Mike Friere - Is Jose "That" Guy?

Pic by Mack Ade  

Well, this article is a difficult one to compose, since the subject of this piece is one of the better success stories of a franchise that hasn't exactly produced a lot of quality offensive players. 

Before I get started, do any of you know someone who "lives in the past"?  It may be the older guy on your softball team who thinks he is still 21 years old and then gets upset when his current skill set is not capable of producing the way "it used to".  Or, perhaps it is a golfing buddy who cannot come to grips with the fact that he or she isn't "the next Tiger Woods" anymore (heck, that may actually apply to the current Tiger Woods).

On a professional level, have you ever watched a world class athlete "get old" right before your very eyes?  Muhammad Ali,  especially late in his career immediately comes to mind. Or for you MMA fans, watching Chuck Liddell in his last few fights before he called it quits. There is a general sentiment that it is better to retire a bit too soon, then to wait until you get exposed.  In that vein, Barry Sanders is an excellent example of a player who left the game with dignity and respect before his skills began to decline and he became merely "average".

(I keep hoping that Tom Brady gets this message and finally moves on, but he is determined to keep going, dammit)

OK, so what does this lengthy introduction have to do with the Mets, you may be wondering?  As sad as it is to say, I think that Jose Reyes may be THAT guy.

As a quick reminder, Jose has been a wonderful player for the majority of his career.  He was an above average defensive player at a difficult position, that also slotted into any lineup as a prototypical lead off hitter.  His presence in the lineup was "killing two tough birds with one stone", do to speak.  That doesn't even cover his unbridled enthusiasm and outward joy that he felt playing baseball on the professional level.

If you look at his statistics and you use 600 at bats as a full season, JR has produced roughly 12.25 seasons worth of playing time within his 15 year career, so he has also been pretty durable for a player who sacrificed his body both on the field and on the base paths.  

So, what does an average JR season look like (using our 12.25 seasons as the divisor);

.285/.336/.429 (.765 OPS)

11.51 HR - 57.39 RBI - 41.79 SB - 93.88 RS

2.9 WAR and .073 dWAR

That is pretty impressive for anyone, let alone a seasonal average for over a decade, mostly in a hostile media market.  How many of you would take that type of season from our newest phenom Amed Rosario?  I would take that type of production every day and twice on Sunday.

Unfortunately, "that" JR has left the building and watching him on the field now (when he gets on the field), quite frankly is sad.

His 2018 season to date begins and ends with the following line......0 for 18!

In a purely analytical sense, it is more then fair to wonder if JR is "done".  Is he the guy that has stayed too long and doesn't know when to call it a day?  Would the Mets be better off parting ways with him and offering the extremely valuable bench spot to another player who will be more productive and whose career is just beginning like Philip Evans or Gavin Cecchini?

Before we feel too sorry for JR, he has six million dollars owed to him for the 2018 season and he can add that "small" amount to the 143 million dollars that he has earned during his MLB career (he should be OK).  Plus, the Mets could keep him around the organization as an ambassador or even an advisor, which would allow him to contribute to the team in other ways without holding the team and the aforementioned prospects back any longer.

Not that he consults with me, but if Sandy was wondering, I think it is time to thank JR for his service and move on.



Mack Ade said...

I'm a purist.

We have a 25 man squad.

Two members are holding back this team.

Reyes and Harvey.

Reese Kaplan said...

Reyes probably gets until T.J. Rivera is back with Cabrera and Flores as the emergency shortstops if Rosario needs a day off.

Harvey is tougher. Wheeler didn't do himself any favor by being merely average in his last start. Had he dominated, then the Vargas return might have spelled the end for Harvey. Instead Gerson Bautista will get the axe. Then when Swarzak returns it's the next opportunity to cut him but likely it will be Wheeler (who has options) or Gsellman or Lugo who get canned.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, all I will say is Wheeler was pitching in terrible weather, so if he did not pitch great, that certainly could have been a factor.

Mike, Reyes is making just $2MM this year, per Baseball Reference records, so cutting bait would not be a big hit.

Right now, Evans, Guillorme and Cecchini have not set the world on fire in the minors, so Reyes may continue to get a pass for a little longer.

Harvey? At most, one more start - if he fails, cut him. Then Vargas should be ready. He is 5-9, 6.55, 25 homers in 124 innings in 2017 and 2018. Anyone else would be cut.

Reese Kaplan said...

He's becoming the pitching equivalent of Michael Cuddyer.

Met monkey said...

When he was top banana he went to Bronx with boras. Now, that he's slipped on the proverbial peel, he can not stand in the way of other aspiring pitching assets.

Mack's Mets © 2012