There’s buzz today after Jose Reyes’ stellar game Tuesday night when he reached base six times, unbelievably three times on walks.
It is the kind of game the Mets routinely expect from Reyes, but one not often received the last two seasons because of a variety of injuries.
That the Mets couldn’t parlay such a performance into victory says that as potentially potent Reyes can be, this team still has weaknesses it must fix before it can return to contender status. These are holes that can be filled in part by what Reyes might bring back in a trade.
Bottom line: The Mets aren’t a contender now with Reyes and likely won’t be one if they deal him without making complementary deals.
Reyes passed the audition in the eyes of the San Francisco Giants, who, like every other team are discussing their options, of who interests them and whom they are willing to offer.
It is too early for serious trade discussions, but not too early to laying the foundation for when things heat up in June and July.
The Giants have not made and offer to the Mets for Reyes, but are doing their research. For the Giants, they will undoubtedly ask for a negotiating window, but if denied, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean should have already decided whether he will sacrifice one of their top pitching talents or prospects to acquire Reyes as a rental.
From the Mets’ perspective, general manager Sandy Alderson must decide whether the return off prospects from the Giants, or Boston, or whomever wants Reyes, is greater than the draft picks they would get should the All-Star shortstop leave via free agency.
Alderson wanted to see two things from Reyes before deciding the 27-year-old shortstop’s fate in New York. The first was Reyes’ health, especially his legs and the first returns have been positive, although I find it puzzling as to why he didn’t try to steal second late in the game.
Secondly, Alderson wanted to see Reyes perform and for the most part he has with a .325 average and 11 steals in 29 games, but there were concerns about his on-base percentage before it surged to .377 last night. Still, an elite leadoff hitter, as Reyes is supposed to be, should be north of .400.
Reyes’ career on-base percentage is .336 and he has averaged 81 strikeouts and 51 walks a year during his career. The latter two numbers need to be reversed.
Reportedly the asking price for Reyes is a package of $100 million-plus, which Alderson said the Mets can afford, although they might not have much left for little else. With Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and likely Francisco Rodriguez off the books there should be plenty of money left after this season to bring back Reyes if they really wanted.
The Mets don’t appear inclined to push things with Reyes. Alderson said he’s not adverse to talking contract during the season, although Reyes has said to the contrary.
Alderson still has time to see if Reyes remains healthy and productive. Whether Reyes stays or not, the Mets will receive something in return.
What they really must decide is if they want Reyes instead.