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.

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.