This has been an all-time "don't watch Sportscenter" week for me. The Jets were a complete mess from start to finish in their biggest game of the season. The NBA is about as relevant as the ABA at this point. But bar none the most frustrating thing is that the Mets are in the midst of losing the best player they’ve had in 25 years for essentially nothing. No prospects in return, no high round compensatory draft picks: nothing.
The Mets had a full season to decide what to do with Reyes. Although there were clearly several offshoots involving, there were two schools of thought on how to deal with the Reyes situation: keep him around and hope he has enough of a connection to the team to resign at a discount, or use his astronomical trade value to fatten up a thin minor league system.
At the beginning of the year, I wrote that I favored the latter. I don’t think anybody was delusional enough to think that a team with a rotation anchored by Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey was one capable of making a playoff run. With the right trading partner, the Mets would have been able to name AT LEAST one A-list prospect, and maybe two or three more high level players. It would have closed the book on an exciting but underperforming era of Mets baseball, and addressed the primary long term need that every team has: developing the minor league system.
The other option that appealed to more sentimental fans was to wait the season out, and break the less than considerable bank for Reyes. There were a lot of flaws to this plan. Outside of financial constraints, Reyes’ stock tanked due to leg injuries in the second half. By the end of the season, he was considered more of a risky high-end investment than a franchise player. However, Reyes connects to Mets fans in a way that no player I've ever seen has. He's an exciting, charismatic homegrown superstar, which is just the type of player that develops loyalty in a fan base.
Obviously, the Mets appeared to take the second route. But as the weeks passed by after the season ended, and meetings transgressed between Reyes’ people and the Mets, there were no whispers of a concrete offer. Instead, the team frittered away their time to try and convince Reyes to return to a place that he admittedly loves, and let other suitors get involved.
What really gets me though is the lack of any sort of plan. I have been a fan of a team with inept ownership, but I never doubted that they cared about winning. James Dolan has made some indefensibly awful decisions as the owner of the Knicks. In hindsight, signing Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph looks preposterous, but Isaiah Thomas explained that the team was trying to get bigger when everyone else was getting smaller. Did it work? No. But although the results were poor, the idea to improve was there.
So let me put a question to any Mets fan or baseball fan reading this: how does this process with Reyes show that the Mets care about getting better? They aren’t looking short term (signing free agents) or long term (trading Reyes and Wright and starting over). The Mets are no longer a team to the Wilpons, they are an asset, and one that the owners apparently have no intention of improving.
Jose Reyes represented the best chance this team had to improve, whether he was playing for them or traded somewhere else. And they did nothing with him. They’re not getting exciting prospects in return for him. They’re not getting his contract off the books so they can position themselves for a run at a free agent pitcher. They are simply slashing payroll because the owners are hemorrhaging money.
Maybe all of the Miami talk is just posturing, and Sandy Alderson is playing his cards inside his vest. But if the Mets lose Reyes for nothing, it is a slap in the face to a proud fan base that has sat through two of the most brutal collapses I’ve been witness to in any sport. It will say that until the Wilpons have cleared their desks out, there is no point in rooting for this team, because the Wilpons aren’t interested in giving you something to root for.