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Love Works Both Ways



By Mike Silva ~ December 8th, 2011. Filed under: New York Mets.

Anytime an athlete doesn’t get what he wants he pulls out the “respect and love card.” When they leave for more money “it’s a business,” or they need to “do what’s best for their family.” When a team decides to take the same approach for their bottom line, the same athlete then personalizes it and complains about the lack of respect and love shown to him. Jose Reyes demonstrated that in full force yesterday as he was introduced as a Miami Marlin to the baseball world for the first time.

“In Miami, they were there from the beginning for me,” Reyes said to reporters in Dallas. “So with the good plan that they have, I have to make my decision there…. The Mets didn’t call. They didn’t say anything. So that’s why I’m here today.” After more than a decade with a team and fan base that dealt with the ups and downs of his career, an art-dealer owner under SEC investigation shows up to a bar with a Reyes Miami Marlins jersey and that signals love? Sounds like desperation to me, or better yet, Reyes being used as a pawn in the next big Marlins payroll scam.

The fact remains that the Mets weren’t shown love either. Sandy Alderson made overtures to Reyes and his agents this summer about a contract. If you loved New York so much, then why not find a way to work out a deal in the summer? Instead, visions of “Carl Crawford money” danced in his head, despite the fact he might be one of the riskiest positional player free agents in quite some time, maybe ever. Did the Mets not show you love when they elected to keep you at the deadline, instead of dealing you to Tampa Bay? What about when Terry Collins was true to his word and took you out of the lineup on the final day to protect your batting average? The Mets process all-along has been to show Reyes they loved him and wanted him here for the long-term. Reyes’ has shown more of a “wait and see” approach.

Want to know what I would have loved to hear from Reyes? How his career in New York, despite wildly productive at times, can be considered a disappointment.  How he wishes he could have done more to change things. Let’s look at this objectively and understand that Jose Reyes was a franchise player for about 2.5 seasons out of the 9 he spent here. In 2006, half of 2007, and 2008 he was a player you would build around. Prior to ’06 and the last three seasons, he was an incomplete player that was injury prone. This past season was a perfect example as most of his production was stuffed into the first three months of the year. This isn’t Tom Seaver or Darryl Strawberry leaving, this is Edgardo Alfonzo leaving. A very good player that we all loved, but won’t cripple the franchise for a long time. As a matter of fact, I predict the fans won’t think much of Reyes as the new crop of kids starts to make an impact the next couple of years.

I wish I could have asked Jose if he showed the fans love in the second-half of 2007 when he sulked as the Mets collapsed down the stretch. How about those ’07 and ’08 September swoons when you hit .205 and .243 respectively? I am sure that gave the fans a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. Let’s not forget the mental lapses at shortstop that required a veteran second baseman to keep you “focused.” See, unlike the fans blinded by orange and blue, I don’t forget those little things.

Don’t get me wrong, Jose Reyes is very good player. The Mets still should be ashamed they couldn’t match a 6 year/$106 million dollar deal when they play in New York. That’s an indictment on ownership, and in many ways a separate issue; in a vacuum there is plenty of reasons to not like the years and dollars given to Reyes. Outside of the desperate Marlins, no other team felt inclined to make an offer as well. That tells me an awful lot.

But Reyes and South Beach is actually a perfect marriage. The town is all style, no substance, and the recruitment process by Jeffrey Loria was just that. Show up at a bar, flash a Marlins jersey to an impressionable individual, and sell him on the sun, new stadium, and proximity to the Dominican Republic. Forget the fact they probably won’t be able to field a competitive team in 3 years when Reyes, Buehrle, and Bell make about 45% of the payroll. Losses won’t prevent having a good time at those parties at The Clevelander.

I wouldn’t expect Jose Reyes to understand any of this. He is a nice kid, but substance was never his forte. I remember when I interviewed him last January and asked him if we what would it take to see the same aggressive and healthy 70-stolen base player from earlier in his career he laughed and said “I don’t know.” His smile and positivity is great when things are going well, when things go bad it gets annoying.  His game was always short on baseball intellect and long on physical talent. Adam Rubin of ESPN NY pointed out in an online chat how Reyes “relies on physical ability and doesn’t play shortstop taking into account things like batters’ swings, incoming pitch, etc. as much as even Ruben Tejada.” That’s fine, but the years north of 30 will need more of the former as the latter disappears.

Mets fans should be pissed the Wilpons couldn’t eat a couple of bad years in the back end of a long-term contract like other big market teams. They shouldn’t, however, feel all that loved by Jose Reyes. In the same interview he cited lack of “love” by the Mets, he also pointed out “this is a business and he had to move on.” I think it’s time for all of you to do the same as well. Reyes chose the money, as is his right; you choose the franchise that bent over backwards for him the last decade. The same franchise that never saw Reyes fulfill the potential his skills promised when he debuted in 2003.

Want to know what player deserves your love and attention? What player loves the Mets, city, and fan base? Look at the guy who plays third base. That’s the anti-Reyes and someone who deserves your love and admiration.

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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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48 Responses to Love Works Both Ways

  1. derek

    Awesome article….i couldnt agree more…

  2. Brian

    Mike… Well said. You could not go 6 on Jose Reyes. I have been reading more tinfoil hat conspiracy theories that the Mets mad all of these moves Tuesday to distract and deflect. I think it’s more of a skilled front office now building a team.

    I hate the Wilpon situation as much as any Mets Fan, but i am old enough to remember Frank Cashen trading Lee Mazzilli to the cries of young girls all over the tri state area and that first night in 1980 seeing Mookie , Hubie , and Wally for the.first time. As well as a young unpolished believer named Jesse Orosco.

    Frank Cashen did it with no free agent signings of note and by developing a tremendous farm system.

    I try to keep the faith in that over 20 years ago, George Steinbrenner was more reviled in this town than the Wilpon are now. When he wad suspended, the baseball people took over and what they developed was a core that won 4 championships. If you look at it, the high priced free agents came long after the great run- and that starting with Mussina after the 2000 season.

  3. Dallas

    I think you hit it spot on Mike. Now we just hope the young Tejada continues to get better offensively. He made some pretty good strides over 2010 especially in the OBP department.

  4. kranepool

    Agree with all you say Mike but even if the Wilpon’s were flush with cash I would still be against giving Reyes a 6 year deal. This was a smart baseball decision made by the Mets,last time we saw smart baseball decisions in Flushing was when Frank Cashen ran the team

  5. tnt1528

    wilpons would not call reyes because they were in ny and reyes was in florida/texas/dominican……dont want to spend on long distance phone

  6. Cleon Jones

    Thank you for a thoughtful, rational and well-written analysis. I thought all of your points were dead-on, especially the comparison to Fonzie. I truly believe that the Alderson regime will reward our patience and loyalty — and sooner than most people think!

  7. Chris

    Well done! I could not agree more.

  8. Jay

    One of the best articles I ever read. Everything you said is so true. The Marlins are in a win now mode but as you said in your article, these deals will kill them in the future. Keep up the good work

  9. Izzy44

    Jose Reyes, was never coming back to NYC! If he really wanted to be here he could have accepted the 5 year 80 million dollar offer that Sandy would have gave him. How many millions do you really need? Bye Jose! unlike Terry Collins, I will not be rooting for him at all!!
    Nice article.

  10. sheaheykid

    Thank you for writing an article that expresses my opinions to a tee. Sometimes it’s hard being a Met fan, trying to explain this stuff to other fans who only understand the emotion of being a fan and not always the practicality of these decisions or the two-way-street nature of these kinds of negotiations.

    Well done.

  11. castRockfordMetsFan

    Mike is absolutely right on every point. Reyes is like a great magic trick. There’s lots of flash, sparks, excitement, and applause, but ultimately not a lot of substance. Ultimately you get exposed as an illusion and/or an enigma. Don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to have Reyes on the Mets, but he’s no David Wright. I hope he grows up a bit in Miami, but then with all that money, who needs to be a mature and responsible adult?

    Wright, not Reyes, has been the face of the franchise and has taken the brunt of the criticism for the failures (both his as well as the team’s) of the past 5 years with grace and dignity. He’s never made any excuses, or dogged it like Reyes was prone to do. Reyes should give Wright half his salary for protecting him from the same level of scrutiny. Do you think that Hanley will have Reyes’ back, no matter how tight they are? He’s already complaining.

  12. MSB

    Great article. Thank you for a very clear and level-headed analysis.

