I love Jose Reyes, but honestly, how many full seasons has he played? He was hurt early in his career and now again. His on-base percentage is low. Carlos Beltran had one fewer walk than Reyes with fewer than half the plate appearances. I don't see Sandy Alderson being a big Reyes guy unless Reyes builds some patience at the plate.
-- Tom S., Roxbury, N.J.
Reyes is never going to be a big OBP guy because, as you said, he rarely draws walks. But no one cared much when he was batting close to .300 with 15-20 homers and 60-plus stolen bases per season. At 27, there's reason to believe Reyes can still be that player, who the Mets would embrace. Alderson does not value on-base percentage above all other statistics. He simply values inefficiencies in the market. And he certainly values anomalies such as Reyes.
The Mets must -- and will -- do their due diligence this winter and listen to trade offers for Reyes, who will be a free agent after next season. But it would be shocking to see the Mets move Reyes right now for the simple reason that, coming off two straight injury-riddled seasons, his value has never been lower. Selling low isn't good business in the stock market, it isn't good business in the real estate market and it most certainly is not good business in baseball's trade market. The Mets realize they'll be better served by hanging on to Reyes, hoping he has a dynamic first half of the season and then either ink him to a contract extension or trade him for more than they could receive right now.
Is it possible Reyes will be on another team come Opening Day? Of course. Someone could approach the Mets with a phenomenal offer between now and then.
Just don't count on it.
I keep hearing that the Mets won't be spending any money this offseason. Since when has this become a low-budget team like the Royals?
-- John G., Brooklyn, N.Y.
Well, since never. The Mets, like every team, have a relatively static budget. Theirs is around $135 million, the fifth highest in baseball -- or roughly double that of the aforementioned Royals. Spending money has not been their problem. Spending money efficiently has.
The Mets have over $111 million of their $135 million budget dedicated to just eight players, meaning they currently have almost zero flexibility to sign and trade for new players. Much of that cash will come off the books after this season, freeing the Mets up to make some big splashes around this time next year. But this offseason, they must stay quiet -- their punishment for the mistakes of the previous regime. Calling them a low-budget team is neither accurate nor fair.
Have a question about the Mets?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Mets beat reporter Anthony DiComo for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Are the Mets willing to waste a roster spot for all of 2011 just to keep Oliver Perez on the team? I understand that he's owed $12 million next year regardless, but would it be worth having him around only for games that get out of hand? That seems to be the only spot for him to pitch, unless he magically finds his arm again in the offseason.
-- Greg G., Clemson, S.C.
The Mets won't be able to trade Perez this offseason and there's no value in cutting him, so there's a strong chance he'll report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., in February along with everyone else. Back in August, it made sense to cut Perez and eat his salary, because the Mets could have used his roster spot for someone else. But now, they don't need that roster spot until April. Why not invite Perez to camp in the hope that he improves enough to be a serviceable lefty specialist out of the bullpen? They're paying him $12 million regardless -- no team in baseball will touch that contract. Might as well see if Perez can provide the Mets with any sort of value for their money, even if the chances are one in 100.
I am curious about the Mets' ideas for second base next year. I know Ruben Tejada was getting a lot of playing time in the final months of the season, but I don't see him as a starting second baseman going forward. He brings back too many memories of Anderson Hernandez, another player who was a solid defender but struggled at the plate. What are your thoughts on Tejada's future? Also, is there any chance that Daniel Murphy will make a comeback and the Mets will give him a chance at second base? Or are the Mets more likely to look outside the organization for a solution at the position? I assume Luis Castillo is out of the picture, since he sat on the bench for the final third of the season.
-- Douglas G., New York
Similar to the Perez situation, the Mets may have no choice but to enter Spring Training with Castillo on the roster, provided they aren't willing to cut him. New manager Terry Collins acknowledged that much last week, suggesting that the second-base job could be up for grabs between Castillo and Murphy, who has been thriving in winter ball. If Murphy continues to hit, there's a realistic chance he could be the starting second baseman for the Mets next season.
As for Tejada, I suspect the club agrees with your thinking. He's young and has some nice defensive potential, but it's difficult to imagine him ever hitting enough to be a big league regular.
Who is most likely to become the Mets' backup catcher for 2011? Henry Blanco's a free agent and is prone to retire. Omir Santos never played a game this past season, and Mike Nickeas is having hitting troubles. Do you sign someone?
-- Jack H., New York
The better question is who is going to be the starter? Before deciding anything about their catching situation, the Mets must crunch the data and determine whether they are committed to giving Josh Thole a full season as the No. 1 backstop. If the answer is yes, then the Mets can re-sign Blanco or a similar free-agent catcher to back him up, maybe even to be a mentor. (The pitching staff adores Blanco and would gladly have him back.) If the answer is no, then the Mets must somehow find a replacement.
Given the dearth of options out there, I'm betting on the former.