Did the New York Mets’ Jose Reyes Cost Himself Money In Free Agency?

It was only a matter of hours ago that I expressed my disappointment in the way the New York Mets’ Jose Reyes handled his lead in the NL batting title race.  I don’t like the fact that Jose Reyes, after dropping down a bunt hit in his first at-bat, took himself out of the game to preserve his batting average lead over the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun.  I’m not irate or disgusted over it, its just not the way I want the players on my teams to approach challenges.  It’s in the past though and the purpose of this post isn’t necessarily to dwell on this.  What I really want to do is discuss whether Jose Reyes lost himself money on the free agent market this winter with his self-removal.  It may seem a little bit far fetched to suggest that Jose Reyes is going to take a financial hit in the future because of a relatively minor act of…selfishness (that is a little harsher than I really wanted to go but I don’t have the precise word at the moment), but the more I think about it, the less I can put it past Major League GMs to hold this against Jose Reyes – even if its just a little bit.

I’m not in the heads of any general mangers so beyond some speculation or, at best, a semi-educated guess I don’t know what they’re thinking.  I do think it is safe to say that none of Reyes’ potential future bosses were thrilled to see him take the “easy route” to the NL Batting Title.  We’re heading into 2012 though and things that would really create some passionate fury 20-25 years ago only get 1:10 of chatter on Pardon the Interruption (1:30 if you really stirred some stuff up).  This doesn’t mean that the people making baseball decisions are too far removed from the “old days” to place significant stock in the “respect for the game” and other unwritten, intangible values.  The statistical “new age” has infected most of baseball but there is still old school blood pumping through the game.

This is where I think Reyes could face a little bit of a hurdle.  For all of the fancy stats and formulas that are utilized in decision making, GMs ultimately have to make player personnel decisions on a very simple basis: is this guy a winner?  I’m not arguing that Jose Reyes, himself, is or is not a winner, but taking yourself out of a game to preserve your lead in the batting title race is not the type of mentality that leads championship caliber clubs.  It’s passive and could be perceived as an expectation of losing – and perception is reality in many cases.  It would not surprise me if a handful of GMs saw what happened Wednesday afternoon and instantly decided that they wanted nothing to do with Reyes in free agency.  Maybe those few didn’t have a shot or genuine interest in signing Reyes for $120+ million in the first place.  Maybe they did.

Like I said, I know that it is a little far fetched to suggest that Jose Reyes will lose significant money ($5-10 million over the life of his contract) for removing himself from Wednesday afternoon’s season finale.  It’s just one of those gut feelings that I have though.  With all of the drama that unfolded between the two wild card races, the media pretty much just skirted over the Reyes self-removal.  However, there is no doubt that every general manager is aware of it.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall during contract negotiations and front office meetings because I am sure that this topic will come up in discussion more than a few times.

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  • JimG

    I have to admit one thing. You brought stupid to a whole new level! He won the batting title you buffoon! He increased his value if anything!

    • craigwilliams

      Did you even read the article? Can you even see the angle I’m viewing this through? Today’s game is not anything like it was back in the 40′s, but look at Ted Williams. He didn’t sit out the last two games in ’41 for the sake of preserving his .400 average. I know that’s incredibly old school, but baseball people still respect that mindset. Maybe I’m wrong and it will have zero impact on his next contract, but winning the batting title the way he did definitely didn’t earn him extra points.

      • Ultimate_Lou

        Hmmm, seems my reply didn’t make it earlier so I’ll try it again. Everyone is on the Ted W bandwagon suddenly. Mentioning his batting title over and over. And he is famous for his “last at-bat” being a HR. It was played off in the media as the cream to top off a great career. But everyone seems to have forgotten he sat out the final series at yankee stadium. Guess he was afraid after all that hype, he didn’t want to be remembered as having his last at-bat to be a ground-out to the pitcher, especially at that stadium. You get paid for this? Must be a charity case so I guess I’ll give you one last 25 cent bonus.

        • craigwilliams

          Appreciate it bro!

  • http://mets.com kinerskrnr

    Are you kidding me? What a dumb article.

    • craigwilliams

      Well, what’s your opinion? I’m not saying that he’s going to have to settle for $80 million over five or six years. I just think that some G.M.s could discount his value a bit for “mental makeup” reasons. Whether that happens or not, we won’t know. It sounds as if you see absolutely zero negative fall out lingering from this, am I correct?

  • ginNjews

    this is by far the most retarded article, I have EVER READ. You brought stupid to a whole new level.
    Guys bust his balls all season, comes back from yet another injury and still played amazing. THE METS WERE PLAYING FOR NOTHING when Reyes pulled himself out of the game and to him I say;KUDOS. He wins the batting title and the bigger part of the picture..DOESNT RISK GETTING INJURIED.
    He raised his stock by doing what he did this season and in my eyes, there was nothing wrong with what he did. He was protecting himself and saving himself for a fat contract with a WINNING TEAM

    • craigwilliams

      First of all, stop leaning on the caps lock. Second of all, in order to avoid sounding like Mike Ditka, take a deep breath so that you can fully formulate and articulate your response. Thanks.

