Alderson said he'd like to "focus on baseball" again. But dollars and cents have a way of getting into every discussion, especially when one of your stars is heading into the final year of his contract.
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Jose Reyes is that star. Alderson said Wednesday that he doesn't expect the Mets' ownership situation to affect what the team ultimately decides to do with the shortstop. That's if there are negotiations for an extension at all, which Alderson seemed to open the door to on Monday. But the sides are not talking.
"Whatever takes place won't be affected by anything related to the Madoff situation," Alderson said Wednesday. "I didn't mean to suggest [Monday] that there were negotiations [or] there will be negotiations. Whatever transpires, I don't believe that the Madoff situation will have any bearing on it."
Reyes said last month that he isn't thinking about his contract. He is trying to get through a season without getting injured, which he hasn't done since 2008. He will make $11 million in 2011 after the Mets picked up his option year in one of Alderson's first moves.
"Jose had said he loves being here and wants to play his whole career with the Mets," Chris Leible, one of Reyes' agents, said Wednesday. "His focus is really - especially considering what happened, the bad breaks he's had the last few years - to be healthy and be ready to go start to finish. He's excited for the season."
Contractually, it's a make-or-break year for the 27-year-old. As skilled as any player in the majors, Reyes could command a big-bucks, multiyear deal on the open market. But only if he stays on the field in 2011.
"Healthy, he'll put up some numbers," a National League talent evaluator said. "He's just a very good player. If he plays a full season, he's going to get premium value. When it comes to shortstops, he's got to be top five. He's just a premium player - if he's healthy."
Reyes hit .282 with 29 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 54 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 133 games in 2010. He missed the start of the season because of a thyroid problem. He was named to his third All-Star team but had to skip the game because of an oblique strain.
If all goes well, Reyes could have his pick of suitors. The Phillies might want to replace Jimmy Rollins, who is in the final year of his contract. The Red Sox have stopgap starter Marco Scutaro at shortstop. The Dodgers will be saying goodbye to Rafael Furcal unless he reaches 600 plate appearances to kick in a contract option for 2012.
The Mets? Reyes' playing well might price him out of their reach. Alderson's "team-building" philosophies usually don't include spending a large portion of his budget on one player. Even without the ownership uncertainty, Alderson might look to deal Reyes in midseason if the Mets are not in contention.