Jose Reyes

NL East’s Most Hated Team

When divisional realignment took place in 1994, the NL East was haphazardly set up. Sure, it made sense geographically, but the division was set up with no natural rivalries. 

Despite being around since 1962, a Mets rivalry never developed with the Phillies or Expos. The Mets and Braves were always in separate divisions, and it’s not like there was any bad blood lingering from the 1969 NLCS. The Marlins were too new and too terrible to really create a rivalry with anyone. 

The Braves ruled the division early, and there was a brewing rivalry with the Mets. I’m still smarting from 1999. The rivalry is there, but it’s really fizzled after the Braves run. From 2006-2008, the rivalry was with the Phillies. With the Mets downward spiral since moving to Citi Field, that rivalry has dissipated a bit. 

Sure, the bad blood is there, but I’m not quite sure either is a true rivalry. However, what I am sure of is the fact that there is a lot of bad blood in the NL East and it’s directed at the Mets. 

In 2007 and 2008, the Marlins gave their all against the Mets. They beat the Mets two out of three in the Mets final home series with a Mets playoff berth on the line. I’ve heard blame Jose Reyes and his boisterous play (someday showboating). However, how do you explain this year?

I don’t think I’m imagining things when I say the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins have played hard against the Mets recently. This isn’t a complaint. They should play hard everyday, and especially so against their divisional rivals. However, I don’t think they bring the same energy against the Nationals. 

Since August, here’s how those teams have played against the Mets and Nationals:

Atlanta Braves

  • Mets go 4-0 with a composite score of 28-14
  • Nationals go 4-0 with a composite score of 36-9

Miami Marlins

  • Mets go 5-3 with a composite score of 50-40
  • Nationals go 3-3 with a composite score of 21-13

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Mets go 5-1 with a composite score of 56-49
  • Nationals go 3-0 with a composite score of 24-9 

The scores between the Mets and their NL East opponents are closer than the scores between the Nationals and the same opponents. Also, it looks like the Marlins like being a thorn in everyone’s side. Imagine if they put that same energy in a 162 game schedule?

Hopefully, the Marlins keep it up. They just beat the Mets two out of three spreading panic throughout Mets fans. They now have a four game set with the Nationals. Here’s hoping the Marlins put forth the same effort. 

If they don’t, it just shows the NL East truly hates the Mets. 

How Serious is the Cespedes MVP Talk?

I remember Opening Day in 2006. The Mets fans entered this season with a lot of hope, more hope than they’ve had in a long time. Much of it was fueled by their budding young stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright

When Wright hit a sixth inning homerun, I remember the fans starting an MVP chant. I joined in on it. It wasn’t serious. It was just fun. I remember chuckling afterwards. I also remember Mike & Dog blowing a gasket over that and Billy Wagner‘s entrance music. I was reminded of that day when I saw this last night:

These fans seem to be having the same fun we did in 2006. If it’s all in fun, I’m on board. If it’s to show Yoenis Cespedes some love, I’m on board. If the fans are serious, you’ve lost me

Look, I love things that are fun for the fans. However, if this is a real push, you’ve lost me. He’s not the MVP of the National League or the Mets. Instead, he’s an amazing story that can lead the Mets to more amazing stories in the playoffs. 

Maybe then I’ll agree with the MVP sentiments. 

This Feels Wright

In my family, there are a number of huge Mets fans. One of them is my Uncle Pat. The two things I always remembered him saying about the Mets were:

  1. How beautiful the Tom Seaver Number Retirement Ceremony was; and
  2. How classy it was that the Mets brought back Lee Mazzilli in 1986. 

I’m too young to remember the Lee Mazzilli heyday. However, I’m not too young that I don’t remember Ron Darling‘s playing days. The reason why I bring this up is because Mazzilli was traded to obtain Darling, who was a key part of the 1986 Mets. 

From what I hear, fans took trading Mazzilli hard. Not only was he a homegrown Met, but he was also a local kid. It’s part of the reason Mets fans have extra love for players like Ed Kranepool. It’s why we were even more excited when Steven Matz got called-up. 

Now, David Wright isn’t a local kid, but he did grow up a Mets fan. He is a homegrown Met. At times, he’s played like a superstar. In 2006. 2007, and 2008, we all thought he would bring us a World Series. It didn’t happen. The Mets then didn’t resign Jose Reyes and stopped spending money. Then the lean years came. 

