It seems to be getting late early for the New York Mets, as the team lost six of its last seven games. Sure, it’s only May, but with so many holes on this club, you have to wonder if they will ever contend.
So tough decisions may have to be made over the next few months. It starts at the top with manager Jerry Manuel and his future and goes up and down the roster.
Even if the Mets decide to keep Manuel for the rest of the season, he probably won’t be back in 2011, since his contact is up and the dwindling disenfranchised fan base will demand some form of change.
General manager Omar Minaya will be a tougher call for owner Jeff Wilpon, because Minaya is owned another two years on the extension he signed after the 2008 season and Wilpon desists paying former employees not to work for the club.
Yet, change needs to be made somewhere on this club and it should start this trading deadline with the Mets trying to move Jose Reyes.
The team’s longtime shortstop doesn’t look like the same player that terrorized the National League during the middle of the last decade. The hamstring and knee injuries sustained last season seemed to slow down the erstwhile stolen base king and his bat speed right now isn’t up to par.
Reyes is currently hitting .221 with 10 RBI and a .272 on base percentage. Those are terrible stats for a leadoff batter and even worse for a No. 3 hitter. The Mets hope it will be a matter of time until Reyes heats up, and if he does they should try to move him, especially if the team can get back some big league ready pitching.
The shortstop currently makes $9million this season and has a club option for 2011 for $11million. By moving Reyes, the club will free up funds to go after a front line starter like Cliff Lee in the off-season, or even make a play for say Derek Jeter, which is pretty much a long-shot, but a bid to No. 2 will force the Yankees to pay over slot to retain their captain (they also have to re-sign Mariano Rivera), which may keep them away from other free agents on the market.
By moving Reyes, it will allow the Mets to see if Ruben Tejada is ready to hit major league pitching. The shortstop, who was up for the first week of the season, is hitting .295 down in Triple-A Buffalo after having an impressive spring training.
If Tejada is ready the Mets will be able to able to make a decision on the future of Wilmer Flores, another shortstop prospect down in Single-A on whether he will have to learn another position.
And if Tejada isn’t the answer, the Mets can sign themselves a cheaper stop-gap at short until Flores is ready.
This, obviously, is a good problem to have and if 2010 is a wash then the Mets should use the second half of the season to evaluate its young talent. In case you haven’t noticed, already there’s a youth movement going on at Citi Field with rookies like Ike Davis playing first every day, Jon Niese as the team’s No. 3 starter, and Jenrry Mejia looking good in the bullpen.
And the movement should continue in 2010 with Tejada at short for the second half of the season, and Josh Thole behind the plate.
But first things first, the Mets will need to move Reyes before the deadline by putting him on the market this summer.