In my lifetime, I hope to one day watch another player as exciting as Jose Reyes wear orange and blue.
I will always remember the energy, the speed and the jolt of exhilaration Reyes injected into each and every game, but looking back on the news that Reyes will not be gracing the Citi Field infield next year, I find myself with mixed emotions.
Of course I am upset that one of my all-time favorite players—who matured as a player in the same time frame I matured as a person and fan—won’t be back. It feels like the Mets’ heart and soul was ripped out from inside them. No player in Mets history had a more infectious attitude and passion for the game. He was meant to be a Met from the moment he donned the uniform.
But, as much as it pains me to say this and considering the astronomical contract he was looking for, I think the Mets made the right decision to not resign the shortstop.
Despite the fact that Reyes was a four-time all-star, four-time NL triples leader, three-time NL stolen bases leader and the 2011 NL batting champion, his revolving door-like trips to the disabled list and suspect hamstrings did not warrant the long-term and expensive commitment the Mets would have needed to guarantee him.
We have to be practical here. The Mets are not a win-now team. The most realistic chance the team has of being above-average will be in 2013 or 2014. Reyes is a player who relies on speed and agility to be the kind of player he is. If he was constantly on the disabled list when he was a younger player, can’t we expect him to miss even more time as his body begins to age? The timing simply does not make sense.
Reyes’ departure marks the true beginning of the Sandy Alderson era in Queens. The remnants of the Minaya regime are slowly beginning to disappear, and Alderson can begin to construct a team that fits the mold he believes will result in the best overall product. Reyes did not fit into that plan.
While seeing Reyes leave the only home he’s ever known will hurt, three or four years from now we will likely look back at the day Reyes accepted the Marlins’ offer and think it was the right decision. When Reyes is making astronomical sums of money as an aging shortstop past his prime, we will not regret the tough decision Alderson was forced to meet.
Our team is now run with calculation rather than emotion and while it might sting now, the future will shine brighter because of it.
Despite all of this, it still burns me to the core to see Reyes wearing those god-awful new Marlins jerseys.
Goodbye, Jose. There may never be a player quite like you to grace the major leagues. You will be missed, thanks for the memories.