At least, according to those sources ranging from Adam Rubin to Jose Reyes’ agent, there is no final deal in place between the Miami Marlins and Jose Reyes.
However, two pieces of information should help you plan accordingly going forward.
One, from the tremendous Kevin Burkhardt on Twitter: “baseball source tells me Marlins VERY confident on signing Reyes. He is the centerpiece of their entire offseason. Nothing yet, though.”
Anyone who knows Burkhardt understands he isn’t looking for attention- people with talent who are simultaneously covering the Mets for SNY and calling Dallas Cowboys games already have it- understand that if he’s reporting this, there’s ample reason to take it seriously.
As for the team’s cover story, it has apparently morphed from not wanting to set the market by making a premature offer to not wanting to get into a bidding war. See, if you’re not bidding against yourself, and you’re not bidding against others, what you’re really saying is… you’re not bidding.
We’ll see what they ultimately do. But the best way to pretend you are going after Reyes, but to not actually do it, would be to allow someone else to bid first, then come in lower. The problem with that strategy is that it hasn’t worked in any auction, ever. (Try that on EBay sometime- let someone else bid, then try to offer less than the reserve price.) Ask yourself if Sandy Alderson, a very smart man, knows that. If he does, then why is this the strategy going forward? That’s as simple as looking at ownership’s bottom line.
“If you’re a Mets fan and want to preserve your sanity this offseason, here’s a bit of advice: Assume Jose Reyes will sign elsewhere and that Ruben Tejada is your 2012 Opening Day shortstop. That should allow you to withstand every report suggesting Reyes imminently is out the door without getting worked up.”
Easier in theory than in practice, as I found out last night. And I’ve been convinced, based on my reporting, that he’s headed out the door for months.