Mets’ future bleak without Jose Reyes

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Not only are the Mets losing their best player, but it looks like they’re losing him to the one team they beat in the NL East standings last season.

Jose Reyes appears to be leaving for Florida without the Mets having even made an official offer. Reports indicated that they might be willing to spend about $80 million for five years, but that was never going to get it done, not for the No. 3 free agent on the market. Reyes may struggle to stay healthy, but he’s an above average defender at a premium position and he just won the NL batting crown.

Without Reyes, the Mets are looking at Ruben Tejada at shortstop. He’s a nice fallback after posting a .360 OBP at the tender age of 21 in 328 at-bats for the Mets last season. Still, he’s never going to be a Reyes. Superstars in their prime are so tough to come by, and the Mets are letting one go without a fight. They may have another in David Wright, but Wright has hardly played like one these last two years.

Absent Reyes, the Mets lineup currently looks something like this:

SS Tejada
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Wright
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
RF Lucas Duda
CF Angel Pagan
C Josh Thole

And that’s if they don’t non-tender Pagan to save an extra $5 million.

The rotation may be more of a strength if Johan Santana can string together 190 innings. R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese and Mike Pelfrey would make for a solid two, three and four. The bullpen, on the other hand, is in serious need of a couple of power arms, and the budget might not have room for more than the likes of Matt Capps.

It all points to the Mets falling into last place next year. The minor league system is in better shape than it’s been in years, but the turnaround isn’t likely to come quick.

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.