Monday, December 5, 2011

Farewell, Sweet Prince

It is official - the Miami Marlins have signed Jose Reyes to a six year, $106 million dollar deal. I have long threatened that while Erin is still in a "recovering from birthing a human" state, i will sign the birth certificate for our child, male or female, reading "Jose Reyes Salvatore." Well, those plans are out the window now (how does R.A. Dickey Salvatore sound to you guys?), and i have extremely mixed feelings about this whole business.

First of all, giving 6 years to a shortstop is sort of ridiculous - especially one who defensively has been trending downward over the past few years. In addition, Reyes has had a fair share of leg problems - not as bad as many would lead you to believe - but still more than i would feel comfortable with, when signing to that length of a contract.

And contracts like that are precisely why the Mets are in the position that they are in this morning. David Wright signed a very fair extension a few years ago, and has been worth the money spent on him. But, let's focus on the other big free agent contracts the Mets have given out lately:

4 years to Jason Bay
7 years to Johan Santana
4 years to Oliver Perez
4 years to Luis Castillo
3 years with a vesting option to K-Rod

Each one of those deals has come back to bite the Mets in the ass for one reason or another. And, invariably, each one is too long. That was the general plan for the Omar Minaya-led Mets - guarantee more years that the competition. And for Minaya, that sort of worked - especially since now it is his predecessor, Sandy Alderson, who has to deal with those problems.

So, i get why the Mets wanted to limit their years on Reyes. However, it is Jose Fucking Reyes - maybe the most exciting player i've ever had the privilege to watch play baseball. Reyes hitting a triple is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. If i live to one hundred, i may never see another player have as much fun on the field as Reyes does. He was not only one of my favorite Mets of all time, but one of my favorite players of all time (along with Ken Griffey Jr in his original Mariners years and Keith Hernandez pre-Indians).

If there was one player that i would be fine with eating 2 years or shit for, it is Reyes. And i think that is exactly what his six years are going to look like for Reyes - two years of dominance, two years of above-average production, and two years of a sad shell of his former self. 2014 is the year that a lot of Mets fans throw out as when the tide will turn in our favor, so when the Mets are hitting their stride, Reyes will be starting his decline. But instead of being able to pull for him in his declining years, i will now have to either root against him or, as the brilliant Patrick Flood put it, "wish Reyes well 144 times a season and nothing but bad hops the other 18." It used to be every day during the baseball season, i knew i'd be able to watch Reyes and, even when Mike Pelfrey was starting, that made the game worth watching.

And now, he will be wearing this every game:

Both the thought and the image make me want to puke.

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