Mets Unlikely To Re-sign Jose Reyes

Funny, I did not realize that the Mets “exclusivity period” to negotiate with Jose Reyes had passed as of last Thursday. Why? Perhaps because I kept waiting to hear news from “a person close to the situation” regarding a rumored offer of some sort by the Mets during that exclusive window of time. Certainly, the Mets would not throw away that opportunity to re-sign their first and only batting title winner?

Yet, clearly, they did. According to various reports, the team has chosen to see what offers the star shortstop will entertain from others before the Mets show their hand. Apparently, they believe that there is a possibility that the open market will be somewhat depressed, and Reyes won’t get any kind of contract offers approaching “Carl Crawford Money”. Rather than bid against themselves, they’re going to see what the market bears, hope it will be less than a 5- or 6-year, $90-110M offer, and then swoop in with a very fair 4-year deal in the $60-70M range. After all, Jose loves playing in New York, and won’t he be happy to give the team a home-team discount?

In related news, the Wilpons are selling the Brooklyn Bridge — and entertaining all serious offers.

The spin thinking behind this “wait and see” strategy is that superstars Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder may take “hometown discounts” themselves — or at the very least, accept contract offers that would seem low in comparison to what they might have demanded in the past three years. Part of their lower perceived value is due to the fact that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers are all presumably out of the bidding for the first basemen — the Dodgers because they are broke and for sale, the other two clubs because they already have immovable first basemen with long-term contracts. It’s all nonsense, of course — pure lip service to keep the fan base appeased while discounted season tickets are on sale. Let’s be serious: if Jose Reyes can’t garner at least a 4-year / $70M deal elsewhere, the MLBPA should bring collusion charges against the owners again. And if a 4-year / $70M deal is the very best that Reyes can find outside of Flushing, he’s likely to take it from another team rather than the Mets on principle. After all, it was the Mets who refused to even accept a meeting when Reyes suggested a discussion to extend his contract prior to the 2011 season (when the Mets had significant leverage in negotiations, and likely could have locked him up for a discount), it was Sandy Alderson who said Reyes would have to prove himself before they considered an extension, it was Fred Wilpon who insisted Reyes would not get “Crawford money”, it was an unnamed Mets official who intimated that Reyes was not “Alderson’s kind of player” (presumably because he didn’t take enough walks), and now, it is the Mets who have chosen not to make any offer at all during their exclusive time to do so. After all that disrespect, why should Reyes give the Mets any kind of discount? We haven’t even gone into the time they moved him to second base to make room for Kaz Matsui, nor the time they forced him to run like a drunken chicken.

Here’s my outlook: Jose Reyes has played his last game as a New York Met. I cherish the time we were able to watch him in his youth, and that we were able to watch him grow. I’m thankful the Mets didn’t trade him in July, so that we could see him for an extra two months. If he winds up re-signing with the Mets I’ll be surprised and ecstatic, but most of my thoughts concerning Reyes are focused on hoping he signs with an American League team, and failing that, hoping he signs with a team outside the NL East. Because it’s one thing to lose Jose Reyes, but yet another to see him beating us 18 times a year playing for the Phillies, Nationals, Marlins, or Braves.

What’s your take? Do you think I’m nuts, and that the Mets have a realistic chance — or desire — to sign Reyes? Let me know in the comments.

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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. Charlie17 November 7, 2011 at 7:23 am
    Unfortunately he’sprobably a goner. I see the Mets dumping Wright this year as well and going into complete rebuild mode. I know I’ll catch hell, but what have they won? I loved watching these guys play, but if by trading Wright, we get two more top tier prospects well it might be time. The next 3-5 years might be unbearable for us Mets fans, but a necessary evil if we get back on the right track. Can we trust management to do the right things? Hmmm I don’t know.
  2. Tommy2cat November 7, 2011 at 9:11 am
    Joe – I think your conclusion is premature and that, perhaps, a bit of perspective is in order.

    Alderson’s POV –

    a. The Mets had recently been scorched by long-terms deals to Santana, Beltran, Bay, Castillo & Perez. The reasons for the contractual deficits are different, but they are there.

