Prior to the 2011 season, nearly every baseball writer (national and local alike) was convinced Jose Reyes was going to be traded during the season. They had no facts to back it up, but it just "seemed" right to them. Their absurd claims caused tons of Mets fans to have near nervous breakdowns, while a select group of fans chose to look at things rationally - realizing that it made no sense to trade Jose Reyes, and that it wasn't going to happen.
As Jon Heyman surmised in an article on June 20th:
For a while, it appeared that his (Reyes) being traded was a foregone conclusion...
No, Jon, it didn't. Jose Reyes being traded made for good articles, sold papers, added clicks to websites, and drove Mets fans crazy. It was never close to being a foregone conclusion, nor was it ever likely.
Now that free agency is about to get underway, the media is at it again. Nearly every writer and talking head is shouting for all the world to hear that Jose Reyes is a goner. There's no way he'll be signing with the "cash-strapped" Mets, they say. They claim that Sandy Alderson (who it's pretty clear does not allow major leaks out of his front office) won't be willing to offer what it takes to re-sign Reyes (even though no one has any idea what it will actually take). All the media claims to know is that whatever the final number is, Alderson will shy away.
My favorite has to be today's headline above Andy Martino's article. That headline states that
"GM Sandy Alderson says Mets plan to make low contract offer to Free Agent SS Jose Reyes."
The only problem with that headline is that nowhere in the article is there any statement or hint from Alderson at what the Mets' offer will be (low, moderate, or otherwise). This is completely reckless journalism, pandering to the segment of the fan base that is gullible enough to believe it.
The "juiciest" quote in Martino's article is this one:
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.
The above quote is not only vague...it's also not from anyone who actually works for the Mets. Even if Martino claimed the quote was from a Mets executive (which it isn't), it could also be seen as a negotiating ploy. Why would anyone in the Mets' front office come out publicly and tip their hand? The answer, of course, is that they wouldn't - especially considering how tight lipped things have been under Sandy Alderson.
What I want to know from the writers and talking heads is this: What exactly has changed from July (when the Mets refused to trade Reyes) to now? From my end, the only major development that can potentially impact the Mets' finances was the positive ruling the Wilpon's received in the Bernard Madoff/Irving Picard lawsuit. Sandy Alderson indicated that the 2012 payoll would likely be around $110 million, of which only $65 million is currently allocated. Jose Reyes stated repeatedly during the season that he wanted to remain with the Mets (when he could've easily said "no comment" or been non-commital). According to Ken Rosenthal on Twitter, Sandy Alderson recently asked Jose Reyes' agents what it would take - in both dollars and years - to take Jose Reyes off the market. Reyes' agents failed to respond, likely because they've been determined all along to take Reyes to free agency. It certainly sounds to me like Sandy Alderson is serious about retaining him. However, he's being prudent and is refusing to set the market.
If Sandy Alderson either didn't have the payroll flexibility to keep Reyes or simply didn't want to keep him, you'd think he would've been more open to trading him over the summer. He wasn't. We heard a few weeks ago (from the writers, of course), that the Mets would seek a quick answer from Reyes' agents and would move on if they didn't receive it. Well, it appears that assumption was false, with Alderson himself stating yesterday that it will be a "slow process," and intimating that the Mets are prepared to wait it out.
If some team comes out and guarantees Jose Reyes 7 or 8 years, he'll most likely be playing elsewhere in 2012. I simply can't see that happening, though. Perhaps someone guarantees 6 years for Reyes, but perhaps no one will guarantee more than 5. I'm confident, though, that the Mets' front office knows what they're doing. I'm confident that they want Jose Reyes back, and that Reyes wants to stay (as he himself stated over and over during the season). I surmised during the season, when most Mets fans were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, that it simply made no sense for the Mets to trade Reyes - and that the Mets wouldn't trade Reyes. With Reyes about to hit the open market, the only prediction I can make is this: No one knows a thing about what the Mets or anyone else will offer Jose Reyes. Until we do, it makes no sense to doubt the Mets' chances of re-signing him for 2012 and beyond. It makes for a good story, but it's a story that's not based in reality. A story designed to get attention, not designed to be factual.