Exclusive Negotiating Windows Are Made to Be Broken
As of this moment there is basically only one looming Mets story: the re-signing of Jose Reyes. I suppose the lowering of the Citi Field walls have run a distant second, but essentially, next year’s shortstop has become one of the only things that matter as the remaining two teams in each league pummel each other for glory.
On the surface, you might not think there weren’t many ways to conjecture about this issue; either the guy signs or he doesn’t. But as probability and sports radio would have it, there are enduring questions of money, the amount of years to be offered, the level of interest and identities of other possible suitors, Reyes’ health and endurance for the following five to seven seasons, the length of time it will take for his decision to come, among other things. These issues have grown as points of anguish and interest because no one speculating professionally or as an armchair executive believes the Mets’ exclusive negotiating window will produce any contract with Jose. And that’s sad. But it’s also business. With the National League Batting Title in his back pocket, most have concluded Reyes will very likely test the free agent market to listen to, if not heed the lucrative siren call of other franchises singing bewitchingly of his heavily incentive-laden worth.
With Sandy Alderson concerned with payroll flexibility and the entire fan base overwrought about never having a reason to watch a game for the next few seasons, there is a great deal at stake. The paranoid drawing of parallels to Strawberry’s career has raised the ever-threatening specter of Bronx pinstripes, while other fingers already point toward possible landing spots in Milwaukee and San Francisco, where Reyes might rejoin forces with other big-named, jettisoned ex-Mets. As a result of our collective growing anxiety, many have already blogged and spilled ink over the reasons why Flushing should simply do whatever it takes to retain #7—one of the only bright spots in an otherwise difficult past five years of frustrating baseball.
Is there really nothing Sandy can do during those precious moments after the World Series to convince Jose to just stay put?
Here are some unconventional options he might wish to consider during the first round of negotiations:
#1.) Get Terry Collins to drug Jose’s water or knock him out with an unexpected blow to the head A-Team style—like B. A. Baracus before getting on a plane. Photocopy his signature onto the new contract. When he wakes up, tell him he blacked out. During spring training, Jose will complain about headaches and go on the DL. He won’t rejoin the team until July when he injures his left hamstring stealing third, but he’ll be all ours to complain about incessantly.
#2.) Offer to re-sign him for 150 years at $8.33 billion per year. When he starts receiving 2012’s paychecks and asking questions, just have Fred and Saul “categorically reject” any accusations of fraud and tell Jose his English still needs work as they unleash an eye-glazing, drool-inducing team of suits to point out over the course of hours that the contract specifically stated his new deal was for 150 months at $8.33 per hour (with a club option after 20 months). Sit back and watch the ensuing courtroom drama unfold, and the Post for their brand of daily indecorous word play headlines, which they will no doubt vomit reliably across the back page.
#3.) Maneuver the most base and shameless among the negotiating staff to work tirelessly to produce a secondary agreement, which, once in place, simultaneously locks Reyes in for the next five seasons through outside revenue streams. By signing a distribution deal to make his EL7 Music a subsidiary of Universal Music Latin Entertainment with an accompanying 8-year, 5-album deal worth $120 million, Jose will agree to the annual league minimum of $414,500 from the ball club during the duration.
– Paint his face on the Home Run Apple, or better yet, purchase the years remaining on the naming rights and change the stadium to Jose Field
– Call Reyes into the Acela Club where Jay Horwitz will shoot Ruben Tejada execution-style–the wall of glass backdrop will make the killing very dramatic. Afterward, have Jeff Wilpon open a suitcase of cash and say, “That’s how positive we are that you’ll just relax…and get yourself nice and comfortable. Stay in Queens, Jose”
– Broker a deal with the Town of North Hempstead to convince Manhasset to officially observe June 11th as Jose Day, complete with parade, closed libraries, and a public flogging of fellow resident Bill O’Reilly by the masked Mr. Met. When the press raises an eyebrow and S&M jokes start to surface, sell Zack Wheeler’s contract to Washington for a huge sum of money to buy every newspaper off
– On a moonless night, move the Mets to the Dominican Republic and don’t look back