    – Injuires affected the value of the long-term deals to Santana & Beltran, which otherwise were sensible deals within the context at the time the contracts were formed;
    – Non-performance affected the value of the long-term deals to Bay, Castillo & Perez.
    – Bear in mind that the money offered to Castillo & Ollie was the product of a non-competitive negotiation. Omar clearly bid against himself.

    Sandy is inherently conservative and, given the boatload of bad contracts and the Wilpons current financial situation, he really does not have the wherewithal to bid against himself, even if he went against his own grain and did so.

    From Reyes POV – Yes, he did want to extend his deal when he was coming off an injury-plagued season and, yes, the Mets theoretically could’ve jumped on that opportunity. However, last off-season wasn’t the best time for either party to enter into a long-term commitment. Reyes would’ve undervalued himself and the Mets were in a state of flux, both administratively and financially, and were hardpressed to extend a contract to a player that had trouble staying on the field. Query whether his 2011 performance would’ve been as stellar without the incentive of his looming free agency.

    Reyes performance in 2011 has created somthing of a contractual dilemma. One one hand, Jose had his best season, which followed a long stint on the DL. He provided sustained performance that was interrupted by the very maladies – an oblique strain and hamstring tightness – that are capable of derailing him from his game long-term.

    So, it appears that it makes sense for both parties to allow the open market to determine Reyes’ value at this point. Sandy won’t be bidding against himself and Jose won’t be compelled to accept a contract potentially well below his current market value.

    One thing appears to be true – that Jose Reyes wants to remain with the Met organizaiton, as he has been for the last 13 years. In a similar vein, the Mets appear very open to retaining him within the scope of their ability to do so.

    Let’s hope for the best. Let’s Go Mets!!!

    • Joe Janish November 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm
      The Mets appear very open to retaining Jose Reyes? From where does that theory erupt?

      Actions speak louder than words. The Mets have been inactive, other than spouting some lip service to appease the fan base.

      If Jose Reyes told the Mets he’d sign for 4 years / $50M, they still would say they couldn’t afford such a commitment. Alderson and Co. know full well that the numbers they’re leaking as their “ceiling” looks fair enough to the average Mets fan, but is also at least two ticks lower than what he’s worth on the open market — even in a supposedly depressed economy.

      This is why MLB appointed Alderson as the Mets GM: he is remarkably adept at rhetoric, and that’s exactly what Bud Selig needs to spin his “you can win in a big market w/o spending money” story / conspiracy to drive down player salaries.

      • Tommy2cat November 8, 2011 at 2:12 am
        Hi Joe:

        Well, Alderson has been very forthright concerning his approach to Jose Reyes.

        – During the season, he stated that both sides agreed not to discuss Jose’s contractual situation until after the season – a strategy that made sense for both parties.

        – After the season, the Reyes camp expressed a desire to feel out the FA market so that his value could be assessed by market forces. The concept is that once his valued is assessed, then the parties will discuss whether they can execute an agreement that makes sense for both of them.

        No harsh words have been spoken b/w the camps and each side has been telegraphing their moves, or non-moves as it were. One cannot discern any animus.

        I believe the Reyes camp when they say Jose wants to remain a Met. I believe Met brass when they say they would like to keep him The parties are simply undergoing a rational market-based process to see whether it makes sense to execute a longterm contract that provides Reyes with reasonable compensation that the Mets can afford.

        I am somewhat bemused at those who are upset with this period of uncertainty. What else could one expect with a player like Reyes and the current Met ownership: on one hand, Reyes is a stellar ballplayer with a significant health risk; on the other hand, Alderson is a conservative GM who adopted a roster replete with hefty & unproductive contracts.

        (Parenthetically, few Met fans appear willing to recognize that the current tailspin was initiated by Omar b/w 2006-2007, when he decided to dismantle the best bullpen in baseball, stock the roster with aging veterans and dole out 3-and-4 year deals like it was Halloween candy.)

