Until Wednesday, it had been assumed that Jose Reyes would wind up in a different colored uniform than the Mets’ blue-and-orange next season, for lots and lots of money.
Now, it appears that David Wright, the very face of the franchise, should probably not get too comfortable in his locker.
A report on ESPN.com citing sources inside the organization indicated that general manager Sandy Alderson might consider trading the third baseman in the offseason — if he can re-sign Reyes to a moderately priced free-agent contract of five years or fewer.
That scenario is a longshot because Reyes, the 27-year-old shortstop, will expect the open market to bring him more than the $16 million the Mets are paying Jason Bay this year. But it’s also significant that Alderson would even consider moving the 28-year-old Wright. The team’s most popular player is under contract for two more years, including a $16 million option for 2013.
It’s more likely Alderson will keep Reyes and Wright until the offseason, at which point the Mets will hope the shortstop becomes amenable to a hometown discount. Given Fred Wilpon’s recent player criticisms in The New Yorker, it’s unlikely Reyes will leave even a nickel on the table to play for the 74-year-old owner.
The Mets may well settle on moving Reyes by the July 31 trade deadline, though the source said it would have to be a blockbuster deal.
Also working against a Wright move is that fans might further flee Citi Field if the Mets unload him for a lesser name. For a squad saddled with a reported $70 million in losses and fast-sinking attendance, it might be the worst move possible.
Then again, Alderson might have a completely different view of the team’s future. It comes down to whether he wants to build around a handsome third baseman who struggles with his home park’s dimensions, or a dynamic shortstop whose new salary will strain an already bulging budget.
Either way, Alderson probably can’t keep both.