Like a TV show that becomes popular several years after its debut, those who watched from the beginning feel like they are the true fans. As a New York Mets fan, you have that sentiment about Jose Reyes, who started his career and finished his teenage years with a .500 career average, going 2 for 4. Sure, Reyes has also been frustrating with his injuries, but the Mets’ management didn’t help with moving him to second base and changing his running style, also resulting in injury.
Let’s face it; the New York Mets have been inept at developing good players through their organization and keeping them, especially after the early 1980s. When the much-hyped Reyes was called up, Mets fan had hopes of seeing a potential great player develop.
Reyes didn’t walk enough for a leadoff hitter critics were quick to point out, despite his youth. However, Reyes improved upon that with 77 walks in 2007, proving that he had the ability to be a complete player. Some say that he has regressed after another stellar year in 2008, but like earlier in his careers, injuries can hamper a great player.
Before the 2011 season came, I felt that it was a mistake for the Mets not to try as hard as possible to sign Reyes, knowing that he was itching to stay healthy and put up big numbers. I have been even more baffled to see the constant talk of trading Reyes. It’s easy to jump on the Reyes bandwagon with his current stats, but even with career averages per 162 games (13 HR 67 RBI .290 AVG 58 SB 34 2B 15 3B 112 R), few shortstops put up such numbers. Those shortstops that do put up big numbers (Tulowitzki, Rollins), have the benefit of playing in more “hitter-friendly” ballparks than Citi Field.
Many non-Mets fans demean Reyes, could be jealousy (a reason I don’t care for a lot of players on rival teams) or the fact that Reyes plays their game with a lot of visible emotion, but I find it a bit odd when Mets fans feel that way. Reyes is by no means perfect, but it appears that fans forget that baseball is a game of failure.
At times it seems like Mets fans expect players to put up the type of numbers that were often aided by steroids. Yet, one can argue that Jose Reyes and David Wright are already the best hitters the Mets have ever developed, so it’s baffling that some Mets fans want them gone. And time after time it has been proven that some players have a difficult time playing in New York (Jason Bay).
Mets fans are fed up with the way the Mets have performed the past several seasons, thus I don’t know if they can risk not trying as hard as possible to retain Reyes. The Mets will undoubtedly have to pay up, but they have had the luxury of paying Reyes under market-value up until this point. The Mets play in the biggest sports market, thus it is inconceivable that they don’t have the ability to resign him. If it is between losing Reyes and losing Wilpon, if you lose Reyes, you may lose a large chunk of the fan-base with him.