        Concommitant to Omar’s mismanagement of the organization, the Wilpons, whether knowingly or not, had the team’s finances partially predicated on a ponzi scheme.

        Fastforward to the present day and, voila! We have a mini crisis involving one of our two most popular ballplayers. I cannot say that I am surprised. Alderson’s primary interest appears to be in trying to make the best of a difficult situation, as he did so well with Carlos Beltran.

        As long as Alderson makes a good decision on the basis of the facts that he has at the time of the decision, he’ll have my support and will have represented the NY Mets interest well.

        And in the same vein, Reyes owes it to himself to have his current value assessed by the FA market. If he finds a better fit, more power to him.

        At the end of the day, either we get Jose Reyes with a large contract and his health risks, or we get a first round pick with a supplemental first round pick.

        Heck, David Wright came to us as a supplemental first round pick as compensation for Mike Hampton. Um…who won out on that deal, Joe?

        • Joe Janish November 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm
          Except for the part about the finances being based on a ponzi scheme, I think you are way off base here:
          < <(Parenthetically, few Met fans appear willing to recognize that the current tailspin was initiated by Omar b/w 2006-2007, when he decided to dismantle the best bullpen in baseball, stock the roster with aging veterans and dole out 3-and-4 year deals like it was Halloween candy.) Concommitant to Omar’s mismanagement of the organization, the Wilpons, whether knowingly or not, had the team’s finances partially predicated on a ponzi scheme.>>

          On the contrary, MOST Mets fans take delight in blaming all the team’s woes on Omar. He’s an easy scapegoat. What few fans fail to recognize is that Jeff Wilpon was in charge of the Mets, not Omar, and any high-level (i.e., expensive contract) decision not made by Jeff was made by his dad Fred. You think Omar wanted to sign Jason Bay to that deal? That was 100% a Wilpon deal. You think acquiring Johan Santana and signing him to that insane contract was Omar’s idea? Another Wilpon deal. Every free-agent contract had to be approved by Jeff and/or Fred, and Jeff often based his decision on what Tony Bernazard told him.

          That’s not to say Omar was completely without responsibility — surely, he recommended some of the bad deals doled out (and made a few awful trades). But ultimately it was the Wilpons who signed off on everything, and in many cases, insisted on personnel moves — especially if they felt it necessary to make a “big splash” during the offseason.

  3. Tommy2cat November 7, 2011 at 9:30 am
    By the way, I wouldn’t shed a tear if Jose signed with the Angels and we received a first round draft pick and a supplemental first round pick.

    I also wouldn’t shed a tear if we traded Wright to Colorado for Drew Pomeranz and Wilin Rosario.

    And I’d be thrilled if we re-signed Pagan and then traded him with Familia, Parnell & Duda to the Orioles for Adam Jones.

    I’m looking toward 2013 rotation of:

    Santana
    Harvey
    Pomeranz
    Wheeler
    Gorski

    With bullpen including: Byrdak, Takahashi (Yep), Mejia, Beato, Gee, Dickey & Co.

    ss- Valdespin/Tejada
    2b – Turner/Havens
    3b – Murphy
    cf – Jones
    1b – Davis
    lf – Bay/Niewenhuis
    rf – Lagares/Ven Dekker
    c – Rosario/Thole

    Please note that if we did not re-sign Reyes and we did trade right and non-tender Pelfrey, then Prince Fielder becomes affordable.

    I’m just sayin’…

    • Joe Janish November 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm
      Tommy, why go through all the heartache and effort of trying to remake the Mets? If you want to watch a AAA team you can get tickets fairly cheaply to see the Buffalo Bisons.
      • Tommy2cat November 8, 2011 at 2:33 am
        Joe – I love western New York, but it’s a heck of a commute.

        You worry too much. Don’t worry so much.

        – Dan Murphy is coming back.
        – Ike Davis is coming back.
        – Lucas Duda will be with us for a full season. Why don’t you replay his monster shot in Florida?
        – Capt. Kirk will be here to stay, and to save the day when Bay will sit versus righties (sounds like a rap song)
        – Tejada has a solid year under his belt and Turner turned out to be more clutch than anyone expected. He could probably handle spot duty in left field if properly trained.
        – Reese Havens is the real deal and we’ll see him this year.

