New York Mets: How Will Sale to David Einhorn Affect Jose Reyes?

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMay 31, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets is congratulated by his teammates for scoring in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Mets have yet to officially announce a partial sale of the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn, but in the eyes of the media and Mets fans everywhere, the deal is as good as done.

All that's left to do now is cross the t's and dot the i's.

Oh yeah, and decide what to do with Jose Reyes.

Since the $200 million investment was announced, Einhorn has not been able to escape questions regarding the team's future.

The ink on the contract isn't even dry yet, heck, it's not even on the paper and Einhorn might as well be the majority owner of the Mets given the way he's being treated.

On his initial conference call with the media last week, Einhorn expressed confidence in general manager Sandy Alderson. He also repeated how excited he was to be a part of the Mets, fulfilling a life-long dream, in fact.

In the end, what the Mets do with Reyes rests entirely with Alderson and the still-majority owners.

But people still wanted Einhorn's two cents on the issue.

Einhorn was at Citi Field to watch the Mets take on the Philadelphia Phillies on May 29, and was asked directly by the New York Post's Kevin Kernan, "Will you re-sign Jose Reyes?"

Einhorn laughed and said, "Today's not the time for that."

But the time is coming, and Mets fans are hanging on every word for an indication one way or the other.

Reyes is set to become a free agent and the better he plays, the more expensive he'll be to resign.

That's bad news for the Mets because Reyes is having one of his best seasons in years. Reyes is third in the NL in batting average (.335), leads the league in doubles (17), triples (8) and stolen bases (19).

He has had five-straight multi-hit games and 72 hits in 52 games this season.

Reyes is about the only thing going right for the Mets.

With Ike Davis and David Wright still on the DL, Reyes is the only reason fans have to come to Citi Field. For a team in as much financial hot water as the Mets, that's something worth holding on to.

Yet the Mets still do not seem poised to offer Reyes a long term contract. Even Fred Wilpon pointed out that Reyes thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money (seven years, $142 million), but he's not going to.

At least not from the Mets.

Whether or not Reyes is worth Crawford money—or whether Carl Crawford is worth Carl Crawford money—is neither here nor there. The important thing is that Reyes is built for Citi Field and if the Mets plan on building a winner, they'll have to do it around Reyes.

Einhorn built his empire by recognizing trends in the economy others missed. He sees opportunity and takes advantage of it.

The Mets have an opportunity with Reyes and everyone recognizes it.

Reyes has expressed a desire to stay in New York, but won't negotiate during the season. Reyes might just be another prime example of a player in a contract year having a big season.

The best the Mets can hope for is that Reyes will at least listen to offers during the season, and if the Mets are unable to hammer out a new deal they can still trade him to a contender for prospects.

In Einhorn's case, the path the franchise takes from here is irrelevant. If the Mets start winning, Einhorn will own 33 percent of a contending team in the biggest market in sports. If they continue to fail, Einhorn will have a chance to take over as majority owner in three years and do whatever he wants from there.

Either way, he makes money.

Whether or not the Mets keep Reyes shouldn't matter to Einhorn. Trading Reyes will infuse desperately needed prospects into a weak farm system, creating building blocks that may be of use to Einhorn should he become majority owner. Either that, or Reyes will resign, giving Einhorn a marquee player for years to come.

Prior to the sale, the Wilpons announced that a minority owner would not have power over how the Mets spend their money, but he might have a say.

To this point, it's still unclear just how much clout Einhorn wields, but it's likely to be very little.

If he's the Mets fan he makes himself out to be in the media, he surely wants to see Reyes remain with the team.

Then again, if he wants to own the team at some point, it's in his favor to simply let the chips fall where they may. Something the poker-playing Einhorn knows a lot about.