With all that's going on with the Mets right now, the spurt of good play minus Jose Reyes, the are-they-talking-or-aren't-they Reyes contract business, the Carlos Beltran/Francisco Rodriguez trade rumors, the notion of actually playing for a playoff berth almost seems like a distraction itself. The Mets are two games over .500 after a loss to the Dodgers last night, and in just about any division in baseball without the word East in it, this would make them serious contenders. In the AL Central, they'd be three games out; in the AL West, two and a half; in the NL West, four and a half; in the NL Central, one and a half. Alas, they're in the East, and they're seven and a half behind ... the second-place team. This is ultimately clarifying.
The Mets, after winning three of four in Los Angeles, travel to San Francisco tonight, beginning their Month of Intense Scheduling, playing only one team (Florida) with a losing record. During a large section of that month, as it turns out, Jose Reyes is going to be on the disabled list, thanks to yet another of those Reyes injuries that begins as a minor one and becomes something bigger. This is the type of injury, happening at the right time of the season, that could have caused chaos: Should-they-or-shouldn't-they has been the central question of the Mets' season so far in regard to Reyes, and this injury could have been seen as something hurting the Mets both on and off the field, in the standings and in the trade arena.
Fortunately, Sandy Alderson, who has been quiet this season but knows when it's time to pipe up, put all that to rest (mostly) yesterday before the game. He's making it clear: Jose Reyes is going nowhere this year.
"I think it's very unlikely that Jose will be traded this season," Alderson said. "And that's without regard to his injury."
Alderson has said all along that trading Reyes would make it that much more difficult to sign him in the offseason, and his comments made it official that he's not even going to try. In a way, this injury could be the best thing that could have happened to the Mets. It should cause them to fall in the standings, fading any lingering hopes of contending, and who knows, it might even make Reyes a little cheaper in the offseason. (This injury, after all, is exactly the sort of thing that has kept Reyes from playing like this his whole career.) And it clears Alderson's plate to work on his other business this month, like trading Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez before this month is out. The Mets lost a game yesterday and their shortstop for a few weeks, but in the long run, it might have been one of the better days of the season. It's about time to concentrate on the real business at hand here. Yesterday put that into as clear focus as ever.