There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Jose Reyes can change the complexion of a ball club and perhaps even an entire division, but his greatest strength may be his greatest weakness and the reason why he is unlikely to get a long term contract with whichever team wants him come winter.
Jose Reyes is essentially an average hitter, but his speed makes him an above average player. However, his speed may cost him when the time comes to ink a contract.
Reyes is coming off of a hamstring injury, an injury he has not been a stranger to throughout his career. While he may be supplanting David Wright as the face of the New York Mets franchise, it may be in their best interest to trade him for at least three Major League ready prospects, perhaps even a pitcher included.
Any move concerning Reyes will be difficult, whether it be about trading him, having the ability to re-sign him and even coming to terms on the length of a new deal. His legs are what make him as a shortstop, as a hitter and as an overall athlete.
If he keeps putting up the numbers and figures he has been this season, you would have to imagine that, years aside, he is looking for approximately $15 to $18 million per year. Perhaps a bit more if he can only get a one or two year deal inked.
So what should the Mets do about Jose Reyes?
Lets assume they do not trade him and attempt to re-sign him in the off-season. While he is a fan favorite, it is crucial to remember that this is a business, and it is both unfair and irresponsible to the fans to give any player a deal that is not in the best interest of the organization.
To that end, the Mets should go no further than a two or three year deal with a club option for an additional year. The length of this or any similar deal may be enough to keep the yearly salary down so that the Mets still have funds to acquire a couple extra pitchers and bolster their lineup.
However, considering Reyes and his hamstring issues, it is not out of the question to try to sign him to a single year deal for a bit more money and still keep that club option. Although he is only 28 years old, if he is having calf, hamstring and overall leg issues now, it is likely that problems will only compound as years go by.
So would it be prudent to trade him while his stock is still relatively high?
Well, it is no secret that this year's trade market is slim pickings. There are very few A-list trade targets, be it position players or pitching. And to acquire any of those would cost a team multiple quality prospects. This could help or hurt the case for the Mets. They arguably have the best trade piece out there. That being said, they can get, and will want, quite a lot for him, which may keep teams from getting to any serious talks about trading for him.
So what is the benefit to the Mets for trading Reyes?
They are likely to receive multiple players to bolster every part of their team from starting pitching to relievers to position players. Couple that with the money they would save from not re-signing Reyes and allocate it to signing multiple players rather than one All Star, and they may become a competitive club again for the 2013 season, quite possibly the 2012 season.
So what will ultimately be done concerning this matter?
My best educated guess is that the Mets keep Reyes and sign him to a one year extension to keep fans interested and filling the seats. With all the controversy that has surrounded the team lately concerning the front office, the organization and the fans need that uplifting reason to believe in the team and keep their spirits high.