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In the end, it came with a whimper instead of a bang.
A sourced AP report late on a Sunday night that belonged to football rolled across the bottom of a television, popped up in an email or rolled past on Twitter. Jose Reyes is a member of the Miami Marlins and the Mets are left with a massive crater in their roster.
Reyes was the one bolt of color in the bleak black-and-white world of the Mets last season with his presence serving as the one real reason to pay any attention to what went on at Citi Field. The team was rotting away around him, but Reyes' vibrant speed and smile made it easy to ignore the state of the franchise every time he slapped one into the gap and turned on the jets.
The reactions to the news were like something out of the five stages of grief. Denial came first because we had heard these kinds of reports before about Reyes going to the Marlins and they turned out not to be true.
Then numbers started to roll in and they made it clear that this time the deal was for real. Six years for $106 million, numbers that make you angry if you're a Mets fan because you know that there's no chance that your team can afford that kind of contract for the best player on their team.
Bargaining doesn't really work at this point, especially since the Mets didn't bother to make a serious effort to sign Reyes this offseason. We'd advise against slipping into depression over a baseball team. Besides, there will likely be plenty of time for that once the season actually gets underway and the Mets take the field in front of a sparse, indifferent crowd at Citi Field.
So just move right to acceptance so that your heart doesn't get broken by a team that isn't in any position to compete right now. They've lied about it and fudged the numbers as much as they can, but the simple truth is that the Mets do not have the financial wherewithal to even compete for 28-year-old star shortstops that simply don't come around all that often.
Sandy Alderson admitted as much on Sunday when he talked about why the Mets didn't bother to even make an offer for Reyes' services. He said that the team drew a line about a multi-year contract and that they didn't feel a need to make an offer that Reyes wouldn't accept just to be seen as the team finishing second in the bidding.
To believe that, though, Alderson would have needed to say it in October. The Mets have plenty of justification in not giving Reyes this kind of money -- from the overall state of the franchise to the fact that Reyes is a good bet to have physical issues in the next six years -- but they hid behind nonsense like not wanting to set the market instead of simply being honest that they had neither the wallet nor the stomach for the pursuit.
A different franchise might be able to sell handling things the way the Mets handled things with Reyes. After two years of watching these Mets claim that everything was just fine while every bit of evidence pointed to serious financial difficulties (up to an including Alderson admitting to a $70 million loss last season), taking anything they say at face value is impossible.
Still, it's better to just accept that these are fallow times in Queens because these Mets simply aren't worth depression. Just accept that Reyes was never coming back to a team that never even tried to bring him back and wish your old friend well in his new garishly colored digs.
Players like Reyes should be in color, anyway. It doesn't look like the Mets will be providing much of it this season.