One of the greatest homegrown talents ever to wear a New York Mets uniform has some advice for a current one about to make a very important life decision. Darryl Strawberry was at Citi Field on Saturday for a charity event, and had some words of wisdom for Jose Reyes: Stay in New York.
Strawberry regrets ever leaving the Mets, which he did for the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning in the 1991 season. He was the first overall pick in the 1980 Draft, and was in the big leagues with the Amazin's for eight seasons.
"It looks good on the other side, but it's not always as good as the place that you're used to," Strawberry said as quoted by MLB.com's Aaron Taube. "When you're young, you don't realize that, and for me, I was young and didn't realize what New York meant to me.
"Tell Jose I said New York is a great place. No matter what you have to go through, how difficult it gets, this is the place you want to play."
Reyes has spent nine years in the majors with the Mets, but was signed by the organization in 1999. He has said previously that he'd like to stay in New York, but it's easy to be swayed by another team's checkbook. Especially with the Mets' financial situation, it's expected that Reyes will have to take the hometown discount to remain a Met. Rumblings from the front office have suggested that Reyes will need to make his decision promptly, because general manager Sandy Alderson isn't going to wait around all offseason for him to decide.
"Being successful here, they appreciate it a little bit more than anywhere else you go. You're just another player that comes along in other places, but the fans here never forget. The legacy you leave for yourself here is incredible and Jose has a chance to do that. He's a remarkable player, he's had some wonderful years, done some wonderful things and he still has a chance to do some greater things before his career is all over."
The 28-year old is batting .330 with five home runs, 40 RBI and 37 stolen bases. He also has a career-high .371 on-base percentage and a .478 slugging percentage, the second best of his career. Reyes is a top talent at a premiere position ... and his checkered health record is the only thing limiting his payday.