Jose Reyes

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Palladino: Wilpons Must Take Sentimentality Out Of Reyes Situation

Mets Can Always Honor Him After Release

Ernie Palladino
June 13, 2018 - 1:16 pm
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For at least a short time, Fred and Jeff Wilpon can stop their ridiculous and misguided hand-wringing over how best to say a fitting farewell to Jose Reyes.

They can thank Asdrubal Cabrera for that, since it is the second baseman’s left hamstring that tightened up in Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Yankees that has given Reyes a new lease on roster life.

The Mets need him now. But as soon as Cabrera returns, and barring a return to the 35-year-old Reyes’ old, slick-field, good-hit self in the interim, the Mets must rid themselves of a former star who simply can’t do it over the long run anymore.

But don’t expect that to happen easily or quickly. The Wilpons seem to have this emotional attachment to Reyes that simply doesn’t fit in with the business of the game. Never did.

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It didn’t fit when M. Donald Grant packed Hall of Famer Tom Seaver off to the Reds. All the sentimentality that drew came from the fans, which was only to be expected. To Grant, it was business. Bad business, it turned out, but business nonetheless.

As well as Reyes played in his younger days, he really deserves no better a sendoff than Seaver. A four-time All-Star shortstop, he led the NL with a .337 BA in 2011. He won himself a Silver Slugger Award in 2006 with a .300 batting average that included a league-high 17 triples.

He was exciting to watch.

But let’s remember, too, that it was Reyes who opted for free agency after his big year. He left for the Marlins to start a journey that led him to Toronto and then Colorado over the next five years before the Mets took him back on the Rockies’ $25 million dime.

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He wasn’t around for the World Series run in 2015 or the 2016 wild-card team.

Given that, it seems incongruous that ownership would have any more emotional attachment to Reyes that it would any other aging player who has lost a step defensively and several ticks off his bat speed. The .149 batting average in 74 at-bats this year tells all one needs to know about his contributions of 2018.

That’s not to say Reyes deserves a kick on the way out the door. The Wilpons might actually be doing him a favor by releasing him now, as Reyes believes he can continue his career elsewhere. If it doesn’t work out for him, the Mets could always bring him back after the season for a retirement press conference and bestow whatever honors they want upon him.

Put him in their franchise Hall of Fame. Few would argue with his worthiness. Build him a statue. Engrave his name alongside the other Mets greats like Keith Hernandez, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza, among others.

Whatever.

Just do it after he’s finished.

Thanks to an injury bug that keeps biting away at manager Mickey Callaway’s roster, Reyes isn’t quite done yet. He gets another chance to turn back the clock.

If time stands still for him, though, the Mets should release him immediately.

And if the Wilpons are so concerned about Reyes’ feelings, they need only tell him: “Nothing personal, Jose. Just business.”

Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino