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New Miami Marlins Jose Reyes puts on a team cap during a news conference at the Major League Baseball 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas,  Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011.  The Marlins unveiled the newly signed free-agent shortstop Reyes. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

hot stove

Jose Reyes: The Mets Never Made Me an Offer

Mets fans would be forgiven if they saw that picture of Jose Reyes in a Miami Marlins jersey and cap and didn't want to read any details about his introductory press conference today. But they should at least know their team's name came up at said press conference: Reyes said that the Mets never made him an offer, and said that no one from the organization contacted him directly during free agency. "They didn't make me an offer," Reyes said. "They didn't want me."

The Marlins, meanwhile, began pursuing Reyes at 12:01 a.m. on November 3, the first moment they were allowed to speak with him. They arranged a just-past-midnight meeting with the shortstop at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, and Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, recalled today how it went down. Via the AP:

"[Marlins owner] Jeffrey [Loria] walked into the Hotel Carlyle with a long overcoat because it was about 12 degrees out, and under the overcoat was the Jose Reyes new Marlins jersey that had not been released yet," he said. "A few other people in the bar thought that this was some sort of strange, freaky show, because the owner of the team stood up and literally went like this, and underneath was Jose Reyes' jersey," Beinfest said, pulling apart his jacket by the lapels. "We then ordered some drinks and stayed around for a couple of hours just talking and getting to know each other, and a few days after that Jose came down to Miami and saw the ballpark. So 12:01 to us was always a big deal because we wanted to show Jose from the beginning that we had an idea."

As for the Mets, Reyes said the lack of contact from the organization confused him, considering Sandy Alderson had publicly said that signing him was a priority. Here's Reyes, via the Times' Bats blog:

"They waited for when we were close to making a deal with the Marlins, and that’s when they called. But they called for nothing because they didn’t offer anything, so it’s kind of weird.”

Andy Martino of the News spoke to one Mets executive who wasn't happy about Reyes's comments that the team didn't make him an offer. Said the exec: "Jose knows better than that. I wish he would rephrase that." Indeed, ESPN reports that though the team never submitted a formal bid, they did talk parameters with his agent. And considering the reports of how much the Mets were willing to spend on Reyes, it wouldn't have made much of a difference if a formal offer was made; it would have simply been too low anyway.

Alderson seems to understand this, saying today that he believes it was ultimately Miami's money, and not the way they courted Reyes, that got the shortstop to sign. From the Daily News: "If you're asking if I should have sent him a box of chocolates, um, perhaps I should have done that. But on the other hand, the box of chocolates wouldn't have cost $106 million either."

Photo: LM Otero/AP2011