When Jose Reyes left the Mets this winter to sign a six-year, $106 million contract with the Miami Marlins, plenty of fans bemoaned the Mets' lack of aggressiveness in their efforts to retain the most accomplished shortstop the franchise has ever had. Most acquiesced to the financial realities of the Mets and the Marlins, wishing Reyes were still around but repelled by his ultimate price tag. I certainly fall into that category, and I suspect many of you do as well.
For their part, the Mets seemed content to let Ruben Tejada take over for Reyes, knowing that what he (Tejada) lacked in superstardom he would make up for in affordability and health, which latter's irony is striking when we consider that Reyes has been in Miami's lineup all season and Tejada has been infirm for half of it.
Nevertheless, the 2012 season has just turned over to its fourth month, so how are things going so far?
Reyes has played more often, but when he has been on the field Tejada has been the superior hitter. The disparity is likely even more pronounced in light of the differences between their respective home ballparks. Marlins Park has been kind to hitters in the early going, whereas Citi Field continues to smother them despite offseason dimensional adjustments designed to attenuate the park's suffocating suppression of offense.
I'm not suggesting Tejada will eventually prevail as the better player — though he'll almost certainly be the better bargain — and I don't intend to besmirch Reyes's good name, but I did hope to illustrate that young Ruben, notwithstanding his time on the disabled list, is so far deftly holding his own in the slowly diminishing shadow of an all-time great Met.