Mets will take time before making Reyes offer
Club likely to let current exclusive negotiating period pass
NEW YORK -- The Mets do not plan to make an offer to free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes anytime soon, general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday, nor do they expect Reyes to sign before December.
"Things are going to go slow, which I think is typical of most if not all free agents," Alderson said. "That's not just because players are attracted to other clubs, but because they're not really sure what the market is."
Though the Mets are in the middle of a five-day exclusive negotiating period with Reyes, they do not expect to make him an offer before it expires. Offering Reyes a contract would not be productive, the team feels, until other teams set what Alderson called a "less-defined market" for a unique free agent.
Alderson does not expect Reyes to approach the Mets with a bottom-line figure of what it would take for the shortstop to forego free agency and return to New York. Though the Mets have constructed an internal budget for how much they are willing to spend on Reyes, they have little idea if another team will blow that away with a far superior offer.
So they will wait. Though the Mets have made it clear that retaining Reyes is a priority, there is a limit to how much they are willing to spend.
"We all have to recognize that certain players are more important to the fan base than others," Alderson said.
Setting a market for Reyes may be uncommonly difficult considering the lack of precedent -- no shortstop with his unique skill set and injury history has hit the open market in recent years. Carl Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal with the Red Sox last winter, perhaps comes closest. But Crawford was an outfielder without any significant injury history.
For now, the Mets will simply proceed with their other offseason priorities -- bullpen help and rotation depth -- and deal with Reyes later. Even if the shortstop does not re-sign with New York, the club still plans for its final 2012 payroll to fall in the $100-$110 million range.
"We're not going punt 2012 if Jose doesn't re-sign," Alderson said.
Alderson unlikely to shop Wright this winter
NEW YORK -- The Mets could look to trade third baseman David Wright this winter. Their general manager just does not see it happening.
"Do I think he'll be a Met next year?" Sandy Alderson said Monday. "Yes."
Though Alderson is not opposed to the idea trading any player, the Mets' financial constraints and Wright's declining efficiency -- his cost vs. production -- make it unlikely that he will shop his starting third baseman to any great extent this winter.
Rumors have abounded all year that finances may prevent the Mets from retaining both Wright and free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes. But Wright's $16 million team option for 2013 would become void if the Mets deal him to another team, drastically limiting his trade value. Given that, along with Wright's overall decrease in value and his importance as a marketing symbol in New York, and it appears much more likely that the franchise will retain him at least through next season.
Wright hit .255 with 14 home runs this season, missing more than two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.
First baseman Ike Davis continues to work out at his home Arizona, and the Mets still expect him to be ready for Opening Day. Davis missed the final four months of last season with a bone bruise in his left ankle, ultimately choosing rehab over a risky microfracture operation.
Though general manager Sandy Alderson did not dismiss the possibility of Daniel Murphy starting next season as the Mets' second baseman, he indicated that Murphy will most likely open the year in a utility role.