This year was the first year in a while there was legitimate hope. The Mets had a healthy Matt HarveyJacob deGrom was coming off of a Rookie of the Year season. Offensively, as usual, it all seemed to hinge on Wright and his return from a shoulder injury. It lasted all of eight games before he went down. By necessity, Wright went into the rear view mirror. 

The Mets made their trades and the team took off. Wright wasn’t a part of the Mets Renaissance. We began to hear some nonsense about how Wright might upset the team chemistry. On Monday, Wright showed that notion was just noise. He’s still the leader. He’s still their best player. He’s still the fan favorite. 

That’s the thing. For a whole generation of Mets fans, he’s their Tom Seaver. He’s the guy with the Hall of Fame talent you hope can lead you to the World Series. He’s also their Lee Mazzilli. He’s the lifetime Mets fan who was the best player on a bad team. It wasn’t until he was gone that the team became a contender. 

However, unlike Mazzilli, Wright is back with something in the tank. Wright may not be able to play everyday right now, but he’s still their best option at 3B. I really hope the Mets make a long October run, and I hope Wright gets to be a large part of that like he was on Monday night. 

As we know when David was gone, it was fun because the team was winning, but it didn’t feel 100% “Wright” because he wasn’t there. He’s back, and it feels “Wright” again. Lets Go Mets!

When Will Reyes Make His Move?

I can and have gone on and on ad nauseum about the Mets bringing back Jose Reyes. I promise this entry isn’t that. 

Everyone concludes, including myself, that Reyes is not coming back. We know he didn’t want to leave. We know the Mets still haven’t found a SS. We know he hasn’t sold his home. Now, he’s playing in Colorado. I’m sure he misses his family, and we all know Colorado has excellent schools, right Mike Hampton?  

This isn’t the move I’m referring to in the title.  only joking. I would never pretend to tell someone else how to raise their family. Fatherhood is difficult enough while trying to raise someone else’s kids. 

I’m not even referring to another team who may trade for him. Rather, I’m referring to Reyes making a move towards the Hall of Fame. I believe if he is going to make it, he’s probably going to need 3,000 hits. 

Reyes’ 162 game average is 198 hits per season. Going into this year, he’s only averaged 120 games a year, and he’s averaged 148 hits per year. That may seem low, but he has missed time due to injuries. Entering this season, he had 1,772 hits. He now sits at 1,866. He’s currently 1,134 short of 3,000.  

There are 47 games left in the Rockies season.   If we assume Reyes will continue to play 74% of his team’s games, he has approximately 35 games left in the season. At a rate of 1.2 hits per game, he will get an additional 42 hits. This would leave him with about 1,908 hits or 1,092 short of 3,000. 

If he continues to average 148 hits, he’ll need about eight more years to reach 3,000. That’s a lot to ask considering you’re asking him to play everyday into his age 42 season. 

I know he wants to come back to New York, but maybe going to Colorado was a blessing in disguise.  Now we know, players hit 17% better at Coors Field. I doubt the Rockies will pick up his $22 million option in 2018. That means, barring a trade, he will only have two full years in Coors Field. 

As noted above, Reyes averages 148 hits per season. In his career, Reyes gets 51% of his base hits at home. That means in a typical season, Reyes can expect to get 75 hits at home and 73 on the road. If we apply the 17% Coors Field factor, Reyes average home hits would increase to 88 hits. This would increase his hits total from 148 to 161. 

Accordingly, two years in Coors Field would put him at approximately 2,232 hits or 768 hits short entering his age 35 season. At 161 hits per year, he’d need approximately 5 more years to reach 3,000. If Reyes is healthier getting off the turf and plays 150 games per year, his hit totals could increase by an additional 40 hits per year, or 80 total. This would put him at 2,312 or 688 short. 

Now when he’s a free agent, he will have to decide if: 1) he wants to make the push towards 3,000; 2) he wants to win; or 3) hopefully both. 

If he goes for option #1 or #3, maybe he could be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Quite possibly, he would then be the Mets first position player from their farm system to do so. Maybe the Mets would then retire his number 7. I’d love to be there for both ceremonies. 

