DALLAS -- Terry Collins arrived Monday at the winter meetings just in time to help with the mop-up after Jose Reyes' exit from Flushing. Collins referred to Reyes as somebody he would pay to see play, but the Mets wouldn't pay to keep him, and that left Collins to deal with a disastrous development for any manager.
"I wasn't shocked by it, I really wasn't," Collins said. "I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get him back. But again, I am the manager of a team and he's one of my best players, so I'm disappointed I don't have him. But I'm not surprised."
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Collins swapped texts with Reyes Monday morning to wish him luck but told him, "18 times this summer, I'm going to be rooting against you." The difficult part now becomes replacing Reyes -- or at least finding fill-ins for him at shortstop and atop the Mets' batting order.
The consensus is that Ruben Tejada will take over at short, with either Angel Pagan or even Daniel Murphy batting leadoff. Tejada would have been an ideal double-play partner for Reyes, but it should be a smooth transition to make him the everyday shortstop. He played 41 games there last season during Reyes' DL stints.
The bigger question is Murphy, whom Collins seems to have penciled in at second base although he is coming off consecutive season-ending knee injuries suffered at that position. Collins even expressed concern about his safety at second last season.
"I still think it all comes to the fact that you've got to play," Collins said. "You've got to play more games there, you've got to have a better feel for your positioning on certain things and what you need to do. Last spring, to be bluntly honest, we didn't give him that opportunity. I think this spring, going in, if we concentrate and say hey, look, you're going to get the majority of your playing time at second base, I think you're going to see a little bit more comfort when he takes the field."
As for the leadoff spot, Collins could see Murphy there, too, if he decides to use Pagan in the middle of the order.
"Wade Boggs led off for a lot of years because he got on base," Collins said. "If Dan Murphy continues to hit .320 and gets on base, he doesn't have to be a base-stealer, but he could be a run-scorer for sure."