Is Jose Reyes on the trading block?

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That’s the rumor from Matt Pignataro at 7 Train to Shea.  I don’t know Matt and I don’t know his source, but he’s saying that the Mets “have put word out to teams” that Reyes is available and that they’ll look to trade him during the Winter Meetings.

Plausible, as Reyes has real value. If I was going to rebuild the Mets that’s who I’d consider trading precisely because he could bring value on a thin market for middle infielders. Not that rebuilding is Sandy Alderson’s only option. It’s entirely possible that he could try to rearrange things and make one last run at a winner with a Wright-Reyes-Beltran-Santana core over the next couple of years.  But that would likely cost some money, and depending on how constrained the Wilpons are financially, it may not be possible.

Reyes is due $11 million in 2011, and will be a free agent after that. He hit .282/.321/.428 in 133 games last season, which is well off expectations.  His walks were way down. Still, he’s one of the better shortstops in the game.  And remember: his offseason and spring workout/prep schedule was basically destroyed by that thyroid condition, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that a lot of his struggles were a function of starting off all late and awkward like that.

If I was a contender and in need of a shortstop, I wouldn’t hesitate to kick the tires or express interest or whatever it is GMs do this time of year.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).