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Muscle Sport Magazine

Wilpon Correct in Low Assessment of Mets’ Reyes, Beltran and Wright

They may be known as the core of the New York Mets, but even Fred Wilpon knows that this trio is not ready for prime time. The chairman and chief executive is the man that holds the bottom line in the organization and finally publicly admitted what MuscleSport Magazine has been saying for years.

Neither Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran or David Wright are what some thought – and hoped – they would be.

According to a report by Jeffrey Toobin on The New Yorker.com, Wilpon was open with comments about his ‘big three, and its hard to find fault in any of his assessment. When speaking about Reyes, Wilpon said to Toobin,” He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money (seven years, $142 million). He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”

Let’s take a look at that a little closer. In nine major league season, Reyes has a career average of .287, 13 home runs, 66 RBI, 197 hits, 58 stolen bases, 51 walks, 81 strike outs, 34 doubles, 15 triples and an OBP of .336. On the other hand, Crawford has played 10 seasons and averages .293, 13 home runs, 77 RBI, 192 hits, 53 steals, 38 walks, 102 strike outs, 28 doubles, 13 triples with a .334 OBP. Both are above-average fielders at the respective positions.

Crawford and Reyes have very similar numbers and just because the Boston Red Sox made the mistake of overpaying one of them doesn’t mean that the Mets – or another team – should do the same. Both are table setters that strike out too much and do not walk enough and Reyes (who will turn 28 on June 11) will always have the injury factor having over his head.

Wilpon wasn’t far off when he made his remark about his shortstop’s battle with staying off the Disabled List. Since making his big league debut on June 10, 2003, he has suffered a sprained ankle (2003), strained hamstring (2004), back problems (2004), calf (2009), hamstring (2009) and even a hyperactive thyroid gland (2010).

If we can take one sure thing out of Wilpon’s words is that Reyes is finishing up his tenure as a Met in 2011. He should be traded by the deadline on July 31 so that the team can pick up a few good prospects in return before the three-time All-Star walks as a free agent. The Mets do not have the capital after the Madoff scandal to pay Reyes anything close to the money he will be seeking.

When you think of a superstar or the main cog on a team, names like Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez roll off the tongue. David Wright? He may not even be the best player on his team, which is sub-par to mediocre at their best. Certainly no slouch, the third baseman has been named to the All-Star team the last five years, and has also won two Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards each.

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But if you see him play every day, its apparent that Wright more or less fits Wilpon’s summation of him being a “very good player” but “not a superstar.” He’ll get a big hit one day and then go into a long slump the next. A rocket hit to the hot corner is played flawlessly, only to be followed up a game or so later with a butchering on another. That’s what you get with Wright – a little of the good and a little of the bad. Superstars also become team leaders and Wright has had numerous chances to step up and the that guy in the dugout and clubhouse. He either has chosen not to do it or simply does not have the right personality to be the general in front of his soldiers.

When Carlos Beltran hit the open market following a huge playoff performance for the 2004 Houston Astros, he did everything that he could to end up in New York. Even after he was offered a better contract, his agent made an 11th hour telephone call to see if the general manager would reconsider bringing the hottest free agent into their fold. But it wasn’t meant to be.

That’s because Beltran’s first choice was to become a member of the Yankees and he ‘settled’ for more money from Omar Minaya to come to Queens instead of the Bronx. The former Mets GM fell in love with Beltran and showered him with $119 million over seven years to get over his jilting by the Bombers. Minaya was able to convince Wilpon to open the coffers for Beltran, even though he had previously toiled in obscurity playing for the hapless Kansas City Royals his entire career sans one half season.

“We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series,” Wilpon told Toobin. “He’s 65 to 70 percent of what he was,” Wilpon continued, referring to the added years and nagging knee injuries that Beltran has to currently deal with.

The Mets’ recent surge is hopefully not giving current general manager Sandy Alderson a false sense of security. This team is not a contender for the wild card and are years away from even thinking about the division, so he should look to move two or all three players. Beltran is also in his walk year.

Reyes and Beltran will surely be on the market and Alderson will have to be blown away to even listen to offers for Wright. At 28 and under contract, he can be an important part of the Mets if they can bring in a big name to take the spotlight.

But it is refreshing to hear that Wilpon is not looking through rose-colored glasses and realizes that there are players on this team that have lost the ‘untouchable’ tag.

Photo by John Scollo

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Wilpon Correct in Low Assessment of Mets’ Reyes, Beltran and Wright | NY Sportscene Magazine

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