It’s a long shot right now. If that’s going to change, Reyes needs to embrace playing in Coors Field and make his move. 

Hello Reyes My Old Friend

Last night, Jose Reyes returned to Citi Field . . . again. This is the third jersey Reyes has worn at Citi Fiels since Sandy Alderson informed him the Mets weren’t interested in resigning him. 

Reyes hasn’t killed the Mets since he left. In 22 games against them, he’s only hit .229/.298/.325.  Last night, he went 1-4 and was picked off of first base. However since his departure, the Mets have been unable to resolve their SS situation. We were reminded of this as Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] played SS twice (is he becoming Bartolo Colon’s personal SS?) and Ruben Tejada, who was terrible in the field on Saturday, played once against the Rays. Overall, since Reyes left the Mets after the 2011 season, here are the Mets’ SS by games played (as per Baseball Almanac):

  1. Ruben Tejada – 281
  2. Omar Quntanilla – 168
  3. Wilmer Flores – 125
  4. Ronny Cedeno – 27
  5. Justin Turner – 10
  6. Jordany Valdespin
  7. Eric Campbell – 2
  8. Wilfredo Tovar – 1
  9. David Wright – 1

This is why I begged the Mets to bring Reyes back to New York. It would at least end the pattern of: 1) give Tejada the job; 2) Tejada over exposed or not able to play SS everyday; 3) look for another poor solution and repeat. It’s insane that Quintanilla has played the second most games in the above list. 

The Mets are in first place right now with a SS problem. The job, yet again, belongs to Tejada. As the information shows, it won’t be for long. This is why I hope the Mets make a move for a SS prior to the August 31 waiver trade deadline. I really hope that player is Reyes. I know we’re stuck with Tejada. 

Rumor Has It No More Trade Talk

I’m done with analyzing potential trades and players.  I don’t think the Mets are making any more moves.  I don’t think Sandy Alderson had the money to spend.  He was bluffing at that press conference because that’s his job.  He cannot announce to the world the Mets don’t have the money to add a contract.  That’s foolhardy.  It reduces your leverage in trade discussions, and it could keep fans away from the ballpark.  Both are bad for business, and if anything, Sandy is a good businessman.

Therefore, I’m not going to address how well I think Gerardo Parra will fit on this team, especially given Juan Lagares’ questionable health and offense.  I’m not going to address how a Jose Reyes deal will benefit the Mets on the field and in attendance.  I won’t go into how Justin Upton has been lousy since April and will only drag the Mets offense further down.  I’ve already wasted my breath on Jay Bruce.  We all know Yoenis Cespedes and Carlos Gonzalez are not going to be moved by their teams.

Any other players the Mets get besides the aforementioned players are just background noise.  They are bench parts that don’t have the day to day impact the Mets need on the field.  If the Mets acquire someone, I’ll do a write up on the trade.  If the Mets get one of the above, I’ll concede how very wrong I was.

I’m not being pessimistic.  I’m being realistic.  I do think the team on the field can compete for the postseason and the World Series.  When Travis d’Arnaud returns, the team is that much better.  If David Wright returns, and is at least a shadow of himself, watch out.  If Steven Matz returns, we’re really cooking.

Instead of focusing on what could be, I’m going to focus on what is and enjoy that.  I don’t think people do that enough nowadays.  I’m going to sit down tonight and watch the Mets game with my son until he falls asleep.  I’m going to watch the team on the field, and I’m going to enjoy the game (hopefully).  I’m just not going to sit here anymore and fret over what could be.  I’m going to enjoy what is.

Thor is the Story

There was a lot of stories and distractions today around the Mets. First, there were fans clamoring for the return of Jose Reyes. Then the Mets made it clear they had no interest in Reyes. Next, David Wright resumed baseball activities. Finally, Jenrry Mejia embarrassed Major League Baseball, the Mets, and himself with his second PED suspension THIS YEAR!

Noah Syndergaard took the mound Tuesday night and made himself the story. He was perfect through six innings, and he finished with an incredible line of 8.0 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts, 3 hits, and no walks. 

After Thor allowed the first single to potential trade target Will Venable, he allowed an infield single to Yangervis Solarte. On the Solarte single, Ruben Tejada tried to do too much. Rather than smother the ball, he tried a glove flip to Daniel Murphy to try to get the force out. Instead of a Web Gem, Tejada nearly put the ball into right field. Venable advanced to third on the play.  It was 2-0 with runners on first and third with no outs. 

