(Long Island, N.Y.) Sandy Alderson finds himself in a quandary. The Mets general manager knows that trading Jose Reyes now and up until July 31 will bring him the biggest net return on his All-Star shortstop, but he will also be losing one of the team’s most popular (and hottest) players.
Reyes is currently hitting .326 with 11 doubles and 12 stolen bases while being his usual slick-fielding self. Not your prototypical leadoff hitter, Reyes has tried to show more patience at the plate this year and has scratched out 12 bases on balls as a result.
With that said, the 26-year-old is looking for a long-term, big money deal that may be out of the Mets’ current budget. The financial issues that the Wilpon family are going through following the Madoff scandal has effected their budget greatly, no matter how much Fred and his son Jeff say differently.
Signing Reyes to the reported seven-year contract he is seeking is also risky as far as the injury factor goes. The shortstop has missed chunks of time since coming up through the Mets farm system in 2003 due to various injuries and ailments and that should always be taken into consideration when only one expensive contract may be affordable. Alderson has to be wise when throwing around whatever money he is green lighted for. An expensive mistake can set the franchise back years.
Being a veteran, Reyes knows that he very well may be traded before the season ends and will not let that affect him. “I’m still a New York Met, so whatever happens, happens,” he told reporters recently. “I just want to play baseball. I’m still on this team, so I’m going to continue to play and continue to do my job.”
Rumors have sprung up of late that involve the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels all interested in Reyes. In may behoove Alderson to begin serious discussions now while all of these teams are still in playoff contention. The later it gets the better chance that a team like the Brewers falls out of the wild card race.
Plus the risk that Reyes gets injured is another factor making a sooner than later trade more sense. If he is going to ultimately be traded, it would be better for Reyes and the Mets to get it over with. The Mets are in last place in the National League East and will not contend at all this summer, so getting some good young prospects in return for a talent like Reyes is a sound business decision. If he walks, the Mets get nothing in return.
Lastly, Reyes has not shown as much immaturity this year as he has in the past. Being fiery is one thing, but some of his antics (such as his meltdown against Jerry Manuel in the former manager’s first game at the helm in 2008) need to cease in order for Reyes to take that next step and become an actual superstar.
Unfortunately, it appears that will not happen in a Met uniform.