Mets GM discusses Jose Reyes' future

MILWAUKEE -- New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has spoken with the representatives for Jose Reyes since the free-agent shortstop's visit last week to Miami. And Alderson is under the impression that Reyes is not signing quickly with the Marlins ... or anywhere else.

Then again, Alderson noted, closer Jonathan Papelbon already has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. So you never know.

"I've said in the past, these things typically go slowly," Alderson said on Monday afternoon, after arriving at the Pfister Hotel ini Milwaukee for the annual GM meetings. "But apparently Papelbon is already signed."

Alderson said he does not expect Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg, to meet with teams at the GM meetings because Greenberg is out of the country.

FoxSports.com reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed source, that the Marlins' initial offer to Reyes was $90 million over six years.

As for the Mets' dialogue with Reyes, Alderson said: "We've had some conversations. I wouldn't classify them as substantive -- more than phone tag. ... I don't want to get into any detail. But I also while saying I don't want to comment, I don't want to give you the false impression that we are anywhere along the road. I still think it's early, notwithstanding all the background noise from the last week."

Alderson expects to be given a chance to make an offer once it gets late in the process.

"Nobody has promised us we'll have the last clear chance, but I would expect we would continue to talk with Jose's agents," Alderson said. "It's been amicable to this point."

If Reyes were to end up with the Marlins, or anywhere in the division, the Mets would see the 2011 NL batting champ 18 times a season.

Alderson confirmed Ruben Tejada would be the shortstop in Reyes' absence. He did not commit to Daniel Murphy being the primary second baseman in that scenario, but that is expected to be the case.

"I don't think Jose ending up anywhere outside the Mets is ideal," Alderson said. "In terms of in the division or out of the division, ultimately that's not something we control."

It would be a double-whammy if Reyes ended up with the Marlins. Miami picks ninth in the draft, which means its first-round pick is protected. That means the Mets would get Miami's second-round pick for losing Reyes, not the Marlins' first-round pick.

"That's not something we can control, so it's not something I can worry about," Alderson said.

Alderson added that he is working under the assumption that the existing draft-pick compensation rules will be in effect for free agents signed this offseason. Major League Baseball and the players' union are nearing a new collective bargaining agreement that will alter the way draft-pick compensation works.

"I'm operating on the assumption, the presumption I guess, that the old rules will be grandfathered in for next season," Alderson said. "But I don't know that."

Alderson has suggested the Mets' payroll could go from $140 million this past season to less than $100 million on Opening Day in 2012.

Asked if the payroll constraint was fueling the Mets' approach to Reyes, Alderson said: "I wouldn't say that's strictly the case -- that if the payroll were higher we would definitely re-sign Jose. I wouldn't say that was necessarily the case."

Alderson added that dialogue with other teams is not far enough along that he can conclude that the Mets do not have a shot at re-signing Reyes.

Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.