I just don’t understand all the sudden hysteria over Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins. Sobbing and moaning from fans, dire warnings and red flags from the media. All justified — but five months too late. Back in June, when Reyes was running wild through the National League and establishing himself as a top-tier free-agent-to-be, Off the Foul Pole practically pleaded with the Mets to trade the mercurial shortstop because there was no way they would be able to sign him. Not a chance.
So here we are today, with Reyes heading to South Beach and Ruben Tejada heading to shortstop. Sure, it pains me that the Marlins are throwing bags of cash around while the empty pocket Mets are going into full small market mode. Next thing you know, David Wright gets traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later.
Sure, life will be dull without Jose and his temperamental hammies. But why act surprised, shocked, stunned, spurned, hopeless, like some many Mets fans have in recent days? You know you saw this coming, you were just in denial. “Don’t trade Reyes!” you all shouted. Well, they didn’t. And now your left with nothing but a broken heart. You knew the Mets could not possibly commit $100 million to Reyes when they may still have to pay that much or more to settle the Madoff trustee’s suit. Okay, so you figured it might be the Phillies or Giants or some other well healed team that would leave the Mets in the dust. But the Marlins? How could that be? Well, to start, Jeffrey Loria was not best buddies with Bernie Madoff. That helps.
Just how cash strapped are the Mets? Not only did Sandy Alderson fail to make even a slight push to keep the reigning NL batting champion, but he cannot even compete for the likes of Chris Capuano or Jonathan Broxton. Nor does he want to. The big addition to Flushing thus far has been Adam Loewen. Exactly. Who the heck is Adam Loewen? And with the team in dire need of a closer, not to mention a set up man and a long reliever (do NOT tell me that D.J. Carrasco is the answer), they seem to be setting their sights, at best, on retreads like Brad Lidge, Frank Francisco, and Jon Rausch. Ugh.
I hope you get the picture by now. It’s bleak. And will get even bleaker if the Mets flounder and fail to draw 2 million fans next season. Alderson was retained to build a strong farm system and secure very efficient and economical major league talent. Moneyball Lite, if you will. He was not hired to write big checks. That was Omar Minaya’s job. Didn’t work out so well. So let’s hope Alderson succeeds in the next few years. Perhaps the compensatory draft picks he’ll receive for losing Reyes will blossom into stars one day.
This whole thing will take time and patience. And sacrifice. And a swallowing of pride. And an iron constitution. And blind faith. And hope. And prayer. Nothing any true Mets fan does not have in steady supply. Except maybe the patience thing. That’s wearing thin.
And it would also help to have a healthy appetite for Shackburgers. Because for the next few years, that’s the only thing that may leave a good taste in your mouth at Citi Field.