Commentary

Reyes prepared for week of uncertainty

Only the NL batting title is left in what could be the star's last homestand at Citi Field

Updated: September 23, 2011, 7:24 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

ST. LOUIS -- As Jose Reyes returns to Citi Field for perhaps his final homestand as a New York Met, the shortstop offered this prediction to longtime teammate David Wright:

"I told D-Wright yesterday, 'This week is going to be busy in New York,'" Reyes said.

With the Mets long-eliminated from postseason competition, and having clinched a third straight sub-.500 season with Wednesday's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the two biggest remaining areas of curiosity involve Reyes.

Will Reyes top Milwaukee's Ryan Braun for the National League batting title?

And where will the free-agent-to-be Reyes call home in 2012?

The latter issue will provide far more angst and intrigue. And it figures to be a question Reyes is often asked during the series against the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds that complete the season.

"Right now I don't think about it," Reyes said Thursday morning about whether he will re-sign with the Mets or depart. "Maybe when we go back to New York it's going to be the last homestand for me. I don't want to say the last, because I don't know what's going to happen.

But you never know. I don't know if I'm going to be back or not. It's going to be interesting. I just want to finish the season and see what's going on."

Said Wright: "I haven't thought much about it. And I don't think Jose really has thought too much about it. I think you play the season out, and then you start worrying about those things. For me, of course I hope they get something done. I think Jose makes the team better. I think Jose makes me better. So, of course, I'm hoping -- fingers crossed -- something gets done. But, at the same time, Jose has earned the right to explore free agency. He's had a tremendous season. He's a fantastic player. And I'm pretty sure there's going to be quite the market for him."

Reyes reiterated he loves New York.

"This is the only team that I played [for] so far in my whole career," Reyes said. "I feel comfortable here. I feel good with the ownership. I feel like we are family and stuff like that. At the same time, this is a business. And to be honest with you, I don't know what's going to happen. Right now I want to finish the couple of [remaining] games strong and see what happens."

If the offers are similar, it stands to reason Reyes would be partial to the Mets. But if he gets a significantly better offer elsewhere, it seems inevitable Reyes would have to accept.

"It's too soon to say," Reyes said. "We need to wait and see what's going to happen. Right now I can't tell you anything because I don't know what is going to be, how it's going to be. I just need to wait, and we're going to find out soon. It's going to be soon. So we'll see what happens."

Reyes said there are tentative plans for Ruben Tejada, who lives in Panama, to come to New York for two weeks during the offseason to work out with him on Long Island. Tejada and Reyes have the same agent. Reyes, though, said he initiated the joint workout idea. The two conceivably could serve as a double-play tandem in 2012 ... or, perhaps more likely, Tejada could succeed Reyes as Mets shortstop.

Reyes said Tejada can be an everyday shortstop in New York.

"There's no doubt," Reyes said. "You see him on the field, the way he plays, he looks comfortable out there. I think the more that he plays at this level, the better he's going to get.

He's still 21. And he knows how to play the game. That's a good sign. I think he's going to be good for a long time."

As for batting title, Reyes entered Thursday .00043 ahead of Braun -- with both listed at .330 after rounding. If the pattern holds, Reyes will receive constant reminders during the final six-game homestand of their neck-and-neck battle, since the scoreboard has been carrying their daily performances side by side. The Mets never have had a batting champion.

"That thing, it's not in my head, because if I put that stuff in my head when I go to home plate, I'm going to think about, 'Oh, what is this guy doing?'' Reyes said. "Right now I try to get my hits, try to get on base, no matter how."

Meanwhile, Reyes and Wright are Nos. 1 and 2 in seniority on the Mets, having made their debuts in 2003 and '04, respectively.

"It does seem like time goes by fast, that we were both coming up and younger players," Wright said. "And now I don't think either one of us have been called young in a while."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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