Commentary

Deal? No way, Jose; you stay, Mets say

Trading injured Reyes is very unlikely, GM says; Mets will try to re-sign their All-Star

Updated: July 8, 2011, 8:57 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

LOS ANGELES -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson settled Thursday what had become abundantly clear during the last month or more anyway: The New York Mets will retain shortstop Jose Reyes for the remainder of the season, then make an attempt to sign the free-agent-to-be next winter.

Blunt on the topic of Reyes' future with the ballclub -- Alderson even pointed out how uncharacteristically direct he was being on the topic -- the GM said there was little chance he would trade Reyes.

Alderson added that even if Reyes hadn't suffered a left hamstring strain that prompted the shortstop to land on the 15-day disabled list before the series finale against the Dodgers, the Mets would have been inclined to retain him beyond the July 31 trade deadline.

The Mets will make a good-faith effort to re-sign Reyes in the winter. If Reyes ends up walking as a free agent, the Mets will have to be content collecting two draft picks as compensation.

[+] EnlargeJose Reyes
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesPerhaps Jose Reyes' injury doesn't help the Mets' chances of re-signing him, but it sure didn't hurt 'em.

"I think it's very unlikely that Jose will be traded this season," Alderson said. "And that's without regard to his injury."

No one wanted to see Reyes suffer the hamstring injury, or for the recovery to be so slow as to necessitate a trip to the disabled list and Reyes' missing another opportunity to play in the All-Star Game. Still, it is worth noting this unintentional byproduct: Perhaps Reyes' trip to the DL ever-so-slightly improves the Mets' chances of retaining him.

Clearly the Mets will make an effort to retain Reyes. But would Alderson ever go to the seven years some other team might be inclined to offer off a monster year by the shortstop? Probably not. Now, it would seem to reason, whatever owner/GM combo that might have been willing to give the Carl Crawford-type deal Reyes will seek perhaps has slightly more pause. Reyes' injury history is not just a thing of past seasons, but of the present, as well.

Reyes, for his part, said he was not thinking about that. And rightly so.

He still does not want in-season contract talks with the Mets, which he reiterated Thursday.

"Nothing has changed," said Reyes, who plans to attempt to ride a stationary bicycle Friday.

"I don't want to go out to the field too soon and then blow out my hamstring," he said.

Alderson denied, and had fun with, a published report suggesting he would engage Reyes' camp in in-season contract talks while keeping it a secret.

Alderson had announced last month that he approached Reyes' agents to initiate extension talks, and the shortstop's side preferred to have no in-season conversations.

"I'll give you a secret signal when the secret negotiations start," Alderson quipped.

More seriously, Alderson added about the June conversation: "We reached out. They respectfully declined, which I think was an appropriate response on their part. And so we honor that. There's nothing going on otherwise."

Even secretly?

"Even secretly," Alderson said. "Even super-secretly."

Alderson said doctors informed him Reyes would not be available at least for another seven to 10 days. So the decision to place Reyes on the DL was obvious, even if there were no regrets about waiting until Reyes' fifth game out of the lineup to promote Nick Evans and deactivate the shortstop.

"I wouldn't say that he wasn't making any progress, but [it was] slow progress," Alderson said about Reyes. "Also, the doctors told us that it would be surprising if he were ready to go in seven to 10 days -- likely two weeks. It could take somewhat longer than that.

"So given everything we heard from the doctors as well as just observing Jose on a daily basis, and recognizing his legs are the key to his performance and that once he did start to run again there was going to be maximum strain, it made sense for us to bring somebody else in.

"I think it was important for us to be realistic. At the same time, I was happy that we took the time to allow events to unfold and his condition to reveal itself over the first four or five days after the injury."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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