  13. tomterif41

    Mike, you really knocked this one out of the park. Great analysis, well written and oh, so true on every point. Mets fans have a totally romanticized view of Reyes, his ability and his impact. That anyone compares this with the loss of Seaver drives me crazy. Two to three years we will look back at this and realize it was a great move to let him go, no matter how much finances played into the decision.

  14. MetsFanSince68

    Mike, your article is spot-on. I was angered by the self-serving comments Jose made. He had to justify his money grab, and blaming the Mets for “doing nothing” was not only disingenuous, but a lie. Perhaps his agent did not tell Jose the Mets were in discussions and had outlined the parameters of an offer–but that’s unlikely because they would be toeing the line of breaching their duties as an agent.

    I disagree with you on one point. I don’t think the Wilpons should be ashamed at not wanting to match the Marlins’ dollars, or “eating the last two years” of a six year contract. This is REAL MONEY being paid to these players. A LOT of money. No business person worth his salt would make the conscious decision to throw away $30 million dollars for the promise of four good years on the front end–unless those four years were lights-out MVP type years that brought in gate revenue at the high end of projections. Jose is a talent, but as you pointed out, Mike, he was a huge risk who reached his potential less than 30% of the time in NY.

    Sandy made the right call–the smart call. It’ll hurt as fans, and it’ll probably hurt from time to time when he burns us for hits and SBs. But smart, tough decisions need to be made by adult, and that’s what Sandy did–for the betterment of the franchise long-term, and thus for the fans as well.

  15. kd bart

    Good article , Mike. Reading the comments above, I’m glad I’m not the only one who recognizes the parallels to Frank Cashen and the Mets of the early 80s. Cashen also worked through the draft and traded any available talent for minor leaguers who would be in a position to help when the Mets were ready to win. Lets hope Sandy also lucks into a Hernandez type trade in the next year or so.

  16. Alban

    This is great. Thank you so much for helping me sort out my own thoughts on Reyes and the Mets. I agree with everything you said here.

  17. Andy

    Mike, kudos to you. An amazingly written article, and you are spot on my friend. I share every single one of your sentiments. Thanks for putting this out there.

  18. Ben

    Mike, very well written and I agree on most all points except the 6 year deal. I don’t think there is a “rational” Met fan alive that would advocate giving Reyes 6 guaranteed years! But what do the Marlins care? They’ll be blowing that team up in 3 years, how in the world those 3 free agents can’t that coming a mile away is beyond me. Or maybe they really don’t care and it is just about the money. As for Reyes, if he thinks playing the “respect” card is going to get him anywhere he is a fool! As you said REPEATEDLY the METS made attempts to begin talks, to extend him, to resign him before, during, and after the season. So Reyes if you are on the Marlins and upset about it,…perhaps you could have picked up the phone one of those times the Mets made advances instead of hiding behind your agent. It wasn’t from lack of trying on the Mets part,….it was from lack of listening on you and your agents part! SO enjoy the money,…but pack lightly,….you be on the road again soon enough.

  19. Lou

    Outstanding. You hit on all the points I have been making as well, especially about Wright. I hope the reason Sandy is saying he will not trade Wright is because he recognizes how much David wants to be part of the solution. Wright has earned the right to stay and be a part of the good that is to come.

  20. AV

    Right on the money.

  21. Steven

    One other point. All the fans who say that the Mets should have given Jose a six year deal – how many of them would commit to seasons tickets for six years.

  22. kd bart

    To those fans who said they’ve given up on this team and won’t give them one more dime because of Reyes, I call BS. They start winning, you’ll be there. I heard the same refrain back in the late 70-early 80s, mid 90s, and early last decade. They may nor be back tomorrow but winning always brings them back.

  23. Anonymous

    And let’s not forget he chose style over substance, and Jose over the the fans when he bolted from the field in his last at bat, showing little confidence in his ability to capture the batting title in 2 or3 more at bats.

  24. Heybatter

    Didn’t intend to be anonymous!

  25. JE

    Most well-thought out comments I’ve read on this entire issue. Well said.

  26. BS

    Written like a true Mets homer.

