The New York Mets have accepted the fact that free-agent Jose Reyes is a player they can't live without. The only problem is that other teams have seen what the newly-crowned batting champion can do all season and have realized that for themselves too.
There will be more than just one team interested in the services of the leadoff hitter, and the Mets have their financial issues.
In the beginning of the season, Mets owner Fred Wilpon quipped to a reporter about Reyes that " he thinks he's going to get Carl Crawford money. He's had everything wrong with him. He won't get it". This assessment may be true. Time will tell. He may not get $142 million for seven years like Crawford, but someone will pay him.
The Mets have had financial woes that are well documented. This may factor into how much they may be willing to spend in order to retain the services of their shortstop. Mets GM Sandy Alderson has stated they are looking at a payroll around $110 million or so for 2012.
He went on to say, "When you have $75 million of that tied up in four or five players, some of whom aren't playing, it's not a good situation to be in where you're trying to fill out the rest of the team and be competitive in a very difficult division."
This really tells the tale of the situation in Queens. They will be trying to make what they believe to be a competitive contract offer to Reyes, but the truth is that as time goes on other teams may get involved and outbid them. Either the Mets will raise their offer in response or go to a backup plan.
The biggest question is what teams have a good chance of entering into the sweepstakes? Several teams seem to be a good fit. From the Cardinals to the Rays to the Nationals, there are at least a dozen teams that may kick the tires on the possibility of Reyes in their lineup.
Of all of those teams, there are five that stand out to me as the ones that really will have a need for him, a desperation for him and the money to pay him far more than the Mets offer.