Should Mets Trade Reyes Now or Later?

The cat is out of the bag: the Mets are shopping Jose Reyes.

Not that it is a surprise.

According to several reports, the Giants are interested in obtaining the Mets’ shortstop, though GM Brian Sabean had this to say:

“I can’t respond to that. Honestly, I haven’t seen or talked to Sandy Alderson since January … I haven’t talked to anybody from the Mets so I have no idea where the hell it came from,” Sabean said prior to the Mets-Giants game. “So typical of today’s world, I guess we’re playing in New York and our shortstop [Miguel Tejada] isn’t playing too well and [Reyes] is a free agent to be. It’s connect-your-dots, so there’s nothing to talk about. Talk to the clown from CBS or whatever outlet [expletive] came up with it.”

Tricky talk there by Sabean; the report was not necessarily that the Giants approached the Mets, but rather, the Giants were “talking internally” about Reyes.

But this is only the beginning of rumors and reports were are going to hear going forward, until the day Reyes is either traded or signed to an extension. Considering the financial constraints of Mets ownership and Sandy Alderson’s public statements about payroll flexibility, the former is more likely than the latter.

So assuming that Reyes will be traded at some point this season, when do you think he should be dealt? Should the team trade him now, while it’s still possible to fetch a decent package of prospects, or should they wait until the trading deadline nears? Let’s consider the pros and cons.

Trade Him Now

Many pundits believe that the Mets can get a better package of players / prospects if he’s traded before mid-June. The theory is that teams will be more willing to give up value if they have Reyes for longer than a “rental”. I’m not so sure, and here’s why: with the deadline more than a month away, there aren’t as many teams looking to make an improvement via trade, and there isn’t as much urgency. So, there may not be the competition to acquire Reyes now that there might be in early July, when perhaps more teams could see him as the “piece” they need to get into the playoffs or put them “over the top”. Let’s pretend the Giants are really talking about Reyes; why would they offer the Mets a huge package of prospects if they are the only team “in the game”? Wouldn’t they be more inclined to give up a major prospect at the deadline, when other teams could be making offers and it’s the Giants’ last chance to make a major acquisition?

Also, there is the public perception created if Reyes is traded this early in the season. While many Mets fans might see and understand Reyes’ departure, the vast majority of fans — those who don’t read Mets blogs daily, for example — would see the trade of Reyes as a white flag of surrender; in other words, the season is over and the Mets are not going to try to get into the postseason. Considering their financial crisis, I don’t think the Mets can afford to take the chance of doing something that would almost certainly negatively impact ticket sales.

Trade Him Later

There are two major risks with waiting until July to trade Jose Reyes: he could get injured, or, his performance could drop off enough to scare away potential suitors. If either of those things happen, the Mets likely would not get attractive trade offers.

On the other hand, it may pay to wait and see what happens with the Mets ownership situation. For all we know, the Wilpons might choose a partner with deep pockets who likes the idea of keeping the most dynamic player in the team’s history in orange and blue. If by some miracle the sale of a portion of the team is consummated before the deadline, and Reyes is still around, there’s a slight possibility that the team would change its stance on offering him an extension.

What do you think? Should the Mets trade Reyes sooner or later? Or not at all? Maybe you think the best option for the Mets is to get a #1 draft pick when he signs with another team in the winter. Share your thoughts in the comments.


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Joe May 5, 2011 at 6:57 am
    Hard to say. I’d need to see what the offer would be.

    Emotionally, would like him to stay & hope for something to be done with the ownership situation to make it possible. As the guys said last night, you can’t really replace all that he offers, the guys in the wings haven’t shown enough yet and “prospects” are guesswork at best.

    I don’t see what reading daily blogs changes as to fan reaction. Trading him away early seems like a white flag. If it is realistic in the long term, so be it, but the fans wouldn’t be wrong in the short term.

  2. Walnutz15 May 5, 2011 at 7:25 am
    While I love Reyes as a symbol of what an elite leadoff hitter COULD POTENTIALLY be – I’ve actually seen Met fans throw the statement that “Reyes is a Top 10 player in the game” around as a reason to keep him.