      Now that we’ve got that covered…the fact that your team is playing for nothing is never a reason to pull yourself out of a game. If you’re healthy and in the lineup, you play. Period. Luckily, Reyes is not the type of guy that would refuse to play simply because his team sucks. And contrary to your suggestion, Reyes was not removing himself from the game to protect his health either. He did so to protect his batting average lead over Ryan Braun. You are right about one thing, when Reyes played he was a beast and he’s still going to get his monster contract. However, as ironic as it may sound, I think the contract that Reyes signed if he had lost the batting title would have been more lucrative than the one that he signs having won the batting title the way that he did.

  • Ultimate_Lou

    Not the first player to do that. Bernie Williams, Boggs and Brett did the same thing. Why this obsession over Reyes by all you wanna-be sports writers?

    • craigwilliams

      It’s a weak move no matter who did/does it. The reason why Reyes is getting all of this attention is because 1). this is the Mets page, 2). he’s one of the biggest sports stars in New York and 3). he’s the latest to pull himself out of a game to protect a batting average lead. Welcome to the sports world buddy.

      • Ultimate_Lou

        You wrote the following:”…but the more I think about it, the less I can put it past Major League GMs to hold this against Jose Reyes – even if its just a little bit.” NO GM is going to look at this last game and even consider it when offering him a contract. That’s why they are GM’s and you’re nothing but a sports blogger. The you wrote: “With all of the drama that unfolded between the two wild card races, the media pretty much just skirted over the Reyes self-removal.” Every sports hack has been writing about this, from the yankee lapdogs at ESPN to the half-wit bloggers like yourself, buddy.

        • craigwilliams

          So if being a “half-wit blogger” – as you so eloquently stated – means I get to make money writing about sports…I can think of worse things to be.

          I was definitely speculating and perhaps stretching with my suggestion that Jose Reyes could lose $5-10 million over the life of his contract. You’re right – the GMs get paid to actually make the decisions that I write about. But despite being “nothing but a sports blogger”, I’m comfortable concluding that your grasp of the situation – as a reader of a “wanna-be sports writer” – is no better than mine. Think about the investment that Reyes’ next team is going to make in years and dollars. You can be damn sure that they’re going to discuss every detail. Everything from his skills, production, injury history, mental makeup all the way down to the amount of fiber in his diet will be analyzed before a GM opens up his checkbook.

          Anyway, thanks for contributing to my next paycheck.

  • Matt

    Well maybe it won’t cost Reyes any money cause he still won the batting title, but i’m with you on that point Graig. It was a little selfish to do that. Sure, the team had no chance for the playoffs, but damn, don’t players play for the love of the sports? Isn’t Reyes an oft-injuried player who showed that he just wanted the batting title? MLB season is 162 games. Period. If you’re not injuried and the skipper want you in, you play!
    Reyes will be overpay, anyway

  • Matt

    Oh, and yeah, i just forgot:
    Batting titles and home run championships should be reserved for heroes, not cowards. Reyes actions were gutless. Why not give a chance to Braun (who, with Matt Kemp, deserves the MVP) to win the tilte?
    It’s insulting that on the 70 year anniversary of Ted Williams hitting .400, Reyes would pull himself on the last day. 70 years ago today Williams could have sat out the final game of the season and had his .39955 batting average round up to .400, but instead he famously kept himself in and improved his batting average to .406.

    • craigwilliams

      My feelings aren’t quite as strong as yours are, but I’m glad you brought up Ted Williams. I mentioned him in an earlier comment. Even though the game today is a lot different from what it was back in the 40′s, people still revere the way Williams approached those last two games of the season. Personally, I’m mostly just a little disappointed in the way Reyes went about winning the batting title. I want the players on my teams to approach every challenge aggressively and Reyes didn’t do that on Wednesday afternoon.

      • JimG

        First things first. Williams played because his average was undre 400 .FACT like 399.785 and he wanted the 400 which meant nothing but personal gratificationBTW. secondly You ignore that your own B williams did it?
        He was not the first and won’t be the last to do it! Third why is reyes held to a different standard? Because bashing the mets is sport and nothing more. I see you wear a yankee cap. I would love to see what you would have said if were aroid or jeter! Bet it would have been just fine then?

        • craigwilliams

          C’mon man. If someone ends the season with a .399785 average, it’s not going to be shown in the box score as .399. Let’s say that you’re right though and Ted Williams went into Game 142 with a .399 average. In Game 142, Williams went 4-for-5 to bring his average to .404. Williams could have sat game number 143, but he didn’t. I have a hard time believing that personal gratification was at the root of Williams’ mindset.

          As far as Bernie, I’m not ignoring the fact that he did the same thing, but back in 1998 I wasn’t even allowed on the internet, let alone concerned with what players did or didn’t do to lock down a batting title. Reyes is a star in New York City so he’s going to have a microscope on him at all times. That’s life. I definitely do wear a Yankees cap as well, but that doesn’t mean I give them free passes while I tee off on the Mets.