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Why Staying With the Mets is in Reyes Best Interest

By Mike Silva ~ June 22nd, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

The predictable reaction to the decision by Jose Reyes and his agent to close negotiations with the Mets until the offseason occurred today. Tim Smith of the Daily News, who apparently got the corporate memo about the one per day Reyes is gone story, completely gets it wrong in his column today. Not only do I think this decision means nothing, but I predict the Mets will have a real opportunity to re-sign Reyes at a reasonable amount.  Why? Because he can’t be Jose Reyes anywhere else.

Jose Reyes has said twice in the last week that he would like to stay in New York.  Yesterday, he made a point to suggest this hasn’t changed his position about where he wants to spend the rest of his career. You haven’t heard the canned cliché’s from him at any point. He seems sincere in his public stance. Anyone that has watched Reyes knows he needs to be in a supportive environment to be successful. When things go sour around him (see late 2007), his play goes south. If he were to sign a big contract this offseason in Boston, St. Louis, or even across town with the Yankees the expectations and how he is viewed would change completely. That is not a scenario that I think would translate well for Reyes.

When Reyes becomes a $20 million per year shortstop, he immediately will be expected by the ownership, management, and fans of his new team to be the version of Jose Reyes we have seen this year. I think we all would agree the current version is probably playing a bit over his head. The real Jose Reyes is somewhere in between this and his production from 2006-2008. The 2006 version of Reyes, although worth the big contract, will be viewed as a disappointment because he’s not what is last in people’s memory. They believe they are signing a player that is one of the best in baseball. Not the fourth or fifth best shortstop.

What will result is increased scrutiny and media criticism. Reyes received that here, but has come full circle and conquered it. What will he do if the Boston media starts to sink their teeth into him? Do we honestly think he could handle taking over for St. Jeter? What about if he gets booed in late April? He will be in a strange town, with strange teammates, and be going home to a place that isn’t his home. Does that sound like a foundation for success?

I am not suggesting that Reyes gives himself to the Mets for fifty cents on the dollar. What I do believe is they are going to force them to spend as much as they possibly can to retain his services. I believe a 6 year/$120 million dollar deal would get it done. You can’t force the Mets to ante the best deal up without another team as leverage. That’s why he will file and listen to other teams offers. It’s simply smart business. Can the Wilpons afford such a deal? I don’t know, but you could backload the contract to withstand some of the cash flow issues the team currently faces. Don’t forget this is a similar strategy employed with Jason Bay, who made just $6.5 million last year. If Fred can afford a new soccer team and minor league ballpark on Long Island, why not borrow some more from JP Morgan Chase to pay Reyes. We all know living above your means is the new American way.

Of course, there is the chance the Mets don’t want him back. A trade at the deadline would answer that question. Maybe they value the two draft picks they will net for his services. Sandy Alderson doesn’t sound like someone who is looking to walk away from arguably the best player in baseball this year. I don’t think Reyes wants to walk either. Anyone who listens to what he says, and looks at how the trend of how a positive working environment has led to a productive Reyes, knows that signing anywhere else for big dollars puts him at risk to be one of the biggest free agent busts in history. Signing with the Mets is not only the right decision; it may be the only decision.


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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Why Staying With the Mets is in Reyes Best Interest

  1. Stu B

    But if he signs with the Mets for 6 years/$120 million, he becomes – guess what? – a $20 million per year shortstop. Why would the expectations be lower for a guy being paid that much in NYC than elsewhere? Just saying…

  2. Jeff

    6/110 with a vesting option for year 7 at 18M is what I want to see

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