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The New York Mets hopes of retaining All Star SS Jose Reyes could end before the Winter Meetings even kick off in Dallas on Monday. ESPN Deportes is reporting the Miami Marlins have offered Reyes a five year, $106 million contract, a number that is thought to be well beyond what the Mets can afford.
The Marlins offer would include a team-option for a seventh year for $22 million or a $5 million buyout, bringing the minimum total value of the deal to $111.
In what should be a common theme this offseason with the Wilpon family still running the Mets, it's likely the team will miss out on any free agent that is looking for anything close to market price.
Much like last season, expect New York to scan the bargain bin and hope to get lucky the way they did with P Chris Capuano last season. Capuano, if you'll remember, had a bounce back season for the Mets in 2011 and then promptly left in free agency when the Mets weren't interested in a second year which the Los Angeles Dodgers offered for $5 million.
Many felt the Mets were confident they would be able to keep Reyes if the Marlins stayed near their original offer of six years and $90 million.
Following up their signing of closer Heath Bell away from the San Diego Chargers by adding Reyes will officially propel the Marlins past the Mets in the division. With the Washington Nationals ready to spend big, New York should be the popular pick to reside in last place in the NL East in 2012 and the foreseeable future.
For seven seasons, in the midst of all the ups and (more so) downs, the New York Mets have had one constant: the left side of their infield has been comprised of two talented homegrown players. Yet next season -- due to financial limitations and general on-field struggles -- the Mets may have to face the harsh reality of moving on from their dynamic shortstop, Jose Reyes ... and possibly even more.
The free agent may price himself out of the Mets' market and general manager Sandy Alderson may believe No. 1 - that money is better spent elsewhere and No.2 - a total rebuild is in order for the Amazin's to become long-term contenders again. But if his third baseman David Wright has any say, he'd like to see Reyes be part of the answer.
"Obviously nothing is official," Wright said (as quoted by ESPN NY's Christopher Hunt), referring to reports that the Marlins have extended an initial offer to last season's batting champion worth $90 million. "Hopefully, the organization values him the way that I value him. I think he's one of the premier players in baseball. I think that what he brings to the team is more than just what you see on the field."
Granted, Wright has had a few guys play to his left over the last several years because of Reyes' injury problems, but it will obviously be tough for him to see his friend leave town. From a baseball standpoint, these two have really been the only bright spots for a franchise that has acted like a third-world organization in a first-rate market.
From 2006 to 2008, the Mets won 97, 88 and 89 games, but they haven't won more than 79 games in the three years since. Over the years, the front office has failed to develop an adequate farm system and has doled out ill-conceived, high-priced contracts year after year.
As a result, Alderson is tasked with cleaning up the mess and building the organization the right way. Thus, there's no guarantee that the marquee man at the hot corner will even be around next season, as Alderson has said -- and rightfully so -- that nobody is untouchable.
"I made it very clear that I enjoy playing here," Wright said. "But ultimately that's a decision that I have zero control over. At the end of the day, if it happens, it happens.
"If not ... " he said before pausing briefly, "I know I'm preparing to come in here and play third base next year. So if it happens, you know, it would be a surprise."
If you've been a fan of the Mets over the years, you've got to believe that Wright would want nothing but to make it all work in New York. Never has his heart for this franchise been questioned. And at 28, he is still in the middle of his prime. Most of all, he's been a laudable ambassador for the organization, through thick and thin.
Take a step back from your fanhood and realize, though, that the Mets -- even with Reyes and Wright -- are far from from being perennial contenders. It's clear that Alderson's No. 1 priority is to develop the minor league system, then go from there. But, it takes time ... and by the time his plan is realized at the major-league level, one has to wonder if either Reyes or Wright will be a part of it all.
The free agent hot stove is beginning to simmer, especially with regard to shortstop Jose Reyes. Earlier Tuesday, FOX Sports reported that the Miami Marlins offered Reyes a six-year, $90 million deal. Then, in the evening, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted that the Mets would be comfortable with that per-year dollar amount, though the chances that's what Reyes ultimately ends up with remains unlikely
"Assuming report of $90M (sic) for 6 from miami for reyes is right, mets think they can play there. No 1 expects that to be final # tho," Heyman tweeted.
At the beginning of the offseason, rumblings from the front office indicated that they'd be unwilling to offer Reyes anything larger than a five-year deal, so the chances the general manager Sandy Alderson would match an offer like this doesn't seem too high. What's also obvious is that while this is just the first offer, Reyes hasn't accepted it -- despite the reported mutual interest between Reyes and the Marlins -- so he believes he can get more somewhere. You'd have to think some team would pay him more than $15 million per.
