1. Did the Mets really want to re-sign Reyes?
I've assumed all along, based on Alderson's comments, that the Mets were truly interested in retaining Reyes, within certain constraints regarding years and money that ultimately were exceeded. But I do think that the manner in which they pursued him - never making an actual offer, and apparently never making real overtures to his camp until the end - calls at least some of that into question. The easy response is that there was no point in making an "offer" to Reyes that would be rejected. But by the same token, it is a bit odd that the Mets didn't even approach Reyes's camp during the exclusive negotiating period - or really until the final weekend - to make it clear that they were interested in retaining his services, and that even when Sandy had "discussions" with his agent on Friday about "parameters," these never materialized into an offer. These don't seem like the actions of a team that really wanted to keep Jose, but like one that wanted to put in a somewhat perfunctory effort.
2. Would Jose have taken any kind of "hometown discount?"
The smart money says no, but I think what fans are finding frustrating and confounding is that without the "formal offer," we never got a chance to find out. It seems very odd, from a PR perspective, that if the Mets really wanted to show their fans that they were interested in retaining Reyes, they wouldn't make a final (or any) offer to him and essentially say, "Look, this is as high as we can go within our parameters. We really want you and want to build our team around you. If you go elsewhere we understand, but this is what we can offer you." If Jose really wanted more money and/or a better chance to contend, he probably still goes to Florida, but I can't help but think that the team comes off looking better in the public eye.
And it's for this reason, frankly, that I'm slowly coming to believe that the Mets really didn't want Reyes at any price, at least for the length of the deal that was being considered. They didn't make an offer because, well, an offer can be accepted, and he didn't actually want that. They put up a bit of a show of interest, but ultimately the kind they knew would be rejected. If true, I find this kind of disappointing because I like Alderson, respect his approach, and trust the team with him - but the way this thing has unfolded is just odd, and it feels like we aren't getting the whole truth.