Mets morning briefing 7.4.11

Jose Reyes is not expected in the lineup for the series opener at Dodger Stadium on Indepedence Day, but the shortstop hoped to have a minimal absence after an MRI revealed a Grade 1 left hamstring strain -- the least severe grade."I think it's good," Reyes said. "Just a little bit of a strain. Nothing big." Terry Collins could not rule out Reyes missing the remainder of the first half. At the least, the manager does not intend to play Reyes on Monday, after a six-hour flight from New York to L.A.

Monday's news reports:

Joel Sherman of the Post reports Sandy Alderson has warmed to the idea of a longer-term deal for Reyes and there's virtually no chance the shortstop is traded at the deadline. Writes Sherman:

Alderson is now leaning strongly toward authorizing a substantial offer after the season to try to retain Reyes, a free-agent-to-be, two sources with ties to Alderson told The Post. ... Alderson has not only been swayed by the MVP-caliber play of Reyes, but also in calculating the additional worth that would come by elating the fan base if Reyes could be retained and how much it would cost to replace a switch-hitter in his prime if Reyes left. In other words, if the Mets surmise that Reyes is worth, say, five years at $100 million, is it worth it to go to, say, six years at $120 million or more and see that additional money as: 1) $10 million of advertising directed at the fans and 2) $10 million in peace of mind that they do not have to try to find replacements to make up for what would be lost, especially since they already know Reyes can play in New York and loves playing here. ... One source told me the Wilpons might be willing to approach the $20 million-a-year pricetag, but are scared of giving seven years to a player whose legs are his major asset.

My analysis: It's still hard to fathom the Mets giving Carl Crawford money (seven years, $142 million), especially after Fred Wilpon said no way Reyes gets that sum in the New Yorker article, and given Alderson had zingers about the Nationals' seven-year, $126 million deal with Jayson Werth during the winter meetings. Do the Mets go to six years in an offer for Reyes? We'll see. But you have to believe they will make some type of representative offer. Meanwhile, may I offer this reminder about a story I wrote one month ago? I reported (even though it was called "hogwash" in one publication):

The widespread public expectation has been Reyes is all but assured of getting traded at the deadline. But, the source said, the more likely scenario is for the Mets to complete the season with both Reyes and Wright. Then, if the Mets can re-sign Reyes to a deal of perhaps five years or less -- their hope is an unrealistic three years -- they may be able to come to an agreement next offseason. If not, they could offer Reyes arbitration and collect two draft picks, likely including a first-rounder.

The financial difficulties of retaining Reyes at $20 million a year are real, and may not be feasible without trading Wright. Consider next season Johan Santana (who may not pitch this year) makes $24 million, Jason Bay $16 million and Wright $15 million. And if Francisco Rodriguez finishes 55 games -- he's on pace to finish 60 -- he gets $17.5 million. Then there's R.A. Dickey at $4.25 million and Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan arbitration-eligible, which likely would take their salaries beyond $5 million apiece, if they're Mets. That's a heavy concentration of spending in a small group of players. It adds up to $86.75 million with K-Rod -- without Reyes factored in. Wilpon had suggested the payroll could be as low as $100 million next year, although Alderson intimated closer to $120 million. And before you suggest the Mets just backload Reyes' deal, consider Santana will get $31 million in 2013 with a '14 buyout, while Bay gets $16 million that season -- and potentially another $3 million if his contract does not vest for the following season. With Wright and Reyes, that would be an astronomical sum for four players without the overall payroll heading back upward.

• Read more on Reyes' injury in Newsday, the Record, Daily News and Times.

• Bay's walk-off single in the 10th after shortstop Ramiro Pena's error loaded the bases and prolonged the inning lifted the Mets past the Yankees to salvage the Subway Series finale, an inning after Mariano Rivera was dealt a blown save. Bay had walked on a full-count cutter against Rivera with two out to start the ninth-inning rally. Bay also had delivered a grand slam in Detroit in the past week that propelled the Mets to a win (and ended a 299-game drought without a bases-loaded homer). Rivera had converted his last 16 save chances against the Mets. The only previous blown save against the Amazin's had come July 10, 1999 -- on a two-out, two-run single by Matt Franco for a walk-off win in the ninth at Shea Stadium. Read game stories in the Record, Post, Times, Daily News and Newsday.

• Reyes overcame a 244,832-vote deficit in the final days of fan balloting to emerge as the starting NL shortstop over Troy Tulowitzki. Reyes actually beat Tulowitzki 4,707,976 to 3,932,000. Carlos Beltran also was named to the All-Star squad -- his fifth selection in seven years as a Met. Only Darryl Strawberry represented the Mets more as an outfielder in franchise history. Beltran has appeared in a team-high 82 games, which was not exactly foreseeable given his recent knee woes and inactivity during spring training. Giants manager Bruce Bochy was the one to name Beltran to the squad, over other deserving candidates such as snubbed Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post and Newsday.

Gary Carter's daughter continues to chronicle the catcher's battle with cancerous brain tumors. Writes daughter Kimmy Bloemers:

On Wednesday, dad had a great day and evening but after dinner, he had a fast heartbeat, turned pale, cramping hands, quivering lips and was very fatigued. We called Dr. Harris and he gave us some tips to make dad feel more comfortable. Thankfully, dad was okay but it truly was a very scary moment. Thursday-Sunday for the most part were good days. :) Everything else seems to be going well for the most part so we are thankful and we focus on all the positives.

• Dickey left Sunday's game after five innings. The previous inning, Dickey felt a shock run down his posterior on the left side when he slipped while delivering a pitch to Brett Gardner. The Mets identified the injury as involving the buttocks. Alderson expected Dickey would make his final start before the All-Star break as scheduled Friday at San Francisco. Dickey indictaed he had a similar issue last season in Los Angeles and was uninhibited. He did not allow a hit in Sunday's outing until the fifth. Read more in the Post.

Willie Harris returned from a three-day bereavement leave. Fernando Martinez was optioned back to Triple-A Buffalo.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff highlights Bay's contribution to the victory. Writes Davidoff:

The odds of the Mets coming back to prevail were about the same as . . . well . . . Bay being as astoundingly bad as he has for the Mets since signing a four-year, $66-million deal in January 2010. But he finally has picked up his play, with 22 hits in his last 64 at-bats. And given how much his teammates respect him, his progress represents a spiritual lift in addition to the actual increased production. "This is enormous," Terry Collins said. "To have the game we had, to battle to the end and score off Mariano, it doesn't happen very often. And then you get the one guy that we need to get going and have him get a big hit for us."

BIRTHDAY: Infielder Jose Oquendo, who played for the Mets in 1983 and '84 before being traded to the Cardinals, turns 48. he went on to play 10 seasons with St. Louis, and remains with that organization on Tony La Russa's coaching staff.