Watch CBS News

Hartnett: The Wilpons Ruined Mets' Golden Opportunity

'Hart of the Order'
By Sean Hartnett
» More Columns

There never should come a time when a New York sports franchise loses one of their homegrown superstars to a rival over money.  Yet, as the winter meetings were about to get underway, the Mets' front office was forced to sit with their hands tied behind their back unable to even make an official offer to Jose Reyes.

Sandy Alderson was left helpless as Reyes, 'the face of the franchise' was lured to the upstart Miami Marlins.  It's one thing when a star player spurns one club for another but it's an entirely different story in Reyes' case as he was only presented a single option – to join the Marlins.

The aftermath leaves Mets fans with lingering feelings of what could have been.  When Citi Field opened in 2009, it represented a rebirth for the Amazins.  Citi Field was supposed to be the jewel ballpark that gave the Mets the security needed to retain their best homegrown stars while helping attract desirable free agents.  Instead, it will remain as a symbol of promise and potential never fully realized.

As the new season draws closer, Citi Field will be a dark and desolate place throughout 2012.  Fans will continue to desert Citi Field in greater numbers without Jose Reyes providing the electricity that obscured the Mets' failures.  Reyes was meant to be the centerpiece on display for years to come, the megastar that fans could hang their hopes upon and rally behind.

The Wilpon family will conveniently hide behind the excuse of Reyes' injury woes and the fact that the Marlins were the only team willing shell out a six-year $106 million dollar contract but Mets fans aren't fooled that easily.  You can't pull the wool over the eyes of your fanbase by farcically admitting that losing Reyes came down to not wanting to take a gamble on his health.

After all, Fred Wilpon should know a risk when he sees one.  He was so eager to get in bed with a shady character like Bernie Madoff that he risked and eventually ruined his most important investment, the New York Mets.  Despite his injuries, Reyes was never a risk to the Mets' on-field investment and sending out Alderson to convey a message that a sixth year was a bridge too far for the Mets isn't fooling anyone.

Every Mets fan knows if their team had a stable ownership group in place, there isn't any reason why Reyes should be wearing a Marlins uniform in 2012.  They can only point the blame in the direction of one man and that of course is Fred Wilpon.

Is Wilpon entirely to blame for the loss of Reyes and the Mets' failures?  Share your thoughts and opinions below.  Sean Hartnett will be covering the MLB Hot Stove all winter long.  Send him your tweets @HartyLFC.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.