Jose Reyes has agreed to terms with the Miami Marlins on a 6-year, $106 million contract.
Let’s dissect it.
For the Mets present and future.
Did Reyes’s presence or absence matter much to the 2012 Mets?
The financial issues notwithstanding, do you really think that the 2012 Mets have a chance in that division?
If you read The Extra 2% about the Rays, the new front office—coming from a financial background and aware of risk/reward and bottom-line reality—made a conscious decision not to waste money on veteran players and negligible production to win a few more games.
Mired in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox, playing in a hideous ballpark and with a rotten team, it didn’t make a difference whether they won 64 games, 68 games or 75 games.
They weren’t going to be anywhere close to the top of the division anyway and they weren’t competing for a Wild Card spot, so why put up a pretentious display and spending money they didn’t have for players they didn’t need?
The Mets current financial situation isn’t as dire as that of the Rays, but you can compare the two.
The Rays didn’t have money to spend on payroll to begin with; the Mets don’t have the money because of an ongoing legal drama and onerous, immovable contracts for Johan Santana and Jason Bay.
The common denominator is the same.
Why spend the money on Reyes when the earliest possible season of contention—barring a serious and unrealistic leap from their young players—is 2013?
The Phillies age/money-related downfall won’t start until 2013; the Marlins are being investigated by the SEC, are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if the new ballpark inspires the fans in Miami to come to ballgames and could tear the roster down as quickly as they’re building it up; the Nationals years of being terrible gave them the foundation of two franchise players in consecutive years with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and have other young players on the way to counteract stupidities like giving Jayson Werth $126 million; the Braves are stacked with young players of their own.
How are the Mets competing in that division in 2012?
They’re not. With or without Reyes.
They haven’t won anything with Reyes. They lost in the playoffs in 2006, collapsed in 2007 and faded in 2008. The whole thing came apart in 2009 and they’re sifting through the muck to fix what ails them now.
One player isn’t going to make a difference one way or the other to achieve their ends.
Maybe it’s time to do something different and move on.
For Mets fans and the bloodthirsty media.
The fans have all the power in the relationship. If you don’t like the product they’re putting on the field; if you’re unhappy with the management; if you don’t want to watch the team in person without one specific player, don’t go to the games.
Reyes is the girlfriend you’re not all that bothered to see leave, but don’t want to picture her with someone else.
Make a choice. Overcompensate and mortgage more of the future to keep him around or enter another phase of life.
The fans have the option of supporting the franchise with their money or not.
In a capitalistic society with a discretionary expense, it’s remarkably simple—don’t buy it.
Fans who are hoping that Reyes gets injured are bitter and spurned; to blame Reyes for taking the biggest contract he could get is projecting that anger on someone who doesn’t deserve it. The Mets didn’t make an offer that compared with that of the Marlins and Reyes left. Blame the Mets if you must and act accordingly.
Reporters who were sitting and waiting with rampant (as opposed to rational) self-interest for Reyes’s departure are gloating now, doing their touchdown dance and rationalizing the departure in terms to bolster their own agendas. They hedged their bets when it looked like there was the remote possibility of him staying, but betrayed their hands at every rumor that had him gone before it was a fact. Now they’re saying, “See?!?”
It’s akin to picking the Cardinals to win the World Series before the season started and claiming to have been “right” after the fact while ignoring that they turned over half the roster and wouldn’t have made the playoffs at all if the Braves didn’t collapse.
Put it into context; know what you’re reading.
If you’re smart, intuitive and aren’t looking for validation for yourself, you’ll see right through it and not purchase the junk that they’re selling either.
How does this affect the Marlins and their fans?
Hanley Ramirez is moving to another position. Some say it might be center field; some say third base.
He’s not going to be happy about it nor is he going to be happy if the Marlins don’t offer him a contract extension for time served to put his paycheck in line with his friend and new teammate.
An unhappy Ramirez is the fuse to a powder keg.
The Marlins have made some splashy moves and are apparently not finished. Reyes and Heath Bell are onboard; they’re still after pitching with C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle and have an offer out for Albert Pujols; but much is dependent on Josh Johnson‘s return from shoulder problems and how much they improve the pitching. If they don’t pitch, they don’t win.
The NL East isn’t a division where a few big name signings will vault the Marlins past the Nationals, Braves and Phillies.
Even if they win, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to achieve the floating projections and needs in attendance to keep the group together.
Pending the SEC investigation into the shady ballpark financing and whether there’s an interest in a new park and star-laden team, we won’t know about the Marlins and their future until the summer when there won’t be any basketball or football to distract the fans—fans whose interests tend to lean in that direction in spite of the Marlins record.
They’re not baseball fans in Florida. Will stars and a freshly built stadium with a roof and prevalent diversions alter that fact?
We won’t know until we know.
What to expect from Reyes.
The predictions (prayers) are running the gamut from Reyes going to Miami and being a megastar for the entire 6-year term; to him getting hurt immediately; to the Marlins holding him for a year or so, seeing how things go as they did in 1997 during their last spending spree, then trading him.
Bell, Ricky Nolasco, Johnson, Ramirez, Ozzie Guillen, that hideous home run monstrosity disguised as art, their World Series trophies and anything else that isn’t nailed to the ground could be on the move a year from now.
