So here’s what we know, as Jose Reyes comes to Citi Field starting tonight.
Ruben Tejada has been very good for the Mets at shortstop in 2012. He’s put up an OPS+ of 112, solid defense. His Fangraphs value is $8.2 million so far this season.
Jose Reyes has been better. He’s put up an OPS+ of 110, average defense. His Fangraphs value is $13.3 million so far this season, meaning that he’s already been worth more than the $10 millon the Marlins will pay him this year. Whatever errors Miami has made elsewhere- and they have been legion- Reyes cannot be called one so far.
Ah, but those brilliant Mets, they took the savings from downgrading from Reyes to Tejada, and spent the money on… well, not the team.
See, Moneyball works when the resources taken from one area are used in another area. It doesn’t work so well when every cost-cutting measure leads to money getting pocketed by an ownership group hellbent on survival. Starving the team of resources is not the new market efficiency.
So for all fans who want to enjoy Ruben Tejada, you should. He’s a 22-year-old holding his own at shortstop. He should have a fine career, possibly better than fine, given his success at such a young age.
But celebrating the fact that the Mets are paying their shortstop far less to be a lesser player than Jose Reyes? And taking that savings, but not investing it back into the team?
If your name isn’t Fred Wilpon, I’ll be damned if I can figure out why you’d celebrate that.
(Oh, and just a preemptive reminder when the comments drift toward pretending that the Mets actually intended to make Jose Reyes an offer last year, only to see the contract get too expensive: they never made an offer, and the week Reyes agreed to a six-year, $106 million contract, they were finalizing a $40 million bridge loan just to pay current expenses. It. Was. Not. Possible.)