This morning we saw the shocking — shocking! — news that a player approaching free agency wants $X, and his team wants to pay him something less than $X. That’s Jose Reyes and the Mets, in case you didn’t know.
Perhaps because he’s felt this all along and perhaps he realized that stories like this morning’s story will persist for the next several months if he doesn’t do anything to stop it, Reyes said today that he does not want to negotiate with the Mets about a contract extension during the season. This is the smart play for Reyes because any contract chatter does little to actually help Reyes while he’s with the Mets.
Given the year he’s having, he’d be better off hitting the market and letting the bidding go high. And even if he’s inclined to stay with the Mets, in-season negotiations would just lead to someone friendly to the team whispering to the press that Reyes is being greedy or unrealistic or something in the event that no easy agreement was reached. And given the Mets’ financial straits and Fred Wilpon’s comments in that New Yorker article there won’t be.
So a smart play by Reyes: let the possibilities of him being traded or not be the Mets problem, and let the market for his services after 2011 take care of itself when that market becomes mature next fall. Everything else would just lead to bigger headaches.