The other problem for the Mets, according to FOX Sports, is that Reyes is very much intrigued by the Marlins and playing for Ozzie Guillen, a former shortstop. Part of the allure with Miami is that the climate is warm, the stadium has a retractive roof and he wouldn't have to play as many games in the northeast, thus possibly helping him stay healthy.
Last week, the Marlins also made offers to Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle and Ryan Madson -- in addition to the 28-year-old shortstop. But many within the industry are unsure whether the Marlins are serious about truly making a splash this offseason, according to FOX Sports.
Alderson will continue to monitor this situation, but it's clear that the Mets are on the backburner right now because they really won't be able to compete financially -- and the GM isn't a fan of such a long-term deal.
Earlier Monday, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that he anticipates free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes to sign in the near future with the Miami Marlins. This was bolstered by a report by SNY's Kevin Burkhardt, who also was told that the Marlins are "very confident" that it will happen and that he is the "centerpiece" of their entire offseason.
So it's only fitting, on the backdrop of all these Reyes-to-Miami rumors that New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson caught up with reporters on the scene to discuss the prized free agent.
Altogether, the Mets front-office boss thinks this is going to be a slow process and he is ready and willing to wait it out. There have been discussions between he and Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg, since Reyes visited Miami last week. But Greenberg is out of the country now so no team will be able to negotiate with him at the GM meetings this week.
"We've had some conversations," as quoted by Rubin. I wouldn't classify them as substantive -- more than phone tag. ... I don't want to get into any detail. But I also while saying I don't want to comment, I don't want to give you the false impression that we are anywhere along the road. I still think it's early, notwithstanding all the background noise from the last week.
Prior to the offseason, Alderson had asked Greenberg if Reyes could come back to him with the offers on the table so that the Mets would have a final opportunity to make an offer. But the GM said that has not been "promised" to him.
In terms of if payroll was affecting the Mets' pursuit of one of the game's most exciting players, Aldeson was pretty non-committal:
"I wouldn't say that's strictly the case -- that if the payroll were higher we would definitely re-sign Jose. I wouldn't say that was necessarily the case."
The new limitations will certainly to make things more difficult this offseason, and therefore almost impossible to meet Reyes' supposed $100-million demands (per NY Post's Joel Sherman). Regardless, Alderson has a very methodical approach, he's patient and he's calculated. In many cases, it's almost better to wait around, let the market define a player's value and then see if you can intercept and make an intriguing offer. The problem you run into, though, is that if someone like Reyes gets what he wants immediately and early on in free agency, he may accept right away -- it's tough to say, though. Thus, Alderson runs the risk of losing out entirely without making any legitimate offer.
ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting today that he expects free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes to sign soon with the newly-named Miami Marlins.
“There is an expectation they will work something out with Reyes for something in the range of five years, $18-20M a year. They are seen as the team that’s going to be most aggressive and he certainly fits the style that Ozzie Guillen loves to play. He loves to have a team that runs the bases aggressively, puts pressure on opposing defenses. Reyes would be a centerpiece for that with Hanley Ramirez moving to another position.”
If you are a Twitter user you likely know that a report hit the Twitter-verse Sunday that the Reyes-to-the-Marlins deal was done, but that the report was quickly found to be inaccurate.
When word like this comes from a reputable source like Olney, however, you have to think this is going to happen. The Mets certainly can’t match those numbers.
The most interesting dynamic in all of this, for me, will be to see how the moody Hanley Ramirez takes being booted off shortstop by Reyes’ arrival.
Jose Reyes has his first significant free-agent offer of the offseason, and it comes from the newly-aggressive Miami Marlins. Team owner Jeffrey Loria said Friday that with a new team name and new stadium comes a new attitude, admitting that he made offers to Reyes, slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher Mark Buehrle.
“We’re looking at everyone and we want to make this team as special as we can,” said Loria, who confirmed that offers were made to each of the three players. “We would be foolish not to entertain the possibilities of some of these players. It’s a new page. With this new stadium, we want to step into a new light.”
No word on the size of the offer to Reyes, or to any of the big-name free agents targeted by the Marlins.
An interesting note, though, in that current Marlins shorstop Hanley Ramirez, an often-moody star, does not appear thrilled about moving to third base if Reyes decides to join the Marlins.
“I’m a shortstop right now, so I don’t know. I consider myself a shortstop,” he said.
Ramirez’ attitude is actually something Reyes might want to consider before he makes any decision.
This MLB offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers are in a similar situation as the New York Mets: resigned to the fact that their future may not include their homegrown free-agent star. While Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes may "price" themselves out of each organization's market, the Brewers differ in that they have an expensive contingency plan in place, and that's New York's free-agent shortstop.
