Here is the first article for Candidate 3.
To deal, or not to deal?…That is the question.
The recent hype in the New York baseball world is all about the Yankees. In fact, since Mike Pelfrey developed bi-polar syndrome (self diagnosed by me—and no I am not a doctor) shortly before the All-Star break, there have been virtually zero positive headlines coming out of Citi Field. What happened to Big Pelf? Will Santana ever be healthy again? Will David Wright strike out over 300 times? By the end of the year, Met fans had the wrong reasons to look forward to October. There would be no playoff baseball—again. But on a positive note, there would be no more Omar or Jerry either.
There were some nice surprises throughout the year. Ike Davis at least teased us into thinking he can be the long-term answer at first base. Josh Thole looked like the hard-nosed, scrappy player baseball fans love to root for. Angel Pagan showcased his perfectly suited talents—speed and defense—that should help him strive, especially at Citi Field. Ruben Tejada proved he could defend at both middle infield positions at the major league level. And maybe most importantly, John Niese showed flashes of brilliance and consistency that only few expected. Whoever eventually fills the vacant GM position this offseason has decent, young, and inexpensive options to work with next season. Ignoring the pitching staff for a moment, that leaves us with the 3 exceptions: David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran.
All three have been around long enough for experts and fans to pass judgments. All three have proven that they can perform at MVP-caliber levels offensively and defensively. All three have also taken their fair share of criticism.
I will make 2 assumptions here before I continue. Johan Santana and David Wright are the faces of the New York Mets. They both talk when nobody else is talking, give 100% effort on the field every game, and hold themselves accountable even when they are not at fault. In my opinion, David Wright is going nowhere this offseason or anywhere in the future.
On the other hand, Beltran is coming off major knee surgery. He has lingering injuries in both knees. And the sample provided by last season’s work was too small and inconsistent. Unless the Mets eat most of his salary, it seems very unlikely that Beltran will find himself in another uniform next season.
That leaves us with on final piece: Reyes. He is arguably the most important. But he is also arguably the most expendable (or at least most logical to trade). What is not debatable though is his talent. To compensate for the missed games over the last two seasons, I’m going to present what his career numbers would be averaged over a 162 game season.
Reyes’ career line: 111 runs, 286 avg., 335 OBP, 33 doubles, 15 triples, 13 HR, 58 SB, 82 SO, 66 RBI.
First, assume that those numbers are rounded up because nobody plays a 162 game season anymore (though from 2005-2008 Reyes played 150+ games). Next, find me another shortstop on the planet that puts up those numbers. Out of necessity, I had to look. I would strongly advise you against it unless you have nothing to do for the next 48 hours. Besides Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins (who we unfortunately see a ton of), nobody comes close statistically. Would you take Jeter in the clutch or Adrus for the potential? Maybe. But when it comes to impacting literally every aspect of the game, not many do it better than Reyes.
When you consider his style of play, why would any Met fan ever consider trading this guy? Not only is SS one of the hardest positions to fill on a baseball team (up there with catcher and centerfield), but Reyes’ speed, power to the gaps, and defense make him THE perfect candidate for the job at Citi Field.
I understand that Met fans want more pitching, more bullpen help, and more clutch bats. But to attempt to acquire these needs by saying goodbye to one of the rarest talents in the game is a mistake. Fans pressuring the new GM to make a move, just for the sake of making a move, would be a mistake. Sure, the talent that the Mets could bring back in a Reyes-involved trade would be extraordinary. But what they would be giving up is equally extraordinary—and perfectly fit to what this team should be aiming for in the future. It shouldn’t take Reyes in a Boston Red Sox uniform for even the average Met fan to figure that out.