Monday, December 5, 2011

Jose, Jose....

It’s a sad day to be a Mets fan. I know this, because I’ve been a fan since the early 80’s. We’ve been through a lot, but we’ll never be confused with Cub fans. We have a couple of titles and we’re a young franchise (relatively speaking) but we’ve also had our share of gaffes.  Last night my favorite Met, since Dwight Gooden, signed with the Florida Marlins. Jose Reyes, you will be missed. Not just for how you sped around the bases and slid into third for yet another triple (the most exciting play in baseball, outside of an inside the park home run) but also for how you always had a smile on your face. It’s rare to see someone enjoy himself in sports, as much as you see it on Jose’s face.
That being said, sigh, letting him go was the right thing to do. I’ve done my research over the years and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a mistake to give any player a deal over five years in length. Unless he’s giving you a huge discount, like 20% off.  An unpopular opinion, since teams often hand out six and seven year deals to the elite and not so elite (Jasyon Werth) players on a regular basis.  But almost all of those signings have proven to be too long.
I’m willing to give a pass on resigning a franchise own player to a long term deal, provided the player hasn’t yet reached free agency. Even then, it’s a tough sell. It worked with when the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a 10 year, $190 million deal. But the Twins could be ruined over the 8 year, $184 million contract they gave Joe Mauer.
Consider these deals:
·         2005, the Mets signed Carlos Beltran to a 7 year, $119 million contract.
·         2005, the Tigers signed Magglio Ordonez to a 7 year, $115 million contract.
·         2006, the Red Sox signed JD Drew to a 5 year, $60 million contract.
·         2006, the Giants signed Barry Zito a 7 year, $126 million contract.
All four players struggled immensely, and did so early on in their deals.  Zito hasn’t had a winning season, a season with an era under 4.00, nor pitched 200 innings in a single season.  The Giants still owe him at least $56 million.
Still don’t believe me? Look up the contracts and production from the following: Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Jason Giambi, Ken Griffey Jr, and Carlos Lee. Consider the fact that the Texas Rangers signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10 year, $252 million contract in 2001. They had to trade him, and eat a good portion of his contract to do so. He opted out of his deal after the 2007 season and the Yankees resigned him to another 10 years at $275 million. He hasn’t played a full season yet, and they have six more years to go.  
It will be hard to see Reyes in another uniform. And for the next few years, I expect he will still be a fantastic player. I also expect him to get injured and that halfway through the contract, the Marlins will look foolish, even if they’ve won a World Series title in that span.

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