Report: Mets to hold “secret” contract talks with Jose Reyes

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Remember when Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported earlier this week that the Mets could be poised to make a “substantial offer” to Jose Reyes? Well, it appears those talks may already be underway.

Multiple sources tell Mike Puma of the New York Post that indications are the Mets have begun or will soon begin “secret talks” with Reyes’ representatives in hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract in the coming weeks. My question is, how can it be a secret if I’m telling you about it right now?

Of course, we heard last month that Reyes didn’t want to negotiate a new contract during the season, but one source told Puma that it was likely a “smokescreen,” devised to protect the player and organization from fielding daily questions about the situation. I’m not sure a strategy like that can actually work in New York City, especially with a player as popular as Reyes, but I’ll bite.

For what it’s worth, Chris Leible, one of Reyes’ agents and Sandy Alderson have both issued denials of this story. But, hey, if these talks really are a secret, isn’t that exactly what they are supposed to say? The conspiracy lives on.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.