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Mets Unlikely To Offer Jose Reyes Contract Extension During Spring Training

In Mets camp today, Sandy Alderson said it was "unlikely" that the Mets would discuss a contract extension with Jose Reyes during spring training, though he indicated he would be "open" to doing so during the season. There's nothing surprising here. Reyes was injured for most of 2009 and forgot how to draw walks in 2010, so it can't be surprising that the Mets aren't jumping at the opportunity to lock him up for another four or five years.

From 2006-2008 Reyes accrued 16.6 WAR, the tenth-best mark in baseball over that stretch. Better than Matt Holliday. Better than Mark Teixeira. Better than Ichiro, Derek Jeter, and Miguel Cabrera. In other words, Reyes was a superstar. Right now, it's not at all clear what Reyes is. He still has superstar potential, but if he isn't healthy or he isn't getting on base 35% of the time or more (or if he isn't doing either), then he's not going to be a superstar. He'll still be a pretty good player, but you don't really want to pay $15 million a season for someone who's merely pretty good.

I think the Mets want to bring Reyes back even if he doesn't have a terrific season, but his health and his production are going to drive his value to the Mets and his worth on the open market. Reyes is loyal to the team that drafted and developed him, but he must've seen how much money Carl Crawford, a great but inferior talent at a far less valuable defensive position, made in free agency this offseason. He's the longest-tenured Met, earning a call-up in 2003, the year before David Wright made his big league debut, and he's a fan favorite, but the Alderson front office figures to be short on funds and decidedly unsentimental. If re-signing Reyes makes sense for the team, great. If it doesn't, well, let's hope it doesn't come to that.