It’s impossible to foresee what’s going to happen, but there is that history of business amorality and outright falsehoods surrounding Jeffrey Loria and his club.
Reyes might get hurt.
Reyes might stay healthy.
It might be somewhere in between.
Those who constantly reference Reyes’s health from the years 2005-2008 are ignoring the consistent injury history to a single part of his body—his hamstrings—and that his legs are what makes him special. Without his speed, he could hit 10 home runs a year, be a decent fielder, pop a few doubles and triples if the mood strikes him. But he doesn’t walk and if he can’t steal bases, what good is he as anything other than a $17 million a year singles hitter?
The hamstring problems are recurrent and had little to do with the Mets supposedly subpar medical staff. It’s insane to think that he’s going to sign with the Marlins and turn into Cal Ripken. The only question is whether there’s a tweak here and there for which he misses a few games or a pull/tear that keeps him out for a season.
As a player in the prime of his career, he’s an unstoppable force when he’s healthy and motivated—while he has his legs. Reyes was healthy and motivated in the first half of this season with the Mets with visions of $100 million+ spurring him on. But when he returned from his numerous hamstring strains, he didn’t steal any bases; he was intentionally tentative; he was thinking about his contract and, playing for a non-contender, he made sure he stayed on the field…and he got hurt again.
In conjunction with his decision to remove himself from the final game of the season to save his batting title, it’s a typical and troubling attitude of me-me-me that is tolerated out of necessity and unwanted in a perfect world.
There’s going to be lots of “self” on that Marlins squad. Guillen is a calculating and perceived as a self-promoter; many times he’s doing it to take the focus off his players in a method-to-his-madness sort of way, but there will be instances where he calls out his players, coaches, media, fans, front office and makes a mess.
The players tend to go off the reservation as well with Logan Morrison‘s social network fetish; Bell’s big mouth; Reyes and Ramirez and that “you’re taking my money and my position” dynamic that could turn ugly—it’s going to take time to find cohesion and common ground.
It’s a potentially toxic brew.
Reyes always wants to play; he’s not a malingerer. But that doesn’t mean his hamstrings are going to sustain his game of speed and quickness from age 29-35.
And without that no-trade clause he could be traded anywhere at anytime and there won’t be an enraged fan base, protesting media and image-cognizant ownership. They’ll deal him if they have to; they’ll send him anywhere; and they won’t care how Reyes feels about it.
Reyes is smart enough to know this.
Why did he sign the deal?
It appears as though the bottom-line dollar figure was more important than any personal protections that could’ve been inserted into the contract. If Reyes was willing to take the lower amount of money from the Mets in exchange for that no-trade clause, he absolutely would’ve gotten it.
But he wanted to get paid. His agents, the Greenbergs, had an undeniable stake in maximizing his dollars as a selling point to Reyes and their other clients. In reality, there will be whispers and outright statements from the other agents that the Reyes contract was lowball; they should’ve waited and demanded that no-trade clause.
He’ll get his $106 million. Whether it’s from the Marlins for the life of the contract is contingent on the multiple factors surrounding the club and their too-clever-for-their-own-good ownership.
The contract and advancement of evil.
In the spire of a heavily guarded skyscraper a shadowy figure sits in a darkened office.
His eyes glow with hint of red that may be an optical illusion, a casting of light or terrifyingly real.
His fingers are tented under his chin; his mouth a thin line of concentration, he waits.
He’ll use this. This example of foolhardy loyalty; ill-advised pragmatism; brainless adherence to a limiting code of propriety.
Ethics. Personal attachment. Emotions.
He shakes his head at the faux and misplaced morality.
Emitting a grunting sound comparable to the stifling of a laugh, the corners of his lips curl into a sneer. His nose crinkles as his mouth twitches. His nostrils flare as he grins. The grunt evolves into a chuckle then a full-blown laugh.
Hysterical and maniacal, it continues for an extended period and echoes through the cavernous and sparsely furnished room.
It stops suddenly.
The muffled wheeling sound of an oversized leather chair—similar in scope to a throne—is heard as he rises from his desk. He walks deliberately to the window overlooking the curvature of the earth in the distance; the lights of Los Angeles in the foreground. He interlocks his fingers behind him, his legs spread wide apart.
He’s contemplating how he will use this turn of events. The obvious answer is that he’ll frame it just as he frames everything else—advantageously, twisted and designed to achieve his nefarious ends.
There is no functioning as an advocate and representative of the individuals. He has a mandate to his defined job, but he’ll do it differently. Using this inexplicable turn of events as a tendril of connectivity from one to the other, his current stable of clients will benefit from this and assist him in accruing others who want him to deliver what only he can, by any means necessary.
He pauses and looks over his shoulder, his profile in view against the background of the windows, the moon and stars of the Southern California night.
One thing passes through Scott Boras’s mind over and over as he thinks back to his ill-fated pursuit of Jose Reyes as a client at mid-summer.
How do you not get a no trade clause?!?!
He shakes his head in disgust of what is, of what might have—should have—been.
The profile recedes into the dark.
He has work to do.