According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, Milwaukee is said "to be targeting Reyes" because Fielder, essentially, will be too expensive for the franchise to retain. The slugger is seeking a contract in excess of $180 million and eight years. The report also confirms the Florida Marlins' interest, and says that the 28-year-old shortstop is "tops" on both franchise's free-agent lists this offseason. The Detroit Tigers are also said to be mulling whether to step into the ring.
Fielder and Reyes may command similar dollar amounts, however, Heyman believes that the contract length will be shorter based on his injury history, and that may be more manageable for Milwaukee.
Reports have surfaced that the Mets are unwilling to give Reyes anything more than a five-year deal, but no dollar amounts have leaked, just yet. General manager Sandy Alderson was rebuffed by Reyes' agent when he requested the figures to which the star would agree, thus the front-office boss asked Reyes to come back to him once he surveyed the market.
The hot stove is only a tad warm ... but as it heats up, it's becoming clearer that the Mets will have to throw cold water on their chances of retaining Reyes: the more teams that engage in talks with the shortstop, the less likely he will fit into their penny-pinching budget. Competition breeds dollar signs New York will not be able to match.
The New York Mets are sure to face plenty of competition when it comes to signing free agent SS Jose Reyes, but the stiffest might come from within their own division. It appears that Reyes and his agent will meet with the Miami Marlins this week to talk about taking his talents to South Beach.
While Reyes meeting with the Marlins isn't a surprise, it's certainly interesting that it would be the first "leaked" face-to-face the All-Star is having in what should be a drawn out process.
The Marlins already have a Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, but they also have a brand new ballpark to open and no doubt want a shiny new toy or two they can show off. Ramirez -- currently recovering from shoulder surgery -- could shift to third base, giving the Marlins one of the best SS-3B combinations in the majors.
Though the Marlins are just the first of many teams to make their pitch to Reyes, it isn't the number of suitors that will keep Reyes away from the Mets. It's just the one that decides to hand the shortstop a Carl Crawford-esque 7-year, $140 million contract. If that team ends up being the Marlins or not there's no way to tell, but with all the teams ready to spend big money this offseason, it's just a matter of time before it happens.
With the Mets unlikely to go beyond five-years on any contract for the injury prone Reyes, the odds of him sticking around Citi Field aren't good right now.
The New York Mets appear to be resigned to the reality that they will lose star shortstop Jose Reyes to another team this winter. Joel Sherman of the New York Post quotes a Mets official as saying the team believes it has "no shot" at getting Reyes to sign at the 'reasonable' price the organization says it would consider.
Sherman says the Mets would offer Reyes four years at $15 to $17 million, but they expect him to be "blown away" by a much larger offer from somewhere else. Considering that Carl Crawford got a seven-year, $142-million deal from Boston last winter that inclination is probably right.
Here are a few other Reyes' rumors floating around the Inter-Google:
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has made it pretty obvious, and day by day his message becomes clearer: Jose Reyes will only be re-signed at the GM's terms and New York will not hamstring its abilities this offseason -- and into the future -- by breaking the bank for him.
The Mets enter this offseason with a payroll that will be reduced to around $100-110 million -- or even less. Johan Santana, David Wright, Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey comprise about 65 percent of that projected limit. Further complicating matters is that New York has a number of holes to patch up this offseason and keeping Reyes crimps Alderson's ability to improve the team in other areas.
Just reading between the lines, it's obvious that the likelihood that Reyes stays is very slim, especially if he wants long-term security and a hefty pay raise. It seems like the best chance of him staying is at a hometown discount.
The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that Alderson is not comfortable doling out a long multiyear deal for the talented, but injury prone Reyes, saying:
"Sources familiar with the team's thinking have maintained that the Mets are unwilling to offer six or seven years, and might be uncomfortable with five."
In speaking with reporters, Alderson admitted that Reyes' market value is tough to pinpoint because of his obvious on-field ability, but also the fact that he's had trouble staying healthy. Thus, New York will set the bar low for Reyes, and not "overwhelm" the shorstop. In effect, they'll allow Reyes' other suitors to set the bar.
"Let him go do the dance, and see how (other teams) value him," a source told The News on Friday. "Why should we set the market?"
The ramifications of Reyes' ultimate decision will affect the organization for at least the next half-decade, and becomes more complicated with the decrease in payroll. Hence, the cautious approach by the front office:
"We have a sense of where we would be comfortable or slightly less comfortable (or) totally uncomfortable," Alderson said as quoted by the NY Daily News.
If one thing's certain, many Mets fans won't be comfortable this offseason until they know Reyes is back in blue and orange.
The New York Mets don't want to set the market when it comes to the free-agent bidding for Jose Reyes
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