        – Harvey, Holt & Mejia will likely join the big club sometime this year.
        – Niese will be back
        – Gee will be back.
        – We managed to hold onto our Rule 5 steal from last season, Beato.
        – Let’s hope Pelfrey can find sink on his 2-seamer.

        I am biased toward Mike Pelfrey. Last year, he joined my family in the Met dugout when one of my sons was honored for pitching a perfect game in which he struck out every batter. Big Pelf was incredibly nice and well mannered.

        On the last day of the season in 2010, my nephew, who had just finished his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq, was honored on the field b/w 2nd & 3rd innings in a Met-for-Vets ceremony. Kevin Burkhardt hung out with us for half an inning.

        As life would have it, during the preseason, my son, my nephew and I met Kevin down in PSL and I recall him telling us that he would see us at Citi Field. He did. Twice. We had a good laugh about that.

        Joe, don’t worry so much. You worry too much. Our Mets will be fine. It’ll just take a little more time because of poor decision that were made a couple of years ago.

        Just be patient.

  4. MikeT November 7, 2011 at 10:41 am
    Tommy, that certainly is an interesting scenario, but I’m not sure why the Orioles would try their most marketable piece. Not to mention Den Dekker is the best defensive CFer in the organization, including the big league team. Also, I’m not convinced Murphy is a centerpiece #3 hitter, but I don’t dislike him at third base. Gorski and Wheeler are both in A+ now, so mid to late season 2013 the earliest is way more likely than opening day. I think Gee and Dickey will still be in the rotation opening day 2013.

    As for Reyes, I’m finally beginning to admit that it is unlikely Jose resigns. I just doesn’t look good. But I agree with everything Tommy says about it, I still have faith.

  5. Timo November 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    Tommy2Cat, you really need to become an Orioles fan for the next 2 years. Reasons, If you love Adam Jones so much, which I don’t blame you because he is an awesome player, but he’s not a FA for 2 years. The Orioles will NOT trade him to ANY TEAM. They have 2 years of arbitration and his last years salary was $3.25 mil. So, he will probably make double at BEST. Also, alot of the guys you mentioned about being in the Mets lineup are about 2 years away. SO, maybe by then the Orioles do not resign Adam Jones and the Mets sign him and then we have our prospects in the MLs. I would be excited about that and hope that would happen. However, for now, like I told you in the “The Pros and Cons of Grady Sizemore” blog, we are stuck with some guys with large contracts. We can’t just trade them because we won’t get anything. Kind of like Beltran, he was worthless in the beginning of the season, but then became a player teams needed. So, that’s why we got Zack W. Maybe (with the fences shortened) that Bay and Wright get their swings back and we could trade them for prospects. Plus, Pagan is DONE! He had his best year and will not do again. We missed our chance to trade him. He SHOULD NOT be our CF next year. We could totally do better in free agent market with what we would have to pay him. Same goes for Pelf.
    Enjoy the Orioles next year and you are welcome back to be a Mets fan in 2 years. Until, STOP cluttering this blog with non-sense trades.
    • Tommy2cat November 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm
      Timo:

      Ad Hominem attacks are more suitable for lesser blogs and I think are discouraged on this one. Attempt to be civilized.

      As for the line-up – Turner, Havens & Niewenhuis are ML ready. Valdespin is not far behind. Ven Dekker & Lagares are a little further behind.

      You may be right about Baltimore’s reluctance to trade Adam Jones, but I think an assessment should be made as to what it would take to land Jones, at the very least. The Orioles are a team with many, many needs. If not this year, then trade for him in his walk year.

      I think that you have your outfielders mixed up. BAY is done as a full-time player. He cannot hit righties – he cannot differentiate a low fastball from a slider. He has residual value in a platoon situation when paired with Niewenhuis.

      Pagan is not done. He did not play his best last season, and I suspect that his gastro-intestinal issues affected his performance. Whether it will affect longterm should be a point of concern.

