Mets fans are used to bad news, but the scuttlebutt that the team failed to re-sign Jose Reyes, their star shortstop and the only good thing in the organization this past season, seems to be the worst news in a really long time. Sources say Reyes has agreed to a $102 million deal over six years with the Florida Marlins, with a $22 million option for a seventh year plus a guaranteed $4 million. The Marlins had initially offered $90 million over six years, but now the Miami Herald reports, "By increasing their offer to Reyes, they knocked the Mets out of the running to hang on to their shortstop. The Mets were reportedly willing to give Reyes no more than five-year deal worth $75 to $80 million."
ESPN explains, "Reyes, 28, is coming off the best year in his career. He hit .337 for the New York Mets to win his first batting title. In nine years, all with the Mets, he has batted .292 with 370 steals and 740 runs scored," but Mets manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets never made a formal offer. The Daily News reports the team is "planning to cut payroll this winter from about $130 million to approximately $100 million, and Alderson claimed that was only partially related to the team’s Bernard Madoff-related financial woes." Alderson said, "Bernie Madoff and his specter are always referenced in these situations. I really don’t think that Madoff has that much to do with this. But when a team loses $70 million, irrespective of Bernie Madoff or anyone else, that is probably a bigger factor in our approach to this season and the next couple."
The Marlins have been aggressive to make their move to a new ballpark in downtown Miami splashy. They are reportedly also interested in the best player in league, Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals: "One source who spoke with the Marlins' brass said Sunday that Reyes' contract was structured in a way that would enable them to sign one more prominent free agent -- and that Pujols was their No. 1 target."