In the least shocking news of the day, the Mets offered salary arbitration to their free-agent shortstop, Jose Reyes, thereby retaining draft-compensation rights to him.
Reyes, 28, must inform the Mets of his decision to accept or reject arbitration by midnight Nov. 30. He is expected to reject arbitration, because he is in line to get a multiyear contract for considerable dollars. The Marlins already have made him a six-year offer for what is believed to be between $80 and $90 million, and Milwaukee could make a run at him, as well.
The Mets have taken a noticeably passive role regarding the ultra-popular player, staying in touch with Reyes' representatives and hoping to stay in the loop but, realistically, not expecting to keep him.
If Reyes did accept arbitration, then he would commit to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Mets for 2012. The salary would be determined through the arbitration process, using Reyes' $11 million salary in 2011 as a point of reference, unless the two sides agree before a hearing in February.
Should Reyes sign with another club, rather than return to the Mets, then the Mets would receive two selections in the 2012 amateur draft as compensation. One would be in the "sandwich" round, between the first and second rounds. The other's placement would depend on the signing team. A club that finished among baseball's 15 worst last season, such as Florida, would give its second-round pick to the Mets, while a team that finished among baseball's 15 best last year, like Milwaukee, would hand over its first-round pick.
The Mets will look to sign one if not two experienced relief pitchers on the free-agent market this winter, and the new collective-bargaining rules help ensure that they won't surrender any draft picks for those assets. Minnesota's Matt Capps and Toronto's Frank Francisco are among the relievers that interest the Mets.