The Marlins and Mets may be the last two contenders remaining in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes, and the Marlins "hopes are high" that they will land the free agent shortstop, reports CBSSports.com's Scott Miller (passed on by his CBS colleague Matt Snyder). Another baseball source tells Miller, "everyone seems to think Reyes is the right fit for the Marlins."
The Braves, Giants and Phillies are out of the bidding, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman, with the Brewers and Tigers seen as "iffy" or very unlikely candidates by Heyman and CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. So, unless a fringe suitor like the Red Sox get involved, it may be down to just the two NL East rivals.
Miami has offered Reyes a six-year deal worth somewhere between $70MM and $90MM, and Heyman tweets the Marlins could "bump it a bit" and then set a deadline since the offer has been on the table for a while. Even with the apparently thin market for Reyes, this kind of hardball tactic could backfire on the Fish since it could allow the Mets or another team to jump into the bidding at a lower price. The Marlins have openly targeted many top free agents this winter but this high profile only increases the pressure on the club to actually sign at least one or two of these big names.
The Mets are apparently willing to offer a five-year, $80MM contract. GM Sandy Alderson told reporters today (including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo) that he wasn't aware of any teams besides Miami in the hunt for Reyes and that he was planning to meet with Reyes' agents before or during the Winter Meetings. That lack of a sixth year in the offer could ultimately hurt the Mets, even though their offer would give Reyes a larger average annual value than the Marlins' deal, presuming Miami's offer is six years/$90MM. Maybe a sixth year on a vesting option could bring Reyes back to New York.