By Lloyd Carroll
The dreadful 2017 season mercifully ends for the Mets this Sunday in Philadelphia and it’s a safe bet to say that a major revamping of the roster will be in order. Some players will be traded; some will not be tendered contracts; and finally, some will leave as free agents.
Popular Mets infielder Jose Reyes will be a free agent after Sunday’s game but he has repeatedly stated that he would like to finish his career in Flushing. Given his horrible first two months of the season where he struggled to hit. 100, it didn’t appear that the 34-year-old Reyes would be a Met by the All-Star Game let alone in 2018.
It has never been Jose’s style to feel sorry for himself and he eventually busted out of his slump; in fact, he was one of the Mets’ most reliable hitters in the second half of the season.
Even though he turned 34 in June he was one of the few Mets to avoid serious injury during the season.
It would be foolish for the Mets not to re-sign the versatile Reyes. He has proven that he can play second and third base besides his accustomed shortstop. He has even played the outfield.
Even more importantly, Reyes is a leader in the clubhouse. He has taken pride serving as a mentor to Amed Rosario, the Mets’ shortstop of the future. It’s very easy for players to hide from the media before a game yet Reyes is always at his locker and available to talk to journalists in both English and Spanish. Leadership is crucial in a clubhouse in a sport whose season is quite long. With veterans, Neil Walker, Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson having been dispatched elsewhere by general manager Sandy Alderson in low-return trades, let’s just say leadership is not currently bountiful in the Citi Field home clubhouse.
Sandy Alderson generally holds a press briefing the first game of a homestand and this past Friday, which marked the start of the Mets’ last seven games at Citi Field for the season, was no exception.
I asked Alderson if it’s fair to evaluate the Mets’ field manager and coaches given the inordinate number of man-games lost because of injuries to many of the team’s best players. “I never use injuries as an excuse. We need to address why those injuries occurred as well as other reasons for our disappointing season.”
He said that the fate of manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff would be revealed right after the end of the season but it was clear that he wasn’t offering anything resembling a vote of confidence.
Alderson added that other personnel changes would be announced as the off-season progresses. I would take that to mean that he is looking to replace the team’s trainers and strength coaches.
Count former Mets first baseman and current SNY team broadcaster Keith Hernandez as an advocate for having all Major League Baseball teams revive Old-Timers’ Day. Only the Yankees have an annual ceremony to honor their alumni.
“I can’t understand why teams don’t honor their history,” he told me and then added that it’s a great way to unify different generations of fans.
Our conversation grew out of a discussion that we were having about how he, and his Mets broadcast partners Ron Darling and Gary Cohen love to show off baseball card collections from yesteryear when the Mets are getting badly thumped in a recent game against the Phillies. “We’ve done three in-game baseball card segments this year. The viewers seem to really enjoy it,” said Keith.