Click Here to listen to Sandy Alderson's comments on Met shortstop Jose Reyes:
I remember coming to my first spring training here in Port St Lucie in the late 80's as a twenty-something reporter and much has changed in Port St Lucie--more hotels, more homes, less swamp land--but once again we are still trying to figure out how good the Mets will be this season.
In those days, there was talk about reclaiming a title and today there is just talk of the organization surviving amid a potential financial scandal. Still, the 2011 Mets have talent-more than you might think--and with a few breaks they might be an exciting team to watch despite all of the off-the field nonsense. One of those talented players, Jose Reyes, was the topic of conversation today even before he arrived.
He is entering the final year of his contract and some may suggest his final year as a Met. Reyes has experienced a plethora of down time in the last few years whether it has leg miseries or a malfunctioning thyroid. General Manager Sandy Alderson shot down theories that he is lukewarm about Reyes because his philosophy generally shoots down the theroy that speed is a huge part of the game. "Speed is only one part of what he does and thats makes him a dynamic player. People who say I do not value that type of player are reading things incorrectly."
The quandry that the new GM has is a simple one--If Reyes is performing well and he wants to sign him, it will cost more than it would now and money could be a factor come July when the Madoff legal war could heat up. If he can not sign him, can he trade him if the team is playing well and Jose is the healthy and vibrant shortstop he was in 2008? Ironically, it might be easier for the public to swallow trading Reyes if he is not performing but of course you will never get fair market value in that scenario.
Now I am no money expert and do not know how the Madoff mess could inhibit the ability to spend, and any beat reporter that tells you he knows is either lying or should be in a much more lucrative profession. But I do know this--if I were starting a baseball team Jose Reyes would be on my short list of players I'd want to play shortstop for me. I think players with his talent and passion are hard to find. Is he the perfect player? of course not--he makes mistakes but Jose has that "secret sauce" that I personally like in players--he is not afraid to take a base and more importantly, not afraid to let the world see what is on his mind.
Take a long hard look at what the Mets do when he scores a run--they win close to 75% of the time and that's got to mean something. This might be the first tough decision of Sandy Alderson's regime and he must think it through carefully. Could you imagine if Reyes walked to free agency and went across the river to the Yankees with Jeter moving to the outfield. That might be too much for the Met fan base to swallow and a bad first misstep for the new head man in charge.