Future in the Past

And with that one tweet, it hits you. The thing that we’ve been preparing for during the better part of a year is finally here. Jose Reyes has left the New York Mets.

He’s on his way to the Miami Marlins, a franchise he once fought tooth and nail against (literally) on a six-year $106 million deal. It was a deal that the Mets had no interest in topping, matching, or even approaching. What kills me is that it didn’t have to come to this. But once the Wilpons decided to hand over their finances to Bernie Madoff, it started a spiral which made the end of Reyes’ Met career inevitable. It’s been inevitable for years. And if you don’t believe that then you’re fooling yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing is in a vacuum. Jose Reyes didn’t leave because Sandy Alderson decided that he couldn’t spare a small fraction of the Mets vast wealth on a player who was an injury risk. Was it a smart move not to match Miami’s offer on Jose’s hamstrings? Sure, but given the Mets lack of a roster that can compete and lack of funds that can sustain a team like this towards the top of the division, it was the only move. And that’s what pisses me off: Better management, better choices, a revenue stream that is befitting of a team in the number one market in the world, and Jose Reyes is a New York Met in 2012, and beyond. Instead, we have a sinking payroll, a shrinking fan base, and absolutely zero hope for next season.

Sorry to be so melodramatic and doomsdayish, but yes. Zero.

Yes, Alderson made the only move he could. The Marlins made an insane offer to Reyes and nobody can blame Sandy for deciding to pass. But I’m not going to blame the Marlins for going overboard on this either. Look, you’ve gotta overpay to get good free agents. It’s the nature of the business. Same principle as when the Mets signed Pedro Martinez to a four-year deal. Four years was the only way to get him and bring respectability back to the organization, and show guys like Carlos Beltran that it was worth it to come to the Mets. Petey gave the Mets what he could before typical Mets luck reared its ugly head and brought his career to a standstill. Maybe it’ll be the same with Jose as he’ll only give Miami three, maybe four years of top notch play. But in the same way the Mets needed to overpay for Petey, the Marlins were in a position where they needed to make a big move and they did it. Jose Reyes is the Marlins’ Pedro Martinez.

Maybe it’s some sort of karmic payback for the Mets grabbing guys like Paul Lo Duca, Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, and Carlos Delgado when circumstances didn’t allow the Marlins to hold on to these players. Now the bad taste is in the other mouth. The Marlins have money to spend, a new ballpark to show up, and they held the small market Mets at arms length until they hit a number that the Mets couldn’t reach. A number they couldn’t reach because they lost $70 million last season. Think about that for a second: Number one market, ballpark that’s only three years old, revenue generating network, and this organization lost seventy million dollars, and lost their best player to the Miami Marlins.

How exactly in the hell does that happen?

Jose_Reyes_tripleI hate to come on this space and say the same things over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. I’m more sick of typing it than you are of reading it. And you have to be sick of reading it by now. But leave the vacuum of the last few weeks and you’ll plainly see that the Wilpon family shouldn’t own gerbils much less a business. And certainly not the business of baseball. Again, not to be melodramatic and doomsdayish, but I truly believe that this franchise … the franchise that I grew up with and will love and support until my demise which will probably involve a hospital gown, a tub full of butter, Darren O’Day’s Baseball Reference page printed out on recycled paper, and a toaster … will never win another thing until the Wilpons have sold the team. I respect what Sandy and the Superfriends were brought here to do, and I think the plan of clearing out all the unfortunate contracts and building from within is the only way to go. And I think it’s the best chance at success for the Mets. But somehow, someway, these owners will screw it up, just as their mismanaging and unintentional destruction of this team has screwed up this team for the last three years and beyond.

As for Reyes, I hold no ill will. I’ve rooted for him in the face of ridiculous attacks by Philadelphia (and the media) regarding dancing, I’ve defended him through the last game of the season where he pulled himself out of the game to win himself a batting title, and I’m not going to stop now. I refuse to do a 180 and pretend as if he was a selfish, child-hating dog who we’ll be better off without. Seriously, how do we hold rallies on the Shea Bridge for him in May, and then turn around and pretend as if Ruben Tejada is going to slip right in and be everything that Reyes was in December? Hint: he won’t … and please think of this before you boo him simply for not being Jose Reyes.

I’m not going to blame him for leaving for a place that not only showed him the money, but showed him love. Think about what you would do if a competing company called you out of nowhere, took you for a night on the town, offered you more money to do the same job, and showed you that you could be at a place that respects the work you do while your current employer … one whose boss put in writing that he doesn’t think much of what you do … says to you “well, come back after you visit with these other people and we’ll make a decision whether you’re worth these offers or not.” What would you do? Think hard before you answer. And if you give me the words “hometown discount” I will take a bus to your house and beat you with a hose. You’d be gone in a second and you know it. What exactly did you expect Reyes to do under these circumstances? And you know what’s sad, not only that he left for a team that hasn’t had money up until this point, and for a team that hasn’t drawn flies up until this point, but he went to the one team in the freakin’ division that finished below the Mets in the standings! He sees a team that’s more sad sack than the Mets on the rise and has decided to help them. Same guy who it was reported had a hard time returning to the Mets because of their limited playoff chances, then he goes to a team with a worse record. Hypocritical on Jose’s part? Maybe. A sad indictment on how the Mets organization has been run the last five years? Definitely.

Around 2004, one of the dailies had a Mets pullout poster featuring their greatest memories … ’69, ’86, Grand Slam Single, and so on. The last “great memory”: Reyes and Wright, dubbed “The Future”. It was with acknowledgment of talent of hope of things to come that these two players had a chance to do something on par with the two most legendary teams in Mets history. They were robbed of that chance by some bad decisions from ownership all the way down. Now half of the future is officially in the past, with one division title and one playoff series win. I’m sure the other half will soon follow, whether it be by trade, which makes sense considering that they’d like to get the haul for David Wright that they never pursued with Reyes, or by free agency, as why would David stick around now? And that’s why this sucks. Because even though it makes sense of the moment, it didn’t have to happen this way in the big picture.

But it happened, and I can’t say I’m surprised. Jose Reyes has left the New York Mets.


About metstradamus

I've been a Mets fan since 1976. The 1988 NLCS still bothers me infinitely more than it should. I also write about hockey for Puck Drunk Love. I've also been referred to as "Mr. Testosterone", and "this clown". We'll always have 2015.