      Which, eh-hem, is why pursuing Adam Jones should be on the short list of to-do’s.
      _______________________________________

      As for Reyes – 4 years & 70m will fall far short. Perhaps an incentive-laden contract that exceed 100m based upon plate appearances & games played would be more consistent with market demands. We’ll see…

      During the interim, please bear in mind that personal attacks reveal more about the speaker than the target of the attack.

  6. Timo November 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    Joe, nice blog. You hit the nail on the head. 4 year – 70 mil is totally fair for Reyes. However, I agree, he won’t be a Met next year. Also, I don’t mind that much that he won’t be a Met but would HATE if he’s in the NL east. Which, I think he’ll be a Marlin. Jose would sign with a NL east team to stick it to the Mets for after how they treated him.
  7. Mike B November 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm
    If David Wright and Bay are doing great cause the fences are moved in why would we want to trade them? At some point dont we want to build on something other then prospects that are 2-3 years away? I thought the post on Langston showed that maybe a prospect value isnt everything. I also hate the injury excuse not to resign Reyes, Pujos is a huge injury risk and looks like he is falling apart and it doesnt matter, Ryan howard doesnt matter, CC doesnt matter. Prince Fielder is another guy who doesnt look like his body will last 5-7 years… Signing a superstar free agent is like picking the girl of dreams. If your too picky youll just end up by yourself watching you friend with the star SS
  8. Brian K November 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm
    Is 4/70 really being talked about, I think someone took this financial pinch to an extreme as the Mets can SURELY afford under their “new” budget to pay him 18 annually for 5 years. The sticking point is the 6th year he presumably is going to get from everyone else. If thats truly the case then they can just give him 5/100 and call it a day if they are so worried about him at age 32. Please, we are talking about the same franchise that gave Mo Vaughn and Kevin Appier 6 years and they were either on the downside of their careers or just an average 4 ERA pitcher in Appier’s case when he got 6/60 which in current year contract dollars would be 7/105. Give the guy 5/100 or 6/108. Lets assume 5/80 is all they “could afford” I would love to see what they do with that extra $2M per year in salary. What does that $2M go? Certainly not a SP, Closer, it goes to another bullpen arm in a very young and deep bullpen, or it goes to a 4th OFer which is the equivalent of a player that sits on the bench 2/3rds of the year. This is not rocket science. If someone gives him $25M salary for 6 years, then go right ahead, he is not worth basically A-Rod/Pujols/Fielder money annually. And you cant compare Pujols and a home town discount to Reyes because he is going to get NINE or TEN YEARS!!! REALISTICALLY 5/95, 6/108 keeps him a Met and based on the locked up money this year that comes off the books next year, they can then work to retain Wright. Assuming they don’t lowball him and treat him with the respect he deserves, #7 will be leading off in Flushing come March. 15-16M annually for 5-6 years to a Dominican player who loves living in Long Island and being in the melting pot of the world in NYC is all that is needed. If he takes a small discount the MLBPA can go spit because Albert will be taking a discount much greater. Not to mention the top tier BIG SPENDERS are not in the market for a SS. Its the second tier of spenders that would be looking at him, thats why I think what the Mets CAN offer is close enough to retain him.
  9. Brian K November 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm
    As an after thought, his marketing $ value in NYC will produce $10 more than virtually all other markets. He is already the face of a NYC sports franchise, no other market in the country will produce the marketing revenue that New York will. Starting over in a middle america market that doesn’t have the Latin base NY does, will be culture shock for him, and national advertisers are not going to sink millions into him in a smaller market. NYC maxes out his marketing dollar and he has already surpassed Jeter as the best SS in NY, and he will start to get more and more endorsements as Jeter winds down his career. So 5/95 is probably the equivalent of 5/105. If the Mets are within 10% of the best offer out there, they will retain him unless Alderson simply doesn’t want him. Wright is a GREAT player, but Reyes puts fannies in the seats so. Which brings up how much losing Reyes would lose at the gate. I would guess a couple hundred thousand at a generous average of $50 a seat which equates to millions. I would love to see the Marlins offer, I cant imagine that the Mets can get close to it if not match it.
