The Jose Reyes Chronicles, 6.11.2011

Jose, JoseJoseJose…Jo….se……Joooooseeeeeeeeee….

Truth.

While there were reasons he wasn’t able to perform up to his current levels and capabilities, had Jose Reyes played as well in 2009-2010 as he is now, the contract and free agency wouldn’t have been an issue because the Mets would’ve extended him long ago.

He had a hamstring injury in 2009—which brought back terrible memories of his injury-prone years in 2003-2004; and last season he was sabotaged by the thyroid problem in spring training.

He’s healthy and playing for a lot of money.

And don’t give me the “no evidence of a free agent year bump” nonsense; it happens in some cases and doesn’t happen in others.

It’s happening with Reyes. Shut off your calculators and open your eyes.

Insult.

If the Mets intention is to make a perfunctory offer to Reyes in the interests of saving face and not a legitimate attempt to re-sign him, they should trade him.

Sandy Alderson has been said to prefer a contract of around 4 years for Reyes, which simply is not going to get it done. In fact, it would be insulting to Reyes and the fans to make such an offer…unless it was for a larger amount of cash than he’d make with the longer term contract; if they offer him wheelbarrow of money for a shorter term with the prospect of free agency again at age 32, then maybe they could sell it.

But that’s not what Alderson is thinking when the concept is mentioned.

It’s not good enough and would do more harm to the franchise than trading him.

Ownership.

How much will David Einhorn have to say about keeping Reyes?

What about MLB itself?

Of course you can say that Einhorn has no right to intervene in the Reyes negotiations because technically, he’s not the minority owner yet, but if I was fully expected to be approved as a part owner, I’d want a serious say in how things are run; if Einhorn jumps in and says the team should do everything within reason to keep Reyes, it should have some weight.

And judging from his aggressive dealings in the financial world and by playing competitive poker (successful in both), Einhorn’s not the type to recede into the background and defer when his future interests are at stake.

As for MLB, I’m only half-joking when I say they’re a partial owner of the club as well. While they can’t be perceived to openly interfere with a team, there obviously was some weight given to the desires of the commissioner’s office when Alderson was hired; they know the value of having a strong, viable National League franchise in New York; they hear the fan anger and see the lack of attendance at Citi Field; it’s reasonable for them to quietly try to influence the Mets to keep Reyes.

It’s similar to the concept of George Steinbrenner not having any contact with the people he left in charge of the Yankees while he was suspended—off-the-record conversations happen at the dinner table; if you think Alderson and Bud Selig are only talking about the weather when they speak, then I direct you to the Mike’d Up with Mike Francesa. An entity in which we’re supposed to believe that he believes the A’s and Twins are going to jump back into contention for reasons other than he picked them!

Pursuers.

There are the usual suspects like the Red Sox and Angels who are going to be after Reyes, but there’s a club that has the quiet capacity to get him.

They have the need; they have the prospects; they have the nerve; and they have the willingness to trade for him without demanding a window to sign him to an extension because they know they can’t do it.

The Tampa Bay Rays have it all.

Because of their top-loaded draft (10 of the first 60 picks), their farm system is busting with prospects; they can afford to surrender 3 or 4 of what they already had in their prior to the draft to get Reyes.

Reid Brignac is hitting .180 and the Rays are having trouble scoring runs to support an excellent young pitching staff; the Yankees are vulnerable in ways that no one could’ve imagined; the Wild Card (despite the aforementioned Francesa’s decree that the Yankees have it sewn up) is wide open; and they’re bold. They’d be perfectly content to trade for Reyes, have him for the last 3 months and let him leave as a free agent and take the compensatory draft picks next year.

Watch the Rays.

Self-aggrandizement.

Shifting stories works for Billy Beane, so maybe I’ll try it too.

Last season, I endured endless ridicule for picking Jose Reyes as my NL MVP. My argument always was, “does he not have the ability to win an MVP if he’s healthy and playing up to his talents?”

Now others are pushing him as an MVP candidate for the overachieving Mets.

No one’s laughing now.

I’m ahead of the curve—sometimes to my own detriment.

It’s part of the loose cannon persona that’s inherent in my charm.

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