By Mike Steffanos
Apologies for disappearing for a few days. I've been fighting some sort of summertime flue that's really floored me. I tried three separate times to write a follow-up to my Reyes piece from last week that I finally just scrapped. I just wasn't able to concentrate and it was basically crap.
Anyway, to me the whole Reyes thing boils down to my belief that the Mets have to make some sort of real attempt to keep him, but they don't need to do this at the expense of entering into a foolish contract.
I think something along the lines of five years with a couple of option years based on games played would at least have a chance of bringing back Reyes without exposing the team to extreme risk if the injury bug decides to bite him again. Now there is a chance that some team out there might be willing to go 7 or even 8 guaranteed years, but if that happens then what can you do?
There will be some fans that won't accept a Reyes departure under any circumstances, but I think a decent majority will respect a sincere effort even if it falls short. Still, the Wilpons suffer from a credibility gap with the fan base now, and if they make some silly token effort with Reyes they'll do themselves more harm than good.
I do think you can build a decent offensive club going forward around Reyes, David Wright and Ike Davis (if he ever comes back). Even if the Mets had to go a little lower budget than they would like on the supporting cast for a year or two, I'd still like to see them build around that core.
By the way, I know there are some who ascribe Jose's success this year simply to playing for a new contract, but I don't buy that. Reyes hasn't been healthy nor at the top of his game for the last two seasons, but if we look at the four years from 2005-2008 he was pretty impressive. Average up those seasons and you get:
Reyes is having a great year, but it hasn't come out of nowhere. That kind of offense from a shortstop is valuable.
A lot has been made of the announcement that Reyes doesn't want to negotiate a contract in-season. I don't read much into that. Once the Mets elected not to try to extend Reyes over the winter they lost their chance at any significant discount. I don't blame the Mets for not doing it, but there's no real incentive for Reyes not to find out his full value. I know I would if I was in his place.
Gee has been a really pleasant surprise this season, but he finally proved that he isn't going to be perfect.
He'll be an interesting guy to watch as the season wears on. With a kid like him I wonder how he'll react once he goes through a bad stretch. Will he get a little contact shy and start nibbling at corners and falling behind hitters? It's a natural reaction, but he'll need to be a strike thrower to be effective.
Gee doesn't have the margin for error that a pitcher with better stuff enjoys. He seems to have the right sort of demeanor to succeed, but it will bear watching.
The Minaya Legacy
A hot topic of conversation lately seems to be a question of how much credit Omar Minaya should get for the current Mets roster that includes so many of "his guys". I'm not sure why, really. He was the GM from late 2004 through October 2010. Of course many of the current players would have come in under his watch.
I have no great antipathy towards Omar. He certainly wasn't the worst GM this team has had during my years of watching them. For a couple of years he made a lot of smart moves with the major league roster, but then he seemed to get bogged down in believing that the club was always a piece or two away from being a real contender when the holes were in reality much bigger and more numerous.
Omar had some talents, but his failure only emphasizes what a difficult job it is to be General Manager of the Mets. Alderson shows signs of having more vision and discipline than Minaya, which in turn allows those of us who love this team to have some hope. This subject probably merits a more in-depth look at some point in the future.