot to invest a significant amount of money in the team any time soon.
Even if the Wilpons miraculously had an influx of funds to spend, Reyes is not nearly the most attractive asset available. With sluggers like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder also becoming free agents, and a constant need for pitching, the Mets should allocate their already limited resources elsewhere, or save for the future.
Since the start of 2009, Reyes has missed 268 out of 456 total games. He has already been placed on the 15-Day Disabled List on two different occasions this season, both times for leg injuries. Reyes’ legs are the keys to his success, and they are a commodity he gambles with each time he steps onto the field. The last thing the Mets, and the Wilpons, can afford is to sign Reyes to a lucrative contract and have him sitting on the bench with ice on his legs during half of the team’s games.
Reyes has also had spells of immaturity, which have cost the club dearly in critical situations, including their historic collapse in 2007.
While he is an exceptional talent and an explosive catalyst for any lineup, his injury history makes him far too much of a gamble for a team who is attempting to rebuild with a solid foundation of young talent – the lone bright spot on the Mets’ horizon.
If Reyes signs a colossal contract with another team, remains healthy and is successful, than the Mets should tip their caps to him and be at ease with the fact that they chose the responsible path.