The floating topic of a potential Jose Reyes extension ended yesterday, and the answer came right from the horse’s mouth. Star shortstop and upcoming free agent Jose Reyes publicly stated that he would not sign an extension during the regular season. And how did most Mets fans react? Pure panic.
On the one hand, it’s hard to blame fans for reacting in this fashion. The thought of a Mets lineup without the dynamic Reyes would be heart-breaking (and pathetic). But considering Reyes has never experienced free agency–and the rightfully earned pay day that’s associated with it–wasn’t it sort of predictable that the 28-year old would test the waters? The answer should be a unanimous, “Duh.” However, despite his informed decision to collect his due, it hardly marks the end of the Jose Reyes era in Flushing. In fact, there is still reason to have hope.
There is no doubt that if the Mets want to retain Reyes, they’ll have to pay up. Banking on a “hometown discount” is a pipe dream particularly because Reyes is arguably enjoying his finest overall season in the bigs. The oft-smiling shortstop has posted a .336/.380/.508 line with 3 homeruns, 20 doubles, 12 triples, 29 RBI, 54 runs-scored, 26 stolen bases and a 2.9 UZR/150 in the field. His only other comparables are Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, and possibly Starlin Castro (if he continues to grow), so as a prospective free agent, Reyes is in a class of his own.
Before you start photoshopping how Reyes would look in other uniforms, one must consider an important piece of news about Reyes’ loyalty that was glazed over last week. According to ESPN, Reyes has been approached time and time again by mega-agent Scott Boras. Yet despite Boras’ success in netting his clients top shelf contracts, Reyes rebuffed Boras’ attempts to steal him away from Peter Greenberg:
"“No chance [I sign with Boras]. Scott Boras went to Colorado [to visit me in early May], but we didn’t have a chance to meet together. I saw him at the stadium and said hello, but nothing else happened. I’m happy with [Peter Greenberg]. [Scott and I] talked a couple of times on the phone. He’s always tried to get me since the minor leagues, but like I said, I’m happy with my agents.”"
Granted, Reyes retaining his agent is hardly a parallel to him staying with the Mets, but it does speak to a similar sense of loyalty. Jose Reyes knows just as well as anyone else that he’s a valuable player–it’s not a secret. But he also likes being a Met. Heck, his wife wants to stay in New York. Signing an extension right now would limit the leverage Reyes has worked so hard for, but as long as the Mets offer Reyes an open market offer come the off-season, there’s little reason to think the long-time Met will be dazzling elsewhere in 2012 (and beyond).