Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wright And Reyes: Behind The Blow

Well, another red letter season has come do an end (and that red letter is F ... I'll let you figure out what that stands for.) And believe it or not, I still have s**t to say. The following is one in a series of random stuff I'm throwing against the wall about person or persons of my choosing. These are your New York Mets: Behind the Blow.

It seems that a rite of passage on this blog is my words being misconstrued. After Collapse II, I wrote the following:
"And I'm to the point now ... at this very moment ... if anybody besides Johan Santana were to leave this team, I'd shrug my shoulders in an act of indifference. That includes the Carloses, that includes Jose Reyes, that includes the very handsome David Wright, that includes everyone."
I was subsequently told to shut up and stop feeling sorry for myself because I should feel lucky that we have David Wright and Jose Reyes on the team. Yeah, because at three in the morning after the last game at Shea Stadium in which the Mets choked another way another playoff berth, lucky was the first emotion to come to my mind.

Besides, feeling sorry for myself is the right and privilege of every American ... and I will fight for it.

No, nowhere did I say: "Let's go out and trade David Wright and Jose Reyes." No. I was merely making the point that on this team, right now, there's Johan Santana ... and there's everybody else. And if the fact that Johan pitched the best and most important game of his Met career with torn cartilage in his plant leg doesn't illustrate that, I don't know what does.

Reyes and Wright are the faces of this franchise ... in many ways they have been since they came up in 2003 and 2004. They have a chance to have careers that cement them as born and bred Mets ... the kind of Mets that generally don't just have some good years here as they're passing by, but the kind of Mets that have their best years, and spend most of their years, as Mets. They're core players that you just don't give away like babies that are in stale bathwater.

Look, Wright's transgressions in the clutch this season aren't from lack of effort or preparation, neither is it from a lack of pride in his work or caring about his craft and his organization. It's painfully obvious that his transgressions are from pressing and from trying too hard. And Reyes, also has weaknesses that have nothing to do with lack of preparation or caring. But the pockets of pickoffs that he's gone through exhibit somewhat of a lack of concentration during stretches.

But clearly, and as illustrated by people like hate list inductee Mike Francesa ... misguided as he may be on this ... the honeymoon is over for Wright and Reyes. They've been known as the future for so long they've gotten numerous passes from all of us. But the grace period ended as the era at Shea Stadium ended ... especially for Wright. And it's not fair. Reyes hasn't been quite as Teflon as Wright when it comes to criticism at home (he's gotten plenty of it from elsewhere from his dancing), but both have had their ascension to the forefront of the ballclub unchallenged for the most part. But now that they're there, it's time for the duo to shed their remaining weak points and take this game by the neck and shake the success out of it.

Criticisms of the two are nitpicky. But great players shed those criticisms nonetheless. It's time for Wright and Reyes to take the next step in their baseball lives.

20 comments:

Rickey Henderson said...

Look, even though their lack of hitting cost us the weekend, Wright and Reyes didn't lose the season for us. That was the bullpen.

Deb said...

I said as much about Wright and Reyes on my blog the other day, Metstra. I called upon them to do Eli Mannings, and step up and take the bull by the horns. :)

Anonymous said...

david wright has to stop trying to pull the ball every single at bat. his risp was unacceptable this year, and i agree he has gotten too long a pass.

Anonymous said...

There you go ignoring the truth, to explain away why you wouldn't mind losing Wright and Reyes. First off, to replace their level of production would require an insane amount of cash. basically, add Johan Santana's salary on top of what we're currently paying them. Second, don't get pissy because Wright or Reyes weren't "clutch" this year. There is not such thing as clutch. If you'll believe it, a hit in April is just as valuable as a hit in September (the same is NOT true for October). And if you think thats bull, then Wright had an 11-di-billion OPS last year in September. He isn't "unclutch" but these things tend to average out in the long run. Cite all the stats you want about bases loaded, but it all comes down to the bullpen. The offense was freaking awesome (registered trademark), Johan-Pelfrey-GoodOllie were downright scary when on. Bullpen Bullpen Bullpen.

Doug Sisk said...

Good Post. I still beleive though, that if Wright continues along this way, that next year he hits
.160 in september and we fail yet again, the solution is not to trade him. The solution is to move him to a spot where he doesnt have that pressure on him, for Omar to get a guy who WILL hit in clutch situations. As for Reyes, I think he's fine, the lapses have been getting fewer and the only thing that pisses everyone off is the dances. I for one don't care about that, but opposing teams seem to. It's funny because in 86 we pissed people off, and if they said anything we kicked the shit out of them.

