Reyes Rumors: Proceed with Caution

If you read my post on Jose Reyes last week, you can probably guess how I feel about the possibility of him leaving the team. Philosophically, I'm not opposed to trading him this year if it helps the Mets build for the future, and if it's somehow known that there is no way on earth the Mets can resign him. Sentimentally, I would find it crushing, as I'm sure would many Mets fans.

So I've found the chatter about the Giants trading for Reyes that have swirled in the last day or so a bit upsetting, if only for pure NO, HE'S MINE! reasons. Upon further reflection, they continue upset me for more rational reasons.

Most of the articles I've read on the topic thus far are extremely speculative, like John Harper's in today's Daily News. They merely point out that the Giants' lineup is in desperate need of a boost (though you wouldn't know it watching last night's game), and Reyes' health and production so far could provide such a boost. The only piece that has any legs at all is a post over at CSNBayArea.com, which cites "a major league source" ("New York-based", too) who says a trade for Reyes "has been discussed" between the two teams.

Speculation is totally fine. Who doesn't like to play 'what if'? That's one of the biggest appeals of fantasy baseball or video games like The Show: you get to assemble your own dream lineup. And if the two teams have indeed discussed a swap, it could be no more than the Mets front office pursuing due diligence. Slamming down the phone on any trade discussion is extremely unwise.

But I sincerely hope such a deal does not go down. Not because I don't want Reyes to go, but...well, yes, that is the main reason, to be honest. But secondarily, I don't see how the Giants would be good trade partners for the Mets.

Why would you trade Reyes ahead of free agency? To get young, major-league-ready players who can contribute immediately and who are years away from arbitration. Apart from Brandon Belt (a hot prospect Giants fans are screaming to see in the bigs, especially after Pablo Sandoval's injury), San Francisco does not have such commodities. Like, at all.

The Giants' farm system is just as bereft of talent as the Mets'. More so, in fact, according to Baseball America, who ranked San Francisco 23rd and New York 20th. A team with viable, major-league-ready prospects probably doesn't ask Mike Fontenot to bat third. San Francisco has hamstrung its minor league system much in the same ways and means that the Mets have: by signing way too many overpriced, A-level free agents to do jobs much cheaper players who wouldn't cost them draft picks could do. At this point, the Giants probably don't care all that much where their farm system stands, since they just won a World Series. But the Mets should.

The Mets are not in a position where they have to trade Reyes. First of all, no one knows for sure that they can't resign him. I realize this may just be me grasping for hope, but everything Reyes has said publicly to this point makes me think he'd prefer to stay in New York. Case in point: He's from the Dominican Republic and he chooses to spend most of his winter on Long Island. The guy went to an Islanders game in the off season, for crying out loud.

If they Mets can't resign him, gaining a draft pick for his loss is no small prize. So see what you can get for Reyes, of course. Hold out for something big. Don't deal him to the first team that kicks the tires, especially one that has little more than a sack of magic beans to give up for him.

Reyes makes perfect sense for the Giants. He makes perfect sense for any team that likes players who are good at baseball. (And yes, that includes the Sandy Alderson-led Mets. The contention that Alderson wouldn't want to resign the current major league WAR leader at shortstop because he doesn't walk enough is idiotic.) What the Giants could offer for him does not make sense for the Mets, unless the front office thinks they see gems where everyone else just sees coal.

Also, would it be too much to ask that we wait until June to talk about stuff like this? Nobody as big as Reyes gets traded in May, and this kind of speculation just makes us all fear a long, boring summer ahead. Well, it makes me fear that, anyway.

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