Friday, February 11, 2011

Professor Reyes' Sage Words

A lot has been written about the Mets since the conclusion of the 2010 season: Mets fire Omar, Mets fire Jerry, Mets hire Elvis, Elvis hires old colleagues Ricciardi and DePodesta, Wilpon's deny financial issues, Elvis conducts excruciatingly long manager search, Elvis hires Terry Collins, Elvis is tight fisted with signing players, Wilpon's publicly announce they are considering selling up to 25% of the Mets, Mark Cuban responds and...Jose Reyes' contract picked up, but no extension discussed.

We have scribed that the hiring of Alderson might very well mark the end of the Jose Reyes era in Flushing, and that has me sick to my stomach. The Mets aren't approaching Reyes about a contract and are letting him twist.

Amidst all this, Reyes has been handling the situation of his walk year with class, and apparent lack of concern about a deal. Not because he wants to leave. No, Jose wants to stay with the Mets. He is loyal and appreciative of the team that signed him out of his native Dominican Republic at the ripe old age of 16.

While promoting Mayor Bloomberg's "Wake Up NYC" campaign yesterday, Reyes was approached by the media. Many of the same questions were asked, most having to do with his "Walk Year" status. Reyes has remained consistent in his response:

“To be honest with you, right now, I don’t think about my contract. I’m trying to help this team win a lot of ballgames and see what happens. [I’ll] try to play a full year because the last two years have kind of been tough on me to stay healthy on the field and whatever happens after happens.”

“I don’t worry about anything people say about if they are going to trade me or not. My main thing is to play baseball and try to do my job and try to help this team win a lot of ballgames.”

I know many athletes tend to say the same thing, but the words ring hollow. With Reyes though, his comments appear sincere, as the video (below) clearly shows. He has his "Jose smile," and doesn't appear to be angry nor concerned. That might very well prove to be a big plus for the 27 year old shortstop. Less pressure, higher performance.

Even when it comes to the alleged financial troubles of his bosses, Reyes remains focused on one thing, and one thing only: staying healthy and being productive:

“I see some stuff but right now I’m concentrating on trying to get to spring training and get ready for the season and it’s time for baseball. I know it’s tough because I know we are family, but I support them all the way and let’s see what happens. But like I said before, my concern is to play baseball.”

Reyes' attitude seems positive. When reflecting back over the last two seasons, Professor Reyes accurately admits the frustration of the injuries, and has worked very hard during the winter to have a great bounce back year:

“The last two years have kind of been rough on me, but there’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to be the same Jose Reyes that played in 2008. I’ve been working so hard this off-season so I’m not too concerned at all.”

I understand the Mets want to wait and see if Reyes can stay healthy. The problem we run into is that the longer they wait, the more appealing a departure might appear to Reyes. Aside from being a fan favorite, he is the most electric player in the game, and the team goes as Jose goes. My opinion? They must keep him, but I also believe this is the last year Jose will be in Flushing. I pray to God I am wrong, but in case I'm not, enjoy him Mets fans. It might be another 30 years before you see a player of his caliber. To me it seems a bit ominous that they have Ruben Tejada playing the full year at AAA at SS, not 2B. Writing on the wall?

Sources: ESPN New York, Baseball Reference

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