For seven seasons, in the midst of all the ups and (more so) downs, the New York Mets have had one constant: the left side of their infield has been comprised of two talented homegrown players. Yet next season -- due to financial limitations and general on-field struggles -- the Mets may have to face the harsh reality of moving on from their dynamic shortstop, Jose Reyes ... and possibly even more.
The free agent may price himself out of the Mets' market and general manager Sandy Alderson may believe No. 1 - that money is better spent elsewhere and No.2 - a total rebuild is in order for the Amazin's to become long-term contenders again. But if his third baseman David Wright has any say, he'd like to see Reyes be part of the answer.
"Obviously nothing is official," Wright said (as quoted by ESPN NY's Christopher Hunt), referring to reports that the Marlins have extended an initial offer to last season's batting champion worth $90 million. "Hopefully, the organization values him the way that I value him. I think he's one of the premier players in baseball. I think that what he brings to the team is more than just what you see on the field."
Granted, Wright has had a few guys play to his left over the last several years because of Reyes' injury problems, but it will obviously be tough for him to see his friend leave town. From a baseball standpoint, these two have really been the only bright spots for a franchise that has acted like a third-world organization in a first-rate market.
From 2006 to 2008, the Mets won 97, 88 and 89 games, but they haven't won more than 79 games in the three years since. Over the years, the front office has failed to develop an adequate farm system and has doled out ill-conceived, high-priced contracts year after year.
As a result, Alderson is tasked with cleaning up the mess and building the organization the right way. Thus, there's no guarantee that the marquee man at the hot corner will even be around next season, as Alderson has said -- and rightfully so -- that nobody is untouchable.
"I made it very clear that I enjoy playing here," Wright said. "But ultimately that's a decision that I have zero control over. At the end of the day, if it happens, it happens.
"If not ... " he said before pausing briefly, "I know I'm preparing to come in here and play third base next year. So if it happens, you know, it would be a surprise."
If you've been a fan of the Mets over the years, you've got to believe that Wright would want nothing but to make it all work in New York. Never has his heart for this franchise been questioned. And at 28, he is still in the middle of his prime. Most of all, he's been a laudable ambassador for the organization, through thick and thin.
Take a step back from your fanhood and realize, though, that the Mets -- even with Reyes and Wright -- are far from from being perennial contenders. It's clear that Alderson's No. 1 priority is to develop the minor league system, then go from there. But, it takes time ... and by the time his plan is realized at the major-league level, one has to wonder if either Reyes or Wright will be a part of it all.