I think in a few years we'll see Murphy in that 3 hole.

Unser said...

I agree with much of what you say. I was at the infamous Cubs game, screaming at Wright for not even making contact with the winning run on 3rd and no one out in the ninth. I muttered all the way home about how much Wright choked. You can point to that game as the biggest reason we're home right now.

But . . .

To give up on two 25 year old stars, both of whom have established themselves as great players, after failing in two Septembers is not fair in my judgment. If that were the case, the Phillies would have gave up on Rollins, Utley and Burrell. I know patience is not in the NY sports fan's dictionary, but trading either Reyes or Wright now would be nothing short of a Mets' tragedy.

It is time for them (and others) to step up and show some leadership, but let's give these young guys a fair shake before labeling them non-clutch.

weesle909 said...

Just saw a headline on CNN that said, "Mets pitcher sought after fatal hit-and-run".

I'm thinking, "Holy shit. Now what."

Turns out it's Ambiorix Burgos, who I forgot even was a Mets pitcher.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/
2008/baseball/mlb/10/01
/mets.burgos.accident.ap/index.html?cnn=yes

For a minute I thought they were talking about Heilman's pitching this year...

Mets Tailgate said...

Metstra,

No one seems to realize that the Mets were #2 in the NL in runs scored. The Mets offense did their job this year. If the bullpen was halfway decent they'd have been 6 games up going into the final weekend. What more can you ask out of the offense over the long haul? 1st in runs scored?

If I hear one more "trade wright and reyes" I'm going to puke.

schneck said...

I think that what we have learned is that Wright and Reyes, great players that they are, are not great leaders. Chances are that that will not change. The answer is definitely not to trade them but to bring in someone that can be that spark plug and help drive the team. They will rise to the occasion. Would we all prefer that one or both of them step up and take the reins? Of course but it is not going to happen. You accept that reality and work with it. I like the Eli Manning analogy but unfortunately I don't think that either or both of them will ever step up the way he did and lead the drive. I think if someone else comes in and does it, they'll be right behind him adding value.

Mets Tailgate said...

schneck you are simply brilliant!

I hope you realize what a different game football is to baseball. You're totally right! - Eli Manning made the Giants D play phenomenal against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Just like Reyes and Wright's "failure to be leaders" made the bullpen suck.

It's leadership! That's the problem!!! The case cracker!!

schneck said...

Tail,

I was commenting on a post about Wright and Reyes, not a post about the bullpen. That is why I focused on the two of them. I didn't mean to imply any relationship between them and the bullpen or a lack thereof. If they were great leaders the bullpen would have obviously still sucked as you pointed out. I didn't think that anyone was questioning that. It had nothing to do with Metstra's post. We are all in a lot of pain, though, and if you need to vent here in the comment section, vent away.

James Allen said...

Wright and Reyes do not deserve a pass, no one (except Santana) on this team does. Yes, I know the bullpen sucks, I'd like to thank everyone who pointed that out for being so perceptive. But with 7 games to go they went 3-4. 2 of those wins are on Santana, so without him, the rest of the team was 1-4. And all those games weren't on the pen. Actually, only one of them was, and that was Sunday, but the offense also couldn't get it done. Trying too damn hard is a sign of immaturity.

No, I'm not for trading them, not at all, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't listen.

Coop said...

I read this on another site which put things into perspective. Next year at Opening Day Wright will be 26, Reyes 25 going on 26 in a few months after. This year - Utley - 29. Rollins - 32. Howard - 30. I think it was also something like, Braun on the Brewers also made his rookie year when he was 26. These kids (and they are kids) have been the hope of a small nation called Metsopotamia for five years - five years! Meaning they were barely 20 when hitting the big club. My point is they are not good leaders...yet. They will be. Once Loaf Delgado (I still hate him) leaves these two are going to have to step up b/c we all know Beltran won't.

Dan Firrincili said...

Wright and Reyes were hardly the problem this season. They are both outstanding young players, who are correctly thought of as franchise cornerstones. I look forward to them being back next season, anchoring the left side of our infield.

The bullpen cost us a shot at October -- not our offense, which I believe was second in the NL in runs scored. That said, in the final weekend of the season, against a team that had nothing to play for except for ruining your and my winter, a team that brazenly foretold the Mets' demise, our team scored five runs in three games. Maybe they had a bad weekend. But maybe that five run output reveals something troubling about this team, something that as fervent Mets fans we all seem loath to admit: this team isn't clutch and, furthermore, this team has forgotten, ironically, how to "take care of business," especially when it matters most.

