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.