Should Theo sign Jose Reyes next season?
posted at 8/5/2011 3:13 PM EDT
by Andy Martino/New York Daily News
www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jose+Reyes" title="Jose Reyes">Jose Reyes is still here, knocking triples and stealing bases in the big city. He was not traded last month, not shopped, not even mentioned in rumors. This must have signaled an increased likelihood that the www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+Mets" title="New York Mets">Mets will re-sign him, and keep him in the only baseball home he has known, right?
Actually, no, say multiple major league officials with knowledge of the team's thinking. Despite the decision not to trade Reyes, the Mets remain highly unlikely to offer their superstar shortstop the "www.nydailynews.com/topics/Carl+Crawford" title="Carl Crawford">Carl Crawford money" that many in baseball believe he will command, sources say. The Mets are still wary of a contract resembling the seven-year, $142 million deal that www.nydailynews.com/topics/Boston+Red+Sox" title="Boston Red Sox">Boston gave Crawford last offseason.
It is possible that Reyes will return if, say, he agrees to a five- or six-year offer, or if the Mets move from their current position, decide they cannot let him leave and offer more money or years than they currently wish to. The fact that Reyes was not traded, however, signals very little about his future.
One person familiar with the Mets' plans told the Daily News in June that "both" the money and length of a Crawford-type contract were unappealing to the team.
With the trade deadline now passed and Reyes still a Met, that same person was asked this week if the thinking had evolved.
"Nothing has changed," that person said, adding that the Mets were "still nervous about it."
Already saddled with the flexibility-limiting contracts of www.nydailynews.com/topics/Johan+Santana" title="Johan Santana">Johan Santana and www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jason+Bay" title="Jason Bay">Jason Bay, the Mets are highly reluctant to sign another player to what general manager www.nydailynews.com/topics/Sandy+Alderson" title="Sandy Alderson">Sandy Alderson has called a "second generation contract," meaning a long-term deal given to a free agent, rather than an extension signed by a young player such as Reyes or www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Wright" title="David Wright">David Wright in 2006.
So why did the Mets decline to trade Reyes, and receive a package of top talent from a contender? People familiar with the team's decision cited two factors: solid play this year by the Mets that made a fire sale unpalatable, and the draft-pick compensation the team will receive if Reyes signs elsewhere.
The Mets determined that the two draft choices awarded for losing a Type A free agent will be comparable to a strong trade package, and preferable to breaking up a 2011 team that has played surprisingly well.
One source briefed on the Mets' July dealings also cited Reyes' hamstring injury last month as a significant factor in why he was not traded: "He got hurt at the wrong time, and that stopped everyone from calling."
Does this mean that Reyes' Met career will end next month? Not necessarily. Both team and player are waiting until the end of the season before finalizing any decisions, although the Mets have made clear that they are still open to in-season negotiating, which Reyes' camp declined last month.