The team is missing something other than a solid bullpen. I think it's missing a run producer who has winning pedigree. To blatantly dismiss as unmetriotic (a weak attempt at a play on patriotic) the idea of trading David Wright or Jose Reyes to get a player who might fill some of what’s missing – well that’s just absurd.

Nevertheless, I am very aware of the fact that winning a championship with Wright and Reyes would be infinitely more enjoyable than winning one without them.

kennyd said...

While it is true that the Mets were 2nd in the league in runs scored, their lack of production in clutch situations and in big games is more indicative of a poor approach. It is at these times when Wright, Reyes, etc. must adjust to putting the ball in play, going to the opposite field. Instead, we see them constantly trying to pull the ball, going for the fences.

This lack of hitting acumen also manifests itself when facing soft tossers and pitchers with which they are unfamiliar (i.e. rookies.)

while I love Hojo and his connection to the powerful teams of the '80's, we sure could use ahitting instructor like Rudy Jaramillo in Texas. I know this sounds like a cop-out but maybe after getting a new voice at manager and pitching coach it's time for a new voice as batting coach.

Mets Tailgate said...

kennyd,

Are you suggesting then that Wright changed his approach from say 2007, when he hit .310 with RISP? Or in 2006 when he hit .365(!) with RISP?

Or that for his career he's hit .300 with RISP, and that maybe 2008 was just an abberation, and it will even out in the long run?

Seriously people, he struggled this year, but in the long run HE WILL BE FINE! These numbers even out in the long run.

Chris in Japan said...

Of course, the bullpen is our most glaring need right now, but I have to agree that the Mets should look into bringing a new hitting coach on board. Don't know what was going on with Wright during the last weeks of the season. He had good days and awful ones, but in my humble estimation Jose is the guy who really needs to change his approach at the plate. Sure he put up some fine number this season, but the guy NEVER goes the other way. Ever! If he was a smarter hitter, he could hit .330 instead of .300.

Would be interesting if the Mets could somehow get Ichiro. Having him around would be like having a second hitting coach and sometimes guys learn better by example.

Add Ichiro, move Church over to LF, and sign Hudson to play 2B and we're set with our position players. Less pressure on Wright and Reyes to be heroes all the time.

kennyd said...

Tail,

Was not looking to single out Wright but was talking about team approach.

However, if you want to focus on Wright then yes, his aproach was much different from the past few years. His swing got long and loopy. He went from being a hitter that drove the ball the opposite way and used all fields. And, he became primarily alow ball hitter with a severe uppercut.

It's true that he drove in 124 runs but he easily could have had more than 150 and led the league.

Don't get me wrong. I have been a fan since the Polo Grounds in 1962 and David Wright is by far the best postion player our team has ever produced (all respects to Strawberry.)

Nonetheless, I have complete faith that David will re-evaluate his game this off-season and come back to lead this team to the promised land.

Windmill Willie said...

Metstra

Responding to your Yogi paricipating in the Mets ceremony makes me sick comment......I knew that would get a rise out of you. No one really has ownership of a player as many coach for play for many different teams during their career. Look at Straw, Gooden, Cone, and Leiter as they shuttle back and forth between Old Timers Games and so on. I remember the uproar on this site when Mookie sat in the stands during the 2006 NLCS wearing his own son's Cardinals hat how people who write here were outraged. Its basically the same thing. Does a fanbase allegiance take precedence over someone hoping and rooting for his own son? Come on?! People can do what they want so just live with it. Your view doesn't have to be their view.

My thought with Yogi is that he is the greatest living Yankee with only a small fraction of his career with the Mets....I would think his allegiance would be so strong after 10 rings with the team....he would pass up wearing any other uniform. To me, that makes perfect sense. But I'm not going to condemn him for his decision as it is a free country. However, to be associated with that team and such a miserable day is such a come down.

You still should have gone to the Jets game.

Metstradamus said...

I wasn't outraged at Mookie wearing a Cardinal hat. Was it salt in the wound? Absolutely. Outraged? I don't blame him for wearing it. I just didn't want to see it.

And Yogi's allegiance being so strong to the Yankees that he would say no to any other team? You forget those twenty years he stayed away from the "hallowed ground of Yankee Stadium" because the owner is a lunatic so his allegiance isn't "that" strong. And to turn your logic around, Yogi can do what he wants, so just live with it.

And if I went to the Jets game they would have lost so I did the two of us (and Brett Favre) a huge favor ... the way I see it.