By Mike Steffanos
Before I get to the small amount of Mets news this morning, I'd like to once again offer my helpful assistance to GM Omar Minaya. Watching shortstop Jose Reyes finally make it in one piece through a full season last year, I began to feel pretty good about the chances of the 22-year-old fulfilling some of his potential.
How silly that was. I've read enough this winter by those that use statistics to predict player performance about Reyes to convince me that he's a terrible player both at the plate and in the field. Now I implore Omar to get some value back in return for Jose before all of the other GMs read this stuff and refuse to offer more than spare parts or faded prospects in return.
It's really too bad. In 3-1/2 decades of watching the Mets I've seen no other player come through that provided the level of excitement that Reyes brings to the ballpark. I've enjoyed watching the pressure that he puts on the other team's defense and pitcher whenever he gets on base. I love the way he finds that extra gear between first and second base while legging out one of his triples.
And I'm impressed by the effect Willie Randolph and his coaching staff have had on Reyes, helping him to slowly develop at least a semblance of patience at the plate, work a pitcher a little better and sometimes even take a walk. For a kid who isn't going to be 23 until June, and was rushed to the major leagues at least a year early (he had 335 ABs combined in AA and AAA) I thought that was decent progress.
But no, sadly I've been informed that Reyes is nothing more than an "out machine". We'd be better off with a kind of slow guy that takes a lot of pitches. Worst of all, statistics that predict how many plays he should have made and compare them to how many he actually did make have now convinced me that Jose is a terrible defensive shortstop, too.
Omar, are you listening to this stuff? Get rid of this kid before the market for him completely disappears!
Okay, maybe what I've written here isn't completely fair. I've actually come around to a real interest in analyzing past and predicting future performance through the use of statistical analysis. I agree that Reyes is a very rough work in progress, and may be better served down the road by hitting lower in the order. I watched almost all the games last season, and was frustrated at times by the way he lost concentration in the field and failed to make some plays that he should have.
But the kid is still so damned young, and has the kind of breathtaking talent that you can't teach. There has never been anyone like him in all of my years of watching this team -- not even close. Lighten up on him a little, and at least let him make it past 25 before you toss him on the scrap heap.
RealGM Baseball: And today's featured jerk is...
Walter A. Nesbeth III -- who makes the following statement:
I may be off base here (no pun intended), but am I the only one that doesn’t get the whining and crying that is being heard emanating from the Met faithful and some talk show hosts who obviously are short on material?
Yes, Walter, we get it. All Mets fans are whiny racists, and you're the voice of reason. I'm glad that I've already seized the moral high ground for myself, because quite obviously the vast majority of Mets fans who don't believe Omar is engaged in a Latin conspiracy -- but have no public forum -- don't count to such heroes of reason and justice like Mr. Nesbeth. Jerk...
NY Sports Day: Billy Wagner
Joe McDonald has another great feature, this one on the new Mets closer.
Sports Illustrated: 1968
Tom Verducci has a great look at what he calls the "Class of '68" -- a group of great players, including Mike Piazza, who are at the very tail end of their careers.
Daily News: Clemente
Christian Red reports on Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado's support for retiring Roberto Clemente's number 21 in all of baseball.