The New York Mets have a tremendous talent who is playing in what may be his final home stand as a Mets player. His name is Jose Reyes. Every baseball fan is beginning to salivate over the potential of a healthy Reyes being added to their team. And why shouldn't they?
Jose Reyes is the most dynamic single player in the game today. He is the prototype of a leadoff hitter. He has speed. He has power to hit in the gap. He creates runs where there is nothing to create. He changes the game when he is base. The opposing pitcher is distracted by his speed and hurries his pitches. Reyes is a different breed of player in the league.
When he hits the open market, teams will begin fighting over him. He is easily the most coveted free agent coming into the market.There will be several major names available, but few teams will be able to afford them. Reyes is the one player every team is willing to take a chance on. He is the most obvious choice for any team to want to add.
This sounds oddly familiar. The NBA had a similar scenario just a year ago. Lebron James decided to leave the team that drafted him, the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he had great success in turning a franchise around in order to test free agency. Sound familiar now?
The Mets signed Reyes as a teenager. They brought him up when they were struggling. He, along with a few others, led them to the NLCS just a few years ago. He has had success here. Now he is curious about his worth on the free agent market. Lebron James turned his experience into a mockery and a nationally televised event for advertisers and ESPN to benefit from.
While I doubt that will happen with Reyes, still, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Both have had several teams trying to court them. Lebron James had President Obama trying to convince him to consider the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks, the Nets, the Bulls, the Lakers, the Celtics, and the Cavs were all rumored to have interest and players courting James.
Jose Reyes has had former teammate Carlos Beltran speaking up for him to come to San Francisco, Ryan Braun has suggested he'd love to have Reyes in Milwaukee. Red Sox players have spoken up for him. Alex Rodriguez stated that Reyes is the best player in baseball this past summer. They are all lining up to make their pitch for their respective teams.
Both James and Reyes were and are considered the single game-changing free agent at the time of them entering free agency. Both were home grown talents looking for greener grass somewhere else. Just like the Cavs were in the final running for Lebron, the Mets will be in the final running for Reyes.
After all, it's hard to let go of what you already know. Change is hard. Reyes is settled in and happy in New York. The trouble is when all the other teams get involved in offering him a deal, his free agency will explode into a media storm.
Imagine this: the Phillies (who will be thinking of parting with Rollins), the Yankees (who may be thinking of Reyes more to hurt the Red Sox), the Red Sox (who have platooned short stops for years to no avail), the Angels (who need speed since they lost Chone Figgins), the Brewers, the Dodgers, the Nationals, the Rays, etc all get involved in the sweepstakes for Jose Reyes.
Then Reyes has to choose not just location, but money. Let's say the Mets offer him $50 million and two years less than the Phillies or Yankees, don't blame him for taking it. No one in their right mind would turn that difference down. Who would turn down that much money to take a hometown discount? No one.
The Mets will need to make a longer and more expensive offer than they want to if they decide they need him. Otherwise, get used to seeing him somewhere they don't want him to be. That's what the Cleveland fans had to face when Lebron James landed in Miami with two other All Stars (Wade and Bosch). A team that stood in their way when James was with Cleveland, now James is with the enemy.
Mets fans will not be happy with the end result. The buildup of bidding in the market will push Reyes out of the Mets' reach. This is not a scenario fans or the Mets really want, but it may be a reality. The Mets claim they need a closer next year. They will need to sign at least one starting pitcher and two others for the bullpen. They will need an outfielder too.
There are too many holes to fill to spend that much on Reyes. They already have a fortune locked in to Johan Santana, Jason Bay and David Wright. If they add more to it for Reyes, they will be way over their self-imposed cap maximum of $120 million after signing everyone else.
Logically speaking, Reyes will have to accept a much more disappointing offer from them than he expects if he wants to stay. Like Lebron, the temptation may be too great for him not to leave.