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Monday, July 18, 2011

The New York Mets Are At A Fork In The Road...Which Direction Would You Take?

My definition of a DILEMMA is when you have two or more viable answers to a specific problem.  (No need to check Webster’s Dictionary – take my word for it!) It’s the perennial fork in the road situation…Go to your left, and you might make your trip shorter, but the “tolls” in the road are going to cost you.  Go to the right, and it might take you longer to get to your final destination, and you’re certain to hear plenty of complaints along the way, (Are We There Yet?)  but the road will be filled with breath taking views…which one do you take. 

The second half of the 2011 Major League Baseball season is underway, and the New York Mets brain trust, (GM Sandy Alderson, and The Ownership Group of Wilpon and Einhorn), are facing a dilemma.  A dilemma that could have an effect on the franchise for years to come…an intersection in the road and that annoying voice on their GPS has gone silent! 

The Mets playoff dreams are slowly fading away.  Okay, maybe not so slowly, with a .500 record, they trail the lone National League Wild Card spot by 8 games, and have to leapfrog four teams in front of them.  What’s facing the NY Mets is a decision that could change the face of the organization for years to come. 

Jose Reyes, their All Star Shortstop, is a free agent.  Trade him and you risk the chance of alienating your fan base.  A fan base that has been slowly dwindling over the past years.  Sign him to a lucrative long term contract and you’re way over budget. For the cash strapped team, right now, every dollar counts.  Such is the decision New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, and the Wilpon – Einhorn Group have to make regarding their shortstop.  And the future of the team hangs on this very decision. 

For a team looking for someone to hang their hat on, and the Mets are certainly in need of help, is Jose Reyes that guy?  Since the Omar Minaya days, the Mets have been looking for someone to lead this team…Johann Santana, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes…who is the true leader on and off the field of this organization?  It’s funny, but across town, in the Bronx, the Yankees situation is the complete opposite – the nucleus of the team has been with them since 1995, and when you ask the average fan who is the face of the Yankees, no doubt shortstop Derek Jeter’s name will pop up…Do the Mets look to duplicate what the Bronx Bombers have done?  Is Reyes the type of guy you want representing your team? 

Now the situation Met’s management is facing is not new to baseball franchises, or any sports franchise for that matter.  Every now or then, a team will say to their fans, “We’re trading our star player now, to build for the future!”  This has been affectionately known as “The Five Year Plan.”  Trade away a star player, a player that has been with the team since he was drafted as a teenager.  He came up through the farm system, Class A, Double AA, a few weeks in Triple AAA and then, rookie of the year, a couple of years representing the team at the Mid Summer Classic, and then, his contract is up, and it’s time  for him to move on.  So the team trades him to a contender for three or four young players who would, if all works out, help the team make the playoffs five years from the trade. 

The only problem with “The Five Year Plan” is this is New York – the Big Apple – home of the impatient fan, demanding media, and the 28 Championship Trophies in their office, New York Yankees – there is no such thing as The Five Year Plan!  Unless that plan includes four playoff appearances, three National League Crowns and two ticker tape parades.  Trading away your best player for three minor leaguers and a player to be named later will get you hung in effigy, and a whole bunch of season tickets on Stub Hub!  

You're driving down the road, and you come to a fork…to the left is fiscal sanity but you might want to run for cover…to the right, well, let's just say, your budget was just a number, but you’re going to make a lot of people happy (if only for a moment!)

What do you do?  

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