In an off season highlighted by a lack of available pitching, the market is flush with position players including Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder have led the free agency talks, but Reyes is sure to land a big contract somewhere.
Let me be a little more specific. Reyes may or may not sign a six year $90 million contract with the Miami Marlins, who are also reportedly offering a nine year $225 million contract to Pujols. The Marlins look to make a splash in their new city to rival the big three of the Heat. For the Mets, they haven’t completely given up on bringing back their lead-off man, but this first offer creates a high threshold to cross. The Mets are in a tough spot financially and in the division. If they lose Reyes, especially to a divisional rival, they would have to be favorites for the basement of the highly competitive NL East.
The Mets are bringing in the fences to give their bats a little more pop and it looks like they will let the one speedster suited for the park walk away with a high price tag. While Reyes performed at a high level in his contract year (.337 average, 44 RBI and 39 stolen bases), winning the NL batting title, Reyes has only hit .300 or better in two other seasons including his rookie year. There are also questions about health after two stints on the disabled list this season. The shortstop is not as young nor as fast as he used to be and his stolen base numbers have severely declined.
Reyes leaving may set the Mets in a hole for a couple of seasons while the develop young talent, but in the long term it could turn out to be the best non-signing they could make. They clearly need more depth in the rotation and will look for a big bopper in the middle of the lineup.
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