    I understand the passion behind Reyes being a home-grown, very talented SS.

    I get that Met fans love watching him play; especially when things are going right – and he’s actually on and driving the baseball. (I’m one of these fans myself.)

    The only way I see Reyes developing into the player these Met fans say he already is?

    . . . . .Maybe if he went to another lineup, and drove the bus that led to another 2006-type campaign! Only then can we start speaking like that again. . . .but the present version?

    Very good; and whether or not he’d be worth a long Carl Crawford-type extension – he’s a player the Mets should truly want to keep.

    Jose Reyes is not a Top 10 Player in the whole sport. Let’s stop with that.

    The other thing to keep in mind here?

    Reyes isn’t working alone, and there’s an agent’s prestige/commission associated with his client’s decision.

    Obviously, he’s going to “do whatever it takes to make his client happiest” (or so he’ll say) — but let’s not just get caught up with “Jose will/Jose won’t” simply because we think it’ll be the case.

    There’s a lot to be said for a player’s comfort-level, certainly.

    There’s also a ton to be said for top of the line potential for WINNING, along with bank-busting money to go along with it.

    Time will tell…..but even I think it would be best for Reyes to take his act on the road. He ain’t gonna win with this organization; and that’s what it’s all about. . . . .for someone like me, anyway.

    I’ve also heard fans carry on about how Reyes would love nothing more than to stay here and how he’d likely give us a discount — newsflash: That happened already the first time around.

    I do’nt see how Reyes would give anyone a “hometown discount” — especially if the team’s mired in 4th place at any point during the summer.

    Play to win. Period.

    • John May 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm
      I think Jose Reyes is a top 10 talent. I don’t think he is a top ten player. He has so many fundamental flaws that he is able hide with his incredible talent. For all his great speed he is not a great base runner. He has wonderful range at shortstop and a cannon for an arm. But he will throw to the wrong base, and sometimes his throws are wild because he relies on his arm strength and doesn’t set his feet properly. (He did that the other night against the Phillies). He has trouble sliding, exposing himself unnecessarily to serious injury. And he sometimes gets over anxious at the plate and gets himself out. The tendency is often exhibited with runners in scoring position.
      Having said all this, he is still a very good shortstop and I would love to sign him to a four year deal. I don’t think I am that interested in having a 32 or 33 year old Reyes. Too much concern about losing some of his speed and quickness. But Jose will be looking for a 7 year deal which will take him to 34.
      Also I think this team is two years away from being really competitive so say Reyes is in his prime for another 4 years. If they are two years away, you would really be paying him for 7 years and getting two winning years. I think I would rather see about getting a real pitching prospect in return. Someone who will be in his prime a couple of years from now, and able to give the team 15 to 20 wins a year when the team is competitive.
      • Joe May 5, 2011 at 6:25 pm
        “a real pitching prospect”

        If the team is two years away, the team still needs some good players to be credible out there. And, after four years, he very well might have some more left, just fairly average stuff. And, even then, there might be shades left sometimes. The alternative is guess work. That’s what “real pitching prospects” tend to be.

        The rest basically says he has so much that it papers over the flaws. It’s like rich people — they could be wasteful and still be more comfortable than the most thrifty poor person. So, yeah, pointing out his flaws only takes you so far. And, with all the ball players out there, you don’t need to be the very very best to be someone I want on my team.

        I’m with John Franco. Keep him unless you are really wowed. One “real pitching prospect” won’t do it for me. But, it isn’t my team. We shall see.

  3. mrtasan May 5, 2011 at 11:50 am
    it needs to be a boatload of high end draft picks/prospects with a combination of to be major league players and possibly some cash. Nothing less.
  4. Mets Fan May 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm
    The Mets should not trade Reyes. It’s just too hard to find a very good SS in the major leagues. Trading Reyes isn’t just raising a white flag on the season but a white flag on the future. Outfielders and Pitching can always be signed later. Generally teams do whatever they can to sign a very good player at a tough position like SS or C if at all possible.
  5. robert May 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm
    no way . why would they.
    • robert May 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm
      mets have no reason to throw in the white towel. the season is far from over.