Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is in demand — and not just by other clubs.
Scott Boras, the industry’s most influential agent, is speaking with Reyes about becoming his representative, according to major league sources.
Reyes, a potential free agent, currently is represented by Peter Greenberg. A switch to Boras almost certainly would reduce his chances of re-signing with the Mets.
Boras prefers his clients to establish their values on the open market. The Mets are unlikely to keep Reyes unless he accepts a lesser deal.
Agents are free to speak with rival agents’ clients; the talks between Boras and Reyes violate no rules. The players’ union only requires agents to disclose all contact with players on 40-man rosters that they do not represent.
Reyes met with agents in spring training, a source said, and apparently was considering a change at that time.
This is not the first time other agents have been in contact with Reyes, sources said; some tried to sign him after his four-year, $23.25 million contract with the Mets in 2006 was trumped almost immediately by third baseman David Wright’s six-year, $55 million deal with the club. But Reyes remained loyal to Greenberg at that time, making no change.
The stakes now are higher. Another prominent Greenberg client, reliever Rafael Soriano, switched to Boras shortly before becoming a free agent last season.
Boras negotiated a three-year, $35 million contract for Soriano with the Yankees, a deal opposed by Yankees GM Brian Cashman and viewed as overly generous by other clubs.
Reyes, who turned 28 on June 11, entered Friday night leading the National League with a .348 batting average. He ranked first with 12 triples, second with 23 stolen bases and fourth with 35 extra-base hits.
“It’s like with (Barry) Bonds — don’t pitch to him,” one scout said. “Problem is, when he gets on, it’s a double. He’s Rickey Henderson-esque right now, a destructive force.”
Mets owner Fred Wilpon, however, recently dismissed Reyes’ chances of landing a free-agent deal similar to the seven-year, $142 million contract that left fielder Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox last winter.
“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon told the New Yorker. “He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.”
The Mets initially hoped they could retain Reyes on a three-year deal in the range of $45 million of $50 million, but now recognize that such a goal is unrealistic, sources said.
The question is whether Reyes would be willing to meet the team somewhere in the middle — assuming, of course, that the Mets would be financially capable of striking say, a five-year, $95 million deal.
The team, strapped for cash, is negotiating the sale of a minority stake in the club with an investor, David Einhorn.