By Rich Coutinho
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I hear from Mets fans a lot. They all ask me the same thing via text messaging and Twitter: “Will Jose Reyes be back?”

I haven’t wavered from my viewpoint earlier this year. My sense is he will be back. That being said, the process has barely begun and as with any business deal, a myriad of factors can either catalyze the process or slow it down.

For example, does Ryan Howard’s injury make it more or less likely the Phillies might take a run at Jose? From everything I’ve heard, the Phillies desperately want to keep Ryan Madsen, who will be a free agent. They have to deal with Jimmy Rollins as well. Those talks could have a big impact on any possible pursuit of Reyes — especially, for instance, if Rollins is less expensive than they thought or if Madsen costs more than they expected.

Then there’s the CC Factor. If he opts out of his contract with the Yankees, I would expect the Red Sox to enter the sweepstakes for the left-hander. That could preclude them from getting serious with Reyes.

My hunch is they will look for pitching first, even if CC is not on the open market. Carl Crawford’s seven-year deal might also make them reticent to tip their toes into the Reyes hunt.

As far as the Giants are concerned, sources tell me that San Francisco would rather re-sign Beltran than go for Reyes — for a few reasons. First of all, they traded away one of the top pitching prospects out there for Beltran. Secondly, on the heels of that trade, to then lose two draft picks to the Mets might make them skittish. They also have to think about re-upping Matt Cain at some point. I believe he’s a more important piece for the Giants, considering their team is built around pitching.

So I consider the Red Sox, Phillies, and Giants as long shots — but I do think the Mets will get competition from both the Nationals and Brewers.

I expect both teams to be serious bidders. In the case of the Nationals, they have some good young pitching both in the rotation and in the bullpen and could use another bat at the top of the order. Reyes could enhance their OBP, which was really poor last year.

The only fly in the ointment here is the Jayson Werth contract. The Nationals were criticized heavily and he did not really perform up to expectations. If they do commit to huge dollars, it might be for a big RBI bat like Prince Fielder.

Which brings us to the Brewers.

Milwaukee had a great season, getting to the sport’s final four with improved pitching and a pair of absolute superstars in Fielder and Ryan Braun. Their payroll was around $93 million last year and I get the sense they might increase it to a little over $100 million this year. The big question is, will they commit that money to Fielder? Or more properly, do they have enough to foot the bill?

If not, they might enter the Reyes sweepstakes — especially if Fielder goes to the Nats. Now, in Fielder’s case there is always the chance a team like the Cubs might swoop in. That could keep Reyes in play for both the Nats and the Brewers.

The problem for guys like Fielder (and even Pujols to a certain extent) is first base is a position where most of the big-wheeling teams like the Phils, Red Sox and Yankees are set — and committed to heavy dollars.

I do see this as a game between the Brewers, Mets and Nationals, with the Red Sox, Giants and Phils as long shots. However, I firmly believe that the Mets are the favorites at this early stage.

I must warn you, it is still very early. Things in the offseason can move as quickly as a Jose Reyes triple.

Which team do you think will land Reyes? Make your case in the comments below…

Comments (7)
  1. Chris Mora says:

    im hoping youre wrong kyle

  2. bill van says:

    what about the Marlins?

  3. Gerard says:

    Which team do you think will land Reyes? I tell what team will not, the Mets,

    Too costly for injured prone player and in the 9 years with the Mets, the Mets have been in the playoffs just once. They need starting pitching and a top closer and that’s what should be top priority for the Mets.

    1. Avi says:

      I’m really getting tired of these sick comments about letting great players go because the team has not been in the postseason often enough or at all while they were here. So, getting rid of your best players who are just entering their prime is going to help you get to the postseason. Great Hall of Fame ballplayers like Ted Williams and Ernie Banks couldn’t get there because they didn’t get enough help. Keep Reyes and the other parts of the nucleus intact and buld arond them. Keep the homegrown ballplayers who have demonstrated they can perform in the Big Apple. If not, you’ll end up paying even more for expensive free agent busts (e.g., Jason Bay) and still not get to the postseason.

      1. Gerard says:

        Avi, for God sake man, you need to stop comparing Reyes to Ted Williams and Ernie Banks or any great player for that matter, both Williams & Banks were great and one, Williams, is an icon and an immortal.

        Reyes will never be a great player, not even close. Reyes is good, but great, well, the Mets have had very few great players in their history so anyone that’s better than Harrelson & Grote is consider great in Metsland.

        What has Reyes done for the Mets in regards to winning? absolutely nothing & in most years the Mets have had a losing record. The Mets have lost with Reyes in his 9 yrs and will continue to lose with him.

        Just look at Reyes stats for September of ’07 & ’08 when the Mets choked, he did nothing and they had a very good team, how soon Mets fans forget. Reyes was part of the reason the Mets choked in September of those years because Reyes choked.

        And stop your crying with this homegrown business, The Mets have not won with Wright & Reyes, time to bring in players that the Mets can win with.

        Time for a change.

    2. Patrick says:

      And then when they have starting pitching and a top closer you’ll complain they still need a bat.

      Here is the simple math. Jose Reyes has already proved he can handle New York. You give up NOTHING to sign him.

      Sign the man.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’m sayin Reyes is going to stay a Met

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