Mets-Reyes dialogue should pick up soon

As long as Jose Reyes remains unsigned, the Mets have to be considered in the running for their homegrown shortstop. But after treading water for weeks and making little effort to bring Reyes back, general manager Sandy Alderson is likely to feel a much greater sense of urgency when the winter meetings begin Monday in Dallas.

"As far as a market for Reyes is concerned, I only know what I read in the paper," Alderson said Thursdayduring a conference call. "There haven't been additional reports that I've heard about other offers, so I'm not sure there's much more clarity than we had the first time the Miami visit/proposal was reported."

After Reyes' visit with the Marlins last month, he reportedly received an offer in the $90-million range, and even that has been downgraded in reports to potentially as low as $75 million. In other words, Alderson has no real gauge on Reyes' value, and the Mets don't intend to make their own offer until they understand what they're bidding against.

From the outset, Alderson has been adamant that he won't try to set the market for Reyes, but with little to no talks between the two sides, the negotiating process has yet to begin. That's why the upcoming week looms as pivotal for Reyes' future with the Mets.

"I certainly would hope that we'll have conversations, certainly by the time we get to Dallas or at Dallas," Alderson said. "There have not been any discussions in recent days, but yes, I do expect to have them over the next handful of days."

As for another New York icon, Alderson denied a report that he turned down overtures from the representative for Jorge Posada, who also is a free agent. While the Mets are in the hunt for a backup to Josh Thole, the 40-year-old Posada isn't a logical fit, both because of his advanced age and defensive shortcomings.

"That didn't happen," Alderson said. "I've had no communication with the agent and I say that eventuality is unlikely."

So aside from Reyes, what is on Alderson's to-do list for Dallas? The bullpen remains a priority, and the Mets' GM would prefer the prices to slide a bit more before diving into that pool. After Jonathan Papelbon's four-year, $50-million deal with the Phillies, Joe Nathan's two-year, $14.5-million contract with the Rangers and Jonathan Broxton's one-year, $4-million deal with the Royals, Alderson hopes the game of musical chairs with the remaining arms works in his favor.

With the A's expected to ask for too much in a trade for closer Andrew Bailey, the Mets could target a lower tier of free agents such as Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Matt Capps or Brad Lidge.

"The reliever market right now is a little bit hard to predict," Alderson said. "The signings that have taken place so far, I think, have emboldened agents to this point. On the other hand, I think there are plenty of relievers out there, and it's not clear to me that there are plenty of landing spots -- certainly not plenty of landing spots for big-ticket relievers who may be looking to close.

"I think that we'll know more about the free-agent market soon, but that will have a direct impact on the trade market as well. There are players available in both."

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