What is up with Jose Reyes? That is the question.
Most of the time, not having Jose batting lead-off in any game is a recipe for disaster. Or more apt the Mets' running game is completely thrown off and well, you know how the saying goes - as Jose goes, so do the Mets. And there is usually a correlation. Not sure if anyone has taken the time to map it but when he's having a good run the team usually follows him. But oy - he can make the team like the girl with the little curl when he is off his game.
So when he was benched last night, all the speculators came out to roost. Was he "benched" in the biblical sense of the word (meaning: Manuel has an axe to grind) or is his calf really bothering him (as he said that he could have played last night - but we all know how he is)? Either way, a message might have been sent intentional or not: That the Mets could win a game with speed and small ball, with or without Jose Reyes.
That was a topic over at Metsblog today about this theory and in John Harper's column in the Daily News. Basically, Harper suggests the Mets are at a crossroads with Reyes. While I believe the title is a bit hyperbolic journalism to sell newspapers, I have to wonder...if like AIG, Goldman Sachs and Citi and their excuses for getting government dollars...
Is Jose Reyes too big to fail?
While I am loath to trading an incredibly gifted baseball player in the prime of his career (and let's face it, he aint going ANYWHERE under Minaya's watch, it makes me wonder how they have to handle a simple benching of a player so delicately, if in fact that is the case.
It's one thing if he was truly hurt and Manuel did not want to deplete his resources any further what with Carlos Delgado and JJ Putz on the fritz now. I hate to say it but Delgado is sort of replaceable and Putz is well...he is sort of reminding us that somehow the ghosts of Aaron Heilman always return. Reyes is Reyes - he may not always be a sparkplug, but he is catalyst.
But in the Harper column, former teammate Jose Valentin said that Reyes is a non-negotiable. We can't have him NOT batting lead off or batting clean-up because we want to use his speed to our advantage. On the flip side, if he is making bone-headed running moves regardless, does it matter where he bats? Not to mention, as buddy Seat5 likes to say, we have our own version of Wesley Snipes on this team - and his name is Jose "Mays" Reyes.
But this article kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed like once again the Mets are using a local reporter as their own mouthpiece to push an agenda. Like back in the day, when a dude named Dick Young wrote a scathing article to chase our ace Tom Seaver, I wonder how much of this is to light a fire under Reyes' ass or better yet start a controversy out of a simple lesson in humility.
On the flip side, I wonder how much of this is because Reyes is too big to fail. David Wright and he (along with Johan Santana to a certain extent) are the faces of the franchise. To give up on him this season or next (keep in mind, he has a contract year coming up, since he re-upped in 2006) kind of suggests failure. We put a lot of hope into these two and if he were to thrive elsewhere it would raise a raucous like none other. We can lose Delgado and I believe that the team is strong enough to win with or without him (It is much easier to win WITH him in the line up though). We need Jose to be Jose. That sparkplug to be the team leader - not so much a spoken leader but a lead-by-example.
That's why I think he is too big to fail. If this Jose experiment were to fail, it would resonate throughout the whole team for years to come.
In any case, it is a must-read.
And on the flip side, if it were to show motivation that the team can do fine without him, maybe he will come out and be like those kids on Ritalin in the South Park episode.
SHUT UP AND STUDY!!!