According to Adam Rubin on ESPN-NY, Jose Reyes is not interested in negotiating a contract extension after Opening Day. Said Reyes:
“I don’t want to talk about any contract during the season because I want to be focused on doing my thing and help this team to win a lot of ballgames”
And, perhaps in response to new GM Sandy Alderson’s edict that the Mets would wait to “see how he plays” when asked if the team would extend Reyes …
My family is here. They’re comfortable. I’ve got my daughter here going to school. I don’t want to be somewhere else. But, at the same time, I understand this is a business and everybody never knows what’s going to happen. I just want to perform on the field and see what happens after.
It’s too easy — and not fair — to parallel these quotes by Reyes with the recent demands / deadline set forth by Albert Pujols. Though it’s being spun similarly, there is no indication that Reyes is insisting on an extension right now. Would he like one? Of course — he’s clearly happy to be a Met and in New York. I don’t think these quotes are in any way intended to spark the front office to begin negotiating. Rather, Reyes is simply stating what any ballplayer SHOULD state: that he wants to focus on his job and performance on the field once the games begin.
And truly, what would it matter if Reyes’ intention was to establish an ultimatum? The writing is on the wall — Jose Reyes most likely will be in another uniform in 2012 (possibly at some point in 2011). If Reyes has another injury-filled year, or if he has only a so-so year, the Mets probably will let him walk. If he has a spectacular season, Alderson probably won’t offer the long-term deal he’s likely to attract on the open market. The only way I can see him returning to Flushing in 2012 is if he has a horrid season, or misses 100+ games, in which case he’ll need to sign a one-year, incentive-laden contract to rebuild his value.
What I find interesting is that many fans have this notion that the Mets will get a great package of young MLBers and top prospects if Reyes starts out strong and is traded near the deadline. But why would a team give up a big package for a three-month rental? And if such team was in the playoff hunt, they’d be very unlikely to give up anyone on the 25-man roster, and might not be willing to part with near-ready talent, either. I suppose there are a number of things that can happen between now and July, but I’m just not seeing the Mets getting a spectacular return for Reyes in a deadline deal. Maybe if a contending team loses their starting shortstop to injury, and they feel Reyes can both fill in and put them over the top — then maybe they’d give up the farm. Who knows, maybe someone like the Reds would pull the trigger on a deal, or the Brewers; both of those teams seem destined to make a good run yet might be one player short of a championship season.
The way things look, my plan is to savor every at-bat Jose Reyes takes as a Met in 2011, since his days appear numbered. On the flip side, we may be engaging in interesting conversation about him five months from now.