Earlier this week, I touched on the knock-on effects that failing to do things like retain Jose Reyes has on the New York Mets’ ability to compete. But we have a particularly useful example of how this is true in the trade offer the Mets declined from San Diego.
The deal reportedly would have sent Luke Gregorson to the Mets in exchange for Daniel Murphy.
Gregorson is a very good pitcher, and exactly the kind of bullpen arm the Mets could use. He’d instantly become their best reliever, but he would be under team control until 2015.
The Mets couldn’t possibly say yes to this kind of deal, however. They need Murphy to play second base. Jordany Valdespin has provided ample evidence that he cannot handle the position defensively. Reese Havens is staying healthy, finally, but not playing all that well. Philip Evans might play at second base, but he is years away.
With Reyes around, of course, the Mets could deploy a Reyes-Tejada double play combination, and deal Murphy for bullpen help. Or kept Murphy, and traded Tejada. Or kept them both, and traded Reyes for young talent.
But when the primary concern was keeping Reyes to maximize ticket sales in 2011, then letting him go without an offer (and for those who believe the Mets had any real capacity to offer Reyes anything, remember that the same week Reyes signed with the Marlins, the Mets were finalizing a bridge loan just to stay afloat), baseball concerns take a back seat.
Until the team is in a different place financially, this is how it works.