  27. ron yoel

    what a well written article, it made me feel better and truly expressed alot of my own feelings THANKS

  28. jon b

    why is it always that Jose gets criticized for the Mets mess. He is the best postion player we have developed since Strawberry. An lest not forget the Mets have paying many others including Wright more to be that “franchised player” since he got there. How has that worked out? Lets love at the love shown:
    Move him to second base at age 20 for Kaz Mtsui???? lotta love there.
    Mis-diagnosing his injury in 2009 – still listed as “calf tightness”
    Money ball genuises maligning his best attributes prior to the start of the season.
    Never making him an offer duirng his free agancy period.

    good basball sense or not, don’t expect Wright ro get one either for this not the way the money genuises do business.

    If i didn’t have so much respect for your prior posts, I would look at this as the usual anti-latin bias but lets tell both sides Mike. You are better than that. The guy has been printing money for the franchise since he got there. He was one of the guys who made them relevant again. not his fault they never provided enough depth around him. Remember that when you are visiting the Citi Field graveyard this year and for years to come

  29. Armando

    Reyes is a selfish player and proved it numerous times throughout his tenure with the Mets. He has great physical ability and could have done more with the right coaching. He should have done more to improve his play but he’ll learn the follies of his ways north of 30. However, none of that justifies the way the Mets organization treated him. How would you feel if the radio stations you work at moved you to a different time slot because they found a Japanese talk radio host they think would be better in your time slot? Or if your boss said you were OK but not as good as your listeners think you are? It’s nine years worth of slights not just one istance. The bottom line, every employee – heck, every human being – likes to feel appreciated and wanted. The Mets organization continually miss the point.

  30. Brian

    The Cashen and Yankee parallels are time tested ways to build winning teams.. of course the Mets first run of success was ended at the hands of the Wilpons- starting with the forced trade of Kevin Mitchell and, well, still going on.

    As much as I am a Yankee hater, I look at the Yankees from 1988-1992 and see that the franchise was falling off into the abyss. Every night fans came to Yankee Stadium to boo George Steinbrenner. And he was obnoxious- his statements related to his baseball team were asisnine- Andy Hawkins is an ace, etc.especially then for those who don’t remember. When he was suspended in the Spira/Winfield mess. If you think the Wilpons smug silence is infuriating, you would have loved George with those horrible Yankee teams. They had aging stars and other has beens- Jack Clark, Rick Rhoden, Rich Dotson, John Candelaria, Andy Hawkins and traded kids like crazy- Jay Buhner, Al Leiter, Hal Morris. If you think the Mets have overhyped prospects, look up the name Meulens, Bam Bam.

    At that point, Gene Michael went to work… he got rid of Rickey Henderson for kids, Dave Winfield was shipped to California, he drafted and signed amateur pieces- Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera.

    Don Mattingly languished, also, in his late 20′s and early 30′s like another mainstay we have now.

    When they traded Roberto Kelly for a 29 year old OF-1B who was headed to journeymandom- Paul O’Neill, Yankee fans screamed bloody murder.

    But they stockpiled- the core stayed. They signed Jimmy Key, an injury risk. They signed Wade Boggs, who had seemingly fallen off.

    But they held on to prospects for smart trades- they had Wickman, and Sterling Hitchcock, and Domingo Jean, Marty Janzen, Bobby Munoz, Russ Davis and J.T. Snow and were able to get Jack McDowell, Jim Abbott, David Cone, John Wetteland, and Tino Martinez. None of those guys were free agents.

    However, it can only sustain if ownership lets it sustain. They can’t pull the plug. My fear is that the Wilpons have a tendency to want something for nothing. It is their history. And my hope is that they will drown in the crippling debt they have created for themselves.

  31. Peter

    Mike:

    DW is under appreciated by many of the Mets faithful. Win or lose he’s always there for the media as the face of the Mets. Maybe he’s not Mike Schmidt, but he’s not Kevin McReynolds either. It’s guys like DW and RA who make it easier for the Reyes types to do their thing.

  32. Jay

    My big problem is this….THE BIG LIE that the Wilpons told a couple of years back…repeat after me…”The Bernie Madoff situation will not affect the day to day running of the Mets.” Well it did and will continue to. Now the fanbase that has supported this team through 2 championships in 50 years and countless embarrassments in the past 5 or so years is being asked to buy tickets for a AAA team so they can have more cashflow for the future. WFAN is running mini pack adds…the same plan Freddie and company took away when Shea closed. Well I for one will not go to Citi Field because I will not put one penny in the Wilpons pocket. I guess I technically do since I have SNY on my cable but it ends there.

