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The Mets, Jose Reyes and a little bit of luck

Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets

Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets celebrates scoring in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. (May 28, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets lost another late-inning soul-crusher, this one in Milwaukee. 

Prior to the game, Terry Collins praised Jose Reyes for his enthusiasm, not to mention his actual play. But of course, with every loss, every tick away from a playoff spot, the Mets have to think longer and harder about trading the dynamic shortstop, no matter how badly Mets fans want him to stay.

Here's one factor that could get him out of town sooner than later: With the caveat (as always) that plenty more can happen between now and the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, Reyes is looking like the best, highest-impact player, including pitchers, available in all of baseball.

Look at the standings. You can't regard even the Mets as definite sellers at this juncture; they trail the Brewers by 5 1/2 games in the NL wild-card race and could be getting, at some point, Ike Davis, David Wright and perhaps Johan Santana back off the disabled list.

Yet of the clubs that figure to be sellers, who has something better to offer than Reyes?

Washington? Jason Marquis, so that's a no. The Cubs? Kosuke Fukudome. No. Houston? Brett Myers. No.

San Diego? Heath Bell is a nice catch, but even a closer can't provide the sort of impact that Reyes can.

Kansas City? Jeff Francoeur. No. Minnesota? Matt Capps and a vastly diminished Francisco Liriano. No.

Oakland? Josh Willingham. No.

With so many clubs in contention and many of those clubs in need of a shortstop upgrade - think Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and San Francisco, for starters - the Mets could find themselves in a very comfortable position.

They can try to work the teams against one another in order to drive up the price for Reyes, a tried and true process. 

And they can do this knowing, all the while, that if they don't like an offer enough, they can retain Reyes and get two compensatory draft picks for him over the winter. They even can pretend that they might re-sign Reyes, just in case the new collective bargaining agreement allows players to be paid in Cheerios rather than actual money.

The Mets, in other words, a team their own principal owner described as "snakebit," might be benefiting from lucky timing, for once.

I think even the biggets Mets hater would agree that they're due some good luck.

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