Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheering for Jose Reyes

I went to Citi Field last night specifically to cheer Jose Reyes in his first game back in New York. I appreciate all he did for the team and can't see how anyone can blame him for leaving when the Mets did not make him an offer. I stood and cheered for his first at-bat, then treated him like any other member of the Marlins, rooting for the Mets to get him out, but not booing him, either.

I was actually more disappointed in the size of the crowd than the number of boos, which grew steadily with each of Reyes' at-bats. At least the people booing were presumably passionate Met fans, even if I disagreed with them. Unfortunately, with the latest injury news concerning Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay, the Mets may be doomed to a lot more small, angry crowds.

As bad as it was for the Mets to allow the homegrown Reyes to leave, it was an even bigger payroll sin to skimp on depth. You simply can't go into a season assuming that nobody will get hurt, especially a member of the starting rotation. Sure, Jason Bay doesn't seem like a big loss, but he's tied for the team lead in homers with 3, and his .776 OPS is fifth-best on the team. And because the Mets have no depth, he'll have to be replaced by Mike Baxter and minor leaguer Jordany Valdespin, who's actually a middle infielder. Andres Torres is due back soon, but there's no assurance that he can stay healthy or productive?

And now there has to be an assumption that Kirk Nieuwenhuis is for real and that Lucas Duda will be for real.

As for Pelfrey, he had a 2.29 through three starts. Now the Mets appear ready to replace him in the rotation with Chris Schwinden, aka a warm body from the minors.

In today's Post, Joel Sherman says the Mets should model themselves after the Cardinals, a team that continues to be successful with a mid-level payroll. Sherman notes that while the Mets might not get back to a $140 million payroll in the near future, "they should at least be in the Cardinals’ $110 million range — and soon."

Unfortunately, they are now in the $90 million range. Imagine what the Mets could have done this year with another $20 million. Here are three possibilities:

  • They could have have a bench. 
  • They could have acquired another player to help make up for the loss of a star through free agency, just as the Cardinals did when they lost Albert Pujols and signed a free agent named Carlos Beltran. Obviously Beltran is no Pujols, but he is tied for second in the National League with five homers.
  •  They could have re-signed Reyes.

On the bright side, Johan Santana turned in a vintage performance and reminded people that he's worth the money when he's healthy.

And, most amazing of all, the Mets won with Squawker Lisa in the ballpark!

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