  33. Jay

    Please sell the team Freddie and let Jeffie manage apartment buildings. You are a small market owner who loved the Dodgers. Sell the Mets to someone who will make its fans proud. I never thought I would say this but I wish Jim Dolan would make them an offer they can’t refuse.

  34. jon b

    Jay – Agree totally. Reyes gave it his all when he was here. May not have always worked out but he was expected to be Rickey Henderson at shortstop. Memo to everybody – That has never existed and will never in the future. He is an All Star calibur player who should be suiting up for the Mets next year and for many after. Gave the Mets a team friendly deal the first time around….cant continue to expect that. He owes nothing to ownership or Alderson. He thanked the fans and as a Met fan i thank him.

  35. philasucks

    You hit this one out of the park Mike.

  36. insider

    Pure talent, no work ethic….I am sure Miami Beach wont be a distraction for him.

  37. Cver

    One problem with the guy at 3rd base. He can’t field. I think you might have too much sour grapes about Reyes. Bottom line is the Mets should have met the Marlins offer, as you did say. That’s where you show the love and the Mets didn’t and that’s what Reyes is ultimately talking about and I think he’s right.

  38. Mihcael

    I will miss Jose Reyes, a talented player whose smile can light up a baseball diamond. I wish him well and a healthy rest of his career. As Mets fans we are stuck with one of the worst ownership families in sports. My hope is that the court cases, empty citifield seats and low TV ratings will bring the Wilpons into such a siege, they will sell.

  39. Piazza

    Hello Puello, Nimmo, Harvey, Wheeler, Flores…who the hell is Reyes again?

    By the by, I still love Fonzie more than Reyes.

  40. Runnin Rebel

    Mike,

    Do you think Reyes is worth the $106 mil @ 6 years?

    Do you truly think the Mets couldn’t match that or was it that they didn’t want to?

  41. MR

    Really good read. Great job.

  42. Mike Silva

    They couldn’t match and prob didn’t want too. I think it’s a deal the Mets should have matched.

  43. stick

    good piece. quite a few of us actually recognize (and accept) the financial landscape (don’t like it, just accept it). And I agree that reyes was certainly exciting, and generally productive, but not irreplaceable. The team with a few pitching additions and decent health can be somewhat competitive (think, like through June last year).

    Players all move on eventually. And fans just need to move on to the next generation of players (like Duda, my personal favorite.

  44. Piazza

    I agree 1000% with stick. Reyes might have been great, but what’s done is done.

    Personally, I find nothing more exciting than quality pitching, and homegrown is the best. I can’t keep harping over Reyes when the fact remains that the best pitcher to come out of the Mets system since Cashen is probably Bobby Jones.

  45. Russ Cress

    I don’t get it. I don’t get the article or all the reaction here.

    How is the owner, completely unprovoked, ripping him in the media and then not trading him at the deadline when based on the owner’s comments they had already decided not to commit to him long term before the season even started, “showing love”?

    I still don’t understand how not trading him, when they clearly had no intention of paying him fair market value made sense. That’s not a show of loyalty, that’s a show of incompetence. What was their plan with how they handled Reyes, because there doesn’t seem to have been one. Unless of course you buy the “they were stringing Reyes along and moving up the deadline for season ticket sales to defraud the fans” theory. In that case it’s just pathetic and sleazy.

    The one thing I do agree with is that Reyes’ comments were disgusting because by putting his bitterness about the Mets above all else, he only managed to slap his loyal NY fans in the face. When asked how it feels to be wearing a different uniform for the first time, the answer needs to be “bittersweet” or “conflicted” and not “it feels great”. That response was not fair to the public that supported him and who he has no gripes with. I was shocked that the guy didn’t take the high road. This was one case where the politically correct answer would have been the right one. Ripping the Mets’ front office could have waited a minute or two.

  46. Ed

    Sounds like whining to me. Get over it..

  47. Wes

    Mike,
    Can I add one more positive reply? That was outstanding. You really put into words alot of what I was thinking. Great writing. Thank you.
    W

  48. DanishDan

    Great article and I needed it in order to let go! Jose was injury-prone and even a 5yr deal was risky IMO. So I’m now ready to move on and I don’t blame the guy for following the money. But saying that the Mets didn’t show him the love was a check minus/uncool.

    Tejada improved much in 2011 and he has my full support. I think he’ll be a superstar in the future.

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