Thor then threw down the gauntlet (sorry comic book fans if this is mixing metaphors). He got Matt Kemp to pop out and induced Justin Upton, another trade target, to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Despite having only thrown 107 pitches, Thor was lifted after eight innings (perhaps due to the innings limit dilemma). Tyler Clippard made his Mets debut and worked his way around a leadoff double. 

After this inning, I finally put my son to bed. Growing up, there was a rule in my household: bed time was suspended until a Mets’ pitcher allowed their first hit. The longest bed time reprieve I remember was David Cone losing a no-hitter on a dribbler down the third base line that refused to go foul. I knew my son wouldn’t remember seeing Thir pitch a perfect game, but I would remember watching it with him. That would’ve made it all the more special maybe next time. 

When setting today’s lineup, Terry generally followed the platoon system. With the righty Shields on the mound, Collins went with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy. However, after his walk-off hit on Sunday, Juan Uribe was in the lineup. It should be noted that coming into the game Uribe had gone 2/5 with one walk and a triple against Shields. 

My belief is that this is the Mets’ best defensive infield alignment. Incredibly, Murphy was the defensive star of the game making two nice defensive plays whe the no-hitter was still viable. 

Kudos is also due to Lucas Duda, who hit a mammoth two run homerun in the first inning. It appears the pressure is off and the power is back. His other outs were hard hit balls. Curtis Granderson put the game away with a two run homerun in the eighth. 

However, the story of the game and th day was Thor, who pitched like an ace. It seems the stud muffins are pushing each other to be better. It’s incredible, and it’s the type of thing that drives a team towards the postseason. 

Mets in Danger of Losing Goodwill

Lately, the Mets had just started to build some goodwill with the fan base. First, the acquisition of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson paid immediate dividends on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday, the Mets gave up a substantial prospect to get Tyler Clippard. 

Late last night, the baseball world was shocked by the Troy Tulowitzki-Jose Reyes blockbuster. Immediately, Mets fans began clamoring to bring Reyes back to the Mets. I immediately looked to see the Mets’ interest level in Reyes:

  1. Jon Heyman reports the Mets have no interest;
  2. Joel Sherman agrees;
  3. Mike Puma and the New York Post report there will be no reunion;
  4. Marc Carig calls Reyes a tough fit;
  5. Andy Martino reports the Mets wouldn’t even seek a trade for Reyes with the Blue Jays. 

Alright, alright. I shouldn’t be surprised because the Mets were not interested in resigning Reyes in 2011. I get the point. However, I question if the Mets get the point. They’re risking the recent goodwill they’ve acquired especially with reports that Tulo wanted no part in coming to the Mets. 

I firmly believe with the Tyler Clippard overpay, the fans would’ve accepted it if the Mets couldn’t or wouldn’t make another deal. With them now twice passing to trade for Reyes (despite a need for a SS, a bat, and a leadoff hitter), the fans will grow angry with this team again for not getting the other player. The fans will not believe there is any more money to spend. 

Look, I love Reyes. Who didn’t love the Jose chant or his walk up music?  He brought a certain energy to the team and the stands. However, if this team doesn’t want him [again], we have to accept that.  

The Mets have to accept that something has to be done. The Mets are not interested in Carlos Gonzalez. The Mets traded the player the Brewers wanted for Tyler Clippard making a Gerardo Parra and/or Carlos Gomez deal more difficult. The Mets are competing with the Angels for Jay Bruce. 

The Mets have created this situation, and now, they need to do something. You could call the Reyes trade bad luck, but that covers up the fact they were not aggressively pursuing a SS. I’m curious to see where the Mets go from here. 

Get Us Jose Reyes

In shocking news, the Toronto Blue Jays traded Jose Reyes and prospects for Troy Tulowitzki. Earlier, it was reported the Mets came away thinking the Rockies were not serious about trading Tulo. I’m sure the Mets did their due diligence, but as Mets fans know, Reyes is a special player. 

Like the Rockies, the Blue Jays are not trading Tulo to the Mets. For starters, the Blue Jays are three games out of the second Wild Card (four in the loss column) and sport the best run differential in the American League. They’re not selling. If they’re looking to flip Tulo (or another bat) for pitching, the trade will not be for one of the Mets prospects. 

