It is unlikely that Jose Reyes is a Met beyond 2011.
Crazy talk. Right?
Perhaps not, though. Should the tandem of Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie add up to a significant leak in the seemingly unsinkable juggernaut that is the 2011 Boston Red Sox, it would be a safe bet that a move would be at least explored, if not made, by Boston's front office.
Boston GM Theo Epstein could surely warm up to the prospect of a three-month rental on one of the finer shortstops in all of baseball. The man certainly has a knack for mid-season upgrades at the position: see Orlando Cabrera (2004) and Alex Gonzalez (2009).
And as for the Mets? The epic tailspin continues in Queens. The big news out of Port St. Lucie this spring is that the Wilpons had to borrow $20 million from MLB last fall to plug the gaps on bad investments with Bernie Madoff.
The Mets are not competitive at the present, and they stand not to be for quite some time. Homegrown star that he is, re-signing Reyes after this season makes zero sense for the Mets.
A midsummer trade looks increasingly likely for Reyes, who turns 28 this June. As the New York Post's Joel Sherman recently opined, Reyes is the Mets' version of Carmelo Anthony.
So the Mets certainly will be searching for buyers on Reyes. But would the Sox listen to New York's offers?
Yes, they would. But a potential trade for Reyes merits the discussion of a variety of situations.
The Reyes Situation
Boston would listen to New York's offers on Reyes because New York GM Sandy Alderson stands to be a man desperate to cut his losses amid a difficult situation.
He will likely not ask for any player in return above the Double-A level, a request that Boston, with their loaded farm system, can surely accommodate.
A handful of Single-A or even a couple of Double-A guys? No sweat.
Reyes' stock has also declined in recent years. After missing most of the 2009 season with a variety of leg injuries, Reyes submitted a 2010 season that fell far below his career norms in a variety of categories, notably his OBP and his stolen base total.
His .321 OBP last season fell far short of the .355 mark he posted from 2006-2009. Reyes swiped 30 bases last year, well short of his career average of 58 steals a season.
Reyes made his name with his speed and his durability: from 2005 to 2008, Reyes missed only 14 games. Now both qualities are in question.
Suffice to say, Reyes is lined up for a classic make-or-break contract year.
Who will be Boston`s starting shortstop in 2012?
This is all to the benefit of the Red Sox (or any potential mid-season trading partner, for that matter). If Reyes is a dud this season, the Mets may yet hope to salvage more through a trade than they would net in compensation for a lost free agent.
While a poor season would give the Mets more leverage over Reyes in a scenario in which they pursue resigning him, it is likely that Reyes will still demand a deal beyond New York's present means and interests.
New York's means and interests would certainly be exceeded, however, if Reyes returns to his All-Star form this season and is firing on all cylinders.
Under this scenario, the Mets have more leverage with a team like Boston. They could demand more in return for Reyes.
The Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro Situation
If Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro are both stinking up the joint come July, the chances of the Red Sox landing Reyes would be, not surprisingly, considerably higher than they are right now.
Looking beyond 2011, Scutaro, playing on the second year of a two-year deal, is undoubtedly gone after this season. He turns 36 in October. Lowrie, on the other hand, continues to be an oft-injured enigma.
Lowrie was slated to inherit the starting shortstop job in 2009; however, left wrist ligament damage led to surgery that April. He came off the DL in July but was back on it for most of August, dealing with nagging post-surgery issues.
In 2010, with the wrist fully healed, Lowrie was set back by a case of mono. He didn't make his season debut until July 21.
While he appeared in just 55 games last season, Lowrie made them count. His .907 OPS was second among all MLB shortstops, behind only Troy Tulowitzki.
Given his success with the bat last season, Lowrie may very well end up getting the nod over Scutaro more often than not, provided he stays healthy.
But even if Lowrie is healty and productive, a trade for Jose Reyes may still have its merits.
Would the Red Sox continue shipping Lowrie out while his stock is high, snag Reyes, and then either sign Reyes to a long-term deal and trade away Jose Iglesias? Jose Iglesias?
Yup. It's time to talk about Jose Iglesias.
The Jose Iglesias Scenario
It's a safe bet that Jose Iglesias, Boston's 21-year-old stud shortstop prospect, will pan out at the major league level. He's arguably the top prospect in the Red Sox organization.
If Boston were to obtain Reyes, though, would it be worth Boston's while to make Reyes a long-term offer next fall and ship out Iglesias, a la Hanley Ramirez in 2005?
With most positions locked up for some time, would the Red Sox look to land some solid young starting pitching? Josh Beckett and John Lackey are not getting any younger, although their massive contracts would seem to indicate otherwise.
The Red Sox have been positively drooling over Iglesias since signing him in 2009. He positively raked in a brief stint with Single-A Lowell last year.
His numbers for the rest of the season with Double-A Portland were more realistic, but still very solid, .285/.315/.357/.672 in 53 games.
For all intents and purposes, Iglesias is poised to move up to the majors in 2012. He's a fantastic fielder, and the Sox are confidant that he can grow in to a more patient and consistent hitter in a line up like Boston's, where he could bat No. 8 or 9 and not feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. But will this jump happen in Boston?
It's a second safe bet that the Red Sox are particularly keen on retaining Iglesias given the position he plays. Shortstop has been a revolving door for Boston ever since Epstein sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in 2004.
It would be hard to blame Boston for not listening to solid trade offers for Iglesias, if for no other reason than wanting stability at a position that has been lacking it for quite some time.
The Overall Situation
If I had a crystal ball to peer into, I obviously don't see Jose Reyes sticking around in New York, but I have an even harder time seeming him in Boston... in 2012.
If the price is right, however, it would not be at all surprising to see Boston pull the trigger and bring Reyes aboard before the trade deadline for the remainder of 2011, particularly if either Lowrie or Scutaro is out for an extended period of time with an injury.
But I just don't see Boston not going with Jose Iglesias in 2012, even with the kind of talent Boston would stand to land in return if he were dealt.
Iglesias has so much upside and Reyes has many question marks, even though he is still on the right side of 30.