Kevin Kernan of the New York Post is the latest scribe to jump on the “Jose Reyes’s days with the Met are numbered” bandwagon — in fact Kernan’s Wednesday column is aptly titled “Reyes Days with Mets Numbered.” I’m just not buying it.
I know all about the Mets financial problems, and this decision will come down to money. If Reyes insists on taking this to free agency and he can score a “Carl Crawford-like” contract as the media dubbed it, then yes, he will likely not be a Met next year. There is no way the Mets are paying anyone upwards of $140 million whose name is not Pujols (and he would cost double that).
But if Reyes is healthy (which he is) and he is having one of his vintage years, I can see the Mets trying to sign him to a long-term deal in the middle of the season. What if the Mets offered him a four-year, $60 million deal? That is conceivable, considering the Mets have only $65 million committed for 2012. That still leaves $20 million to spend towards a payroll of $100 million, which is where I think the Mets will end up.
But would Reyes take it? In 2006 he signed what amounted to a five-year deal that paid him an average of nearly $7 million per year. He said he took what some considered a below-market deal so he could secure his family’s financial future. Assuming that is still secure, is Reyes willing to take a shorter, but still lucrative offer to stay with the Mets, or would he risk getting injured in the second half of the season and throwing that $60 million away?
I have a feeling Reyes would take it. $15 million for a shortstop is nothing to sneeze at. Some guy named Jeter just signed for a little more than that across town, and he’s already a legend. How much more would Reyes command on the open market? Not much more, in my opinion.
It would make sense from the Mets point of view as well. Reyes is the second most popular player on a team whose fan base is already disenchanted. Do they really want to push more fans away? It also makes sense as a baseball decision. Reyes sparks the entire team. Who leads off if he’s not around?
In conclusion, don’t believe the hype and assume Reyes’s days as a Mets are numbered. As we know all know, anything can happen with the New York Mets.