Now, I’m having the same thought every Mets fan is having. We want to hear the Jose, Jose, Jose chant at Citi Field again. In the offseason, it was reported the Rockies were considering trading Tulo and were scouting Noah Syndergaard. It has also been assumed the Mets wanted the Rockies to absorb some of Tulo’s contract. These were major sticking points on both sides. Obviously, the deal never got done. 

Tulo is being paid $20 million this year. He has $74 million remaining on his contract that expires in 2020. There is a $15 million team option for the 2021 season with a steep $4 million opt out clause. This is a steep price for someone who hasn’t played 140+ games in a season since 2011. 

Reyes has a big contract as well, but it’s not as long as Tulo’s contract. Reyes is being paid $22 million his year. He’s due $22 million in 2016 and 2017 ($44 million total) with a $22 million option in 2018 with another steep $4 million opt out clause. Overall, Reyes is due $30 million less in guaranteed future salary. 

What will it take to get Reyes?  I don’t know. While I wish I was an insider, I’m not. However, the Mets have the pieces to make this happen and have made overtures they can add a major contract.  Reyes fits in this team because it gives them the SS they need and he’s a bona fide leadoff hitter. If the Mets can swing the deal, it would allow them to put Granderson lower in the lineup to knock in runs. With Reyes on the team, there will be runners on base. 

I pray this deal gets done. With 2006 and the collapses, there is unfinished business here for a Wright and Reyes. The Mets now have the pitching to get it done. The Mets overpaid for Tyler Clippard. They can do the same for Reyes. It’s time to bring Reyes home. 

Mets in Same Position as 10 Years Ago

Did you ever hear of the saying, the more things change the more they stay the same? The saying drives me absolutely nuts. Inherently, something that is static cannot also be idle at the same time. However, for the first time I am starting to understand this saying.

I believe this season is starting to resemble 2005. Sure there was some optimism before that season with the signings of Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. This was also going to be the first full season David Wright and Jose Reyes were going to play together. That team also had some holes: Doug Mientkiewicz had a great glove but not the bat to play 1B, Kaz Matsui was being shifted to play 2B after he showed he couldn’t play SS the prior year, and let’s not forget the closer was Braden Looper in a largely ineffective bullpen. However, I don’t know of anyone that expected the Mets to realistically make the playoffs that year.

At that point, the Mets fans were suffering. In 2001, the Mets rallied around the city, but they fell short of making the playoffs in an otherwise disappointing season. In 2002, we watched Steve Phillips attempt to recreate the team as an offensive juggernaut with the likes of Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roger Cedeno. This lead to three years of just bad baseball. Now, the Mets fans were clamoring for a move to be made. We wanted to see Piazza go out on his last year with the Mets with a winner. At the Trading Deadline, the Mets found themselves only 4 games out of the Wild Card.

However, Omar Minaya stayed the course. The Mets made no trades. He kept his bullets for the offseason. If you recall, that was a magical offseason with the additions of Paul LoDuca, Carlos Delgado, Jose Valentin, Xavier Nady, Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, Pedro Feliciano, Duaner Sanchez, John Maine, Jorge Julio (was was then traded in season for El Duque), Darren Oliver, and Billy Wagner. Omar showing restraint permitted the Mets to build that great 2006 team the fans loved.

Now, Mets fans have been suffering longer than they were in 2005, and they are begging for just one bat (which I don’t think will do the trick). While Mets fans were disappointed in 2005, I don’t remember them being a distraught as they are now. I think the difference is trust. We trusted that ownership and Omar would spend the money to get the players that were needed. In fact, they just come off of a spending spree that netted Pedro and Beltran. Now, fans don’t trust that ownership will spend the money. I believe this is the trust gap that is the biggest sense of frustration with this team.

It’s a shame too because I remember 2005 being a fun season. So far, I think 2015 has been gut-wrenching with all the tight, low-scoring games. My only hope is that if the Mets don’t make a move now, they have a plan for what can be realistically accomplished this summer. There will be LF available who can really help the team in the short term, but the market is scarce on middle infielders. My fingers are crossed.  I want to be able to go to a playoff game with my father and son.