Andy Martino of the NY Daily News, The Mets will make a modest offer and see if he is content and they will step back while he collects proposals and allows other clubs to set his market value.
Martino reports that is the Mets' negotiating strategy with their free-agent shortstop, according to people familiar with the team’s thinking.
The Mets have a five-day window for exclusive talks after the World Series, but will not re-sign Reyes during that time.
Unsure what Reyes will be able to command on the open market - and if his price will remain within a range they consider reasonable - the Mets say they see no point in beginning talks by presenting an offer that is close to their best or final one.
"Jose is not going to be a quick process," said one source. 'The fan base would love for it to be that way, but a quick process would mean that he will not be a Met. Let him go do the dance, and see how (other teams) value him. Why should we set the market?"
Reyes' agents declined to comment on the process.
With the Mets expecting to cut payroll from the $140 million range to $110 million-$115 millionish, club officials have made clear that if Reyes leaves, 22-year-old Ruben Tejada will replace him. Whether that is determined in November, December or January will not affect other aspects of the team's plans, officials insist.
Reyes’ price is difficult to predict, more so than those of fellow free-agent stars Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. View Reyes through one lens, and he is a 28-year-old batting champion and one of the most dynamic players in baseball at a position known for offensive scarcity.
View him through another, and his tightly wound hamstrings, which sent him to the disabled list twice during the 2011 season, create a serious risk for any team offering him a long-term deal (it is only fair to also note that from 2005 to 2008, Reyes played in at least 153 games each season).
Despite concerns, the Mets - and most everyone else in baseball - expect that a team will offer a sizable deal; the real question is “how sizable?”
Several Mets executives have speculated that the Nationals, Marlins and the Angels could become heavy bidders. If a team offers Reyes Carl Crawford money (six or seven years, $130 million-$140 million), the Mets almost certainly would not match it.
The club values Reyes, and says it will launch an earnest effort to retain him, but it has long made clear its unwillingness to engage in feverish bidding. One team source mused that “he'll probably want to get paid like a home run hitter.”
Reyes might ultimately be presented with this choice: Accept the highest offer or remain with the only organization he has known, in the city that he loves.
Whatever happens, it will not likely happen in the next month, and perhaps not even in the month after that. Still, Mets officials insist they are not concerned that a drawn-out pursuit of Reyes will hijack their entire offseason, and make other planning difficult.
GM Sandy Alderson has been clear that the team's non-Reyes priority is to rebuild the bullpen, with former All-Star closers Brad Lidge, Jonathan Broxton and Joe Nathan among those available as free agents.
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