  10. Brian K November 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm
    Joe do you have any thoughts on this?
    • Joe Janish November 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm
      Brian, you make good points. Unfortunately, the Mets ownership pretended to be big-market players by plucking dollars from the Madoff tree. That tree has since been chopped down and as a result the franchise is completely broke. As a result we have the most remarkably embarrassing major league sports franchise in New York. But hey, at least they make the Knicks look good.
  11. gary s. November 7, 2011 at 5:45 pm
    So many opinions, so many words being wasted on where an injury prone ss with bad legs will play next year,I will take a somewhat different approach to the situation.I made the over/under for D Wright for home runs in the new citicavern 32 for 2011 and took the over.I will make the over/under 4 years for Reyes to retire with injuries and become a full time gangsta rapper.I will take the under on this proposition.Feel free to state your opinions.Since i have always been a fan, i look forward to downloading his raps on my ipod when he retires
  12. Brian K November 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm
    Who is your .300 BA .380 OPS 50-80 SB gold glove leadoff hitting SS who scores over 60% of the time he leads off on base?
    Wright can hit 40 HRs, gonna be a lot of solo shots.
    They have the resources to keep those two together the rest of their careers’, the “home grown” players Mets fans have been asking for since the Bonilla era. Throw in Ike Davis, Lucus Duda, Daniel Muphy, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada and eventually the CFer in AA ball, a full lineup of home grown Mets. Since they throw out a minor league roster, financial-wise, get rid of Wright, Reyes and Johan and we could be the KC Royals. I guess we just punt for the decade. They opened 2010 with 143M in payroll amongst 32 players that had service time in the big leagues. ITs down to 66M with 54M owed to 3 players, Wright, Johan, and Bay. That includes Pagan and every player. They can probably move Bay and half his 18M salary. So how can they not keep it within 110-120M when they have 66M in contracts IF EVERY PLAYER STAYED? I would think $56M is enough to give Reyes 20M a year and the other 36 to bring in a CJ Wilson and have a ton left over. Wright makes 14M, so extend him at $20M a year, thats another 6M. Where is all this money that has us strapped? Let him do whatever he wants in his spare time, he is worth 18-20M. They can sign Cordero or KRod as their closer for 4-5M. Aside from Pelfrey and Capuano, all their starters are not even arbitration elgible yet…and 2 seem to be ready on the farm to challenge for a spot. And then Dickey is signed assuming he doesnt fall off the mountain he is about to climb. Doesnt take a financial genius, just a list of all Met contracts, and a caculator. Not getting Prince or Albert we have Duda. They can actually take some of the cheap labor which is basically 75% of their lineup, and make a run at King Felix. All things being equal, PRETENDING we were at 110M already, signing Reyes will produce more ticket sale and merchandise sale revenue than his salary. This is the dumbest discussion ever. They think there is no Jason Werth, Carl Crawford offer out there for him, so why would they bid against themselves? Now we have a Marlin offer, the only thing that scares me about that is that its the second most Latino populated area and a puddle jumper to DR, but from what I hear he moved his whole family to Long Island anyway. It would be moronic to offer him 4/70 or 6/140, but in there somewhere around 18M per year for 5 years with a team option for a 6th or a performance clause for a 6th is exactly what he will get from ANYONE. The Mets are being cheap and hope nobody gives him 6 years or 18M per year and will lowball him after raping him the last 4 years at 6M per year. PAY THE MAN, HE DESERVES IT. NOT ONCE DID HE COMPLAIN, NOT ONCE DID HE SAY HE WOULD RESIGN EARLY, but the Mets organization is simply moronic.
  13. gary s. November 8, 2011 at 12:24 am
    When a team is broke they do one of 2 things.Sell or have a fire sale.They don’t hand out huge multi year free agent contracts.It’s bad for met fans but please face the reality.The ship be sinking folks and the wilpons will not take their hands off the wheel.