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.