Fans of the New York Mets want Jose Reyes to stay. He is young, energetic and immensely talented and would be a cornerstone of any franchise. Unfortunately, the Mets will be better off if they let him go.

Picture you are the general manager of a major league franchise. You have a 27-year-old middle infielder who is one of the fastest players in baseball. He just had one of the best years of his career. He raised his batting average to well over .300, became an All-Star and a Gold Glover and even earned a few MVP votes. He has led the league in stolen bases a few times and cemented himself as a premier leadoff hitter in baseball.

You have to keep that guy around right?

Well, that player was Luis Castillo in 2003. Even more, Castillo helped lead his team to a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins. Fast-forward five years and he is now batting .245 for the Mets and can barely field his position. I am not saying that Jose Reyes will automatically fall as fast as Castillo did, but it is important to remember to be weary of players who build their careers based on speed.

The key to this situation is value. Throughout the decade, the Mets have gotten into trouble by signing free agents at the height of their value. Francisco Rodriguez had just broken the major league record in saves, Carlos Beltran tied the major league record of postseason home runs and Jason Bay was coming off the best year of his career. Omar Minaya gave these players long-term contracts and so far they have failed to meet their unrealistic expectations.

Right now, Jose Reyes is at the peak of his value. He is currently leading the National League with a .340 batting average and has a ridiculous 11 triples. As dynamic a player as Reyes is, it is unrealistic to believe he can keep these kinds of numbers up. For once, the Mets should take advantage of immediate value and attempt to get long-term value.

Reyes’ suitors include contending teams like the Red SoxReds and Angels, which could help the Mets bring back quality prospects for the shortstop. The most intriguing team to me is the San Francisco Giants. They can give the Mets 21-year-old LHP Maidson Bumgarner and/or 23-year-old OF Brandon Belt. Either of these players would help the Mets in the future, and they are already major league ready.

The biggest problem that will come from trading Jose Reyes will be the backlash from the fanbase. Mets fans have already grown tired of the administration and attendance has been down throughout the season. However, the fans should accept that the current team is not yet a contender. By the time the pieces are in place to succeed, Reyes and maybe even David Wright will be past their primes. If they can replace one of these stars with multiple pieces that can help them in a few years, the Mets should jump at the opportunity.

New Yorkers are not patient by nature. They do not want to wait to see their team rebuild and they especially don’t want to see them lose a superstar in his prime.

Nevertheless, Sandy Alderson was brought here not for one year, but to help create a championship team. This year’s draft showed that the team is not interested in fillers, but future championship pieces. With the return they get from the trade, they will hopefully add even more of those pieces. In a few years the franchise will be better off than having an aging, expensive Jose Reyes.

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