There’s all this talk about how ”spark-plug” Jose Reyes will get traded before the deadline, but would we be having the same discussion if or when ”Face of the Franchise” – David Wright is in his contract year?
A Little Background First
Speed: This all begins with Carl Crawford. Since speedster Crawford got a big contract (7 yr/$142M) from the Red Sox this off-season, conventional wisdom is that Reyes also will receive a big free agent contract because of his speed and defense. Not only is Reyes one of the best at stealing bases and impacting a game, he’s also two years younger than Crawford and plays shortstop, a premium defensive position. Big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies all have aging shortstops and could offer Reyes his Pay Day. How much would the Sox pay for a Reyes-Ellsbury-Crawford-Gonzalez top of the lineup?
Money Problems: With the Wilpon’s financial problems (due to losing money in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, being sued for making money off of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, a significant drop in 2010 game attendance, then taking a $25 million loan from MLB to cover operating costs, and announcing that they are seeking $200 million for minority stake in the team) most are convinced that the Mets won’t have the money to pay Reyes a big contract. Yet the Wilpons continue to state that the team is financially healthy and that the Madoff issues will not affect baseball operations. Today on Boomer and Carton, Ron Darling said the real test of whether the Wilpons’ money problems are affecting the team will be if GM Sandy Alderson is prevented from trading for a player this summer if the need arises. Of course, what better trade than getting Johan Santana back from the disabled list? (Hopefully, he’ll be the only player spending significant time on the DL this season.)
Jose Reyes Today, David Wright Tomorrow?
What’s Wright Worth to Mets: All this talk about trading away one of the most exciting players that have graced a Mets uniform got me thinking about our other home grown super star. What if David Wright was the one who was in his contract year, would we still be having this conversation? Wright is a 5 time All-Star with a career OPS of .899, 2 time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner, holder of multiple Mets Records and the unofficial face of the franchise. How do you put a price on what David Wright means to the Mets? Joe Mauer’s 8yr/$184m deal with the Twins and the reported Cardinals’ 9 year/$200M offer to Albert Pujols might provide us with an indication of what keeping your home grown superstar costs these days.
What a Difference Two Years Makes: Will we be reliving this drame in 2013? In 2013, the Mets owe Santana $25.5M, Bay $18.13M, have a $16M club option on Wright and Pelfrey will be in his last year of arbitration. That’s almost $60M guaranteed and Pelfrey might bring that amount closer to $70M. Then you have first year arbitration eligible Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis, Dan Murphy, Chin-Lung Hu, and Josh Thole. Depending on performance, that may add another $10M to $20M. The Mets should be well removed from their financial problems by 2013 and should be able to afford to resign Wright, but will they want to give Wright a big contract and limit financial flexibility or would they rather trade him for top prospects rather than losing him via free agency?
Jose, Jose, Jose
I can’t help but think that Reyes is getting a raw deal here, though, he’ll get his money either way. I don’t doubt that he would love to stay with the Mets his entire career playing along side his buddy Mr. Wright. It’s not his fault the team is in the situation it’s in right now. We’ve all heard the saying, “How Reyes goes, the Mets go”. It can be argued that Reyes is more important to the Mets than Wright because Wright’s production can be replaced more easily than Reyes’. If that is true, then why is it such a pre drawn conclusion that the Mets will not resign Reyes. Sandy Alderson has stated he would like to resign Reyes but needs to see him play healthy before making the type of commitment it will take to sign Reyes. Reyes has said he doesn’t want to negotiate an extension once the season begins.
I don’t understand those that would rather trade Reyes for some minor league prospects. Reyes is a special player. He’s a once in a lifetime type of player. His enthusiasm is contagious. Most importantly, though, he’s irreplaceable. Name me one other shortstop who can do what Reyes does. Not only that, how much would we really receive in return for half a season of Reyes? Whatever it is, it won’t be a can’t miss player. Not for only half a season. So I say keep your prospects. At the end of the season the Mets will have a better understanding of what their money situation is like and whether Jose can play like he has in the past. By then, they should be able to better decide whether to negotiate a contract extension with Jose.
So tonight, make sure to see Reyes take the first at bat of the Mets’ Opening Day, it may be his last with the Mets. Hopefully not!