Now that New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes has remained in New York post the MLB trade deadline, we can all officially transition from trade rumors to speculation on his next contract.
The debate surrounding what the Mets -- or any team for that matter -- should offer him will only begin to heat up as the season winds down and the offseason begins. What should a franchise offer a dynamic, top-of-the-order shortstop who plays plus defense, but has dealt with a myriad of leg injuries -- two this year -- throughout his career? And who will really want to commit all the resources to bring a player like that aboard?
According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, the two hamstring injuries this year "might not" hinder Reyes' contract because a shortstop of Reyes' ilk rarely hits the market.
And who else will be interested? (According to Heyman)
Rival executives identified no less than nine teams that could be a fit for Reyes both in terms of finances and the playing field. Those teams are the Giants, Cardinals, Tigers, Angels, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees in addition to the incumbent Mets, who already have made clear they will make a play for the popular homegrown star who still leads the National League in batting average (.336), runs (80) and triple (16), even after missing significant time.
While you can never count them out, the Yankees are unlikely to offer Reyes a contract with Derek Jeter still occupying the shorstop position. The Red Sox, who are always players for big-name free agents, may be interested, but they jsut spent close to $300 million last offseason.
The Mets have been said to not be privy to the idea of offering Reyes a Carl Crawford-type contract (seven years, $142 million). There have been rumblings of them offering a five-year deal around $90 million, but Reyes may push for more years -- or more guaranteed money. And it remains to be seen what other teams would be willing to offer.
Heyman concludes with:
Reyes is said by people close to him to badly want to remain a Met. But at this stage, with free agency almost here, it is rare that offers that are seen as hometown discounts win the day. Perhaps if the Mets stretched it to six years, they'd have a better shot. But even after Reyes' latest injury, based on the history of free agency, five years is unlikely to get it done.