Way back when, Jose Reyes was the Mets player that the Giants coveted.
Way back when, Reyes was the player that you were absolutely certain the Mets would be trading this month. Even two weeks ago, at the All-Star Game, one person close to Reyes said he wasn't totally convinced Reyes would still be with the Mets after July 31.
And as for the chances that the Mets would be able to keep Reyes past this season? Way back then, that was laughable.
But after the Mets made the Carlos Beltran trade with the Giants official on Thursday, general manager Sandy Alderson said what had become apparent over the last week. He doesn't have plans to trade anyone else away this month, and he certainly doesn't have plans to trade Jose Reyes.
It's still hard to know exactly how much chance the Mets have of signing Reyes after the season. That's because it's hard to know what their financial situation will be, and also because it's hard to know how Reyes' outstanding 2011 season will affect his market value.
On the first point, it's worth noting that the Mets felt good enough about their money situation that they paid $4 million of Beltran's contract, in order to get the Giants to deal a better prospect (Zack Wheeler). There's no doubt that the lawsuit stemming from the Bernie Madoff mess has taken some favorable turns from the Mets' standpoint.
But even with that, Alderson was asked whether the $5 million saved in the Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez trades would be put back into the payroll, he said only that he was "fairly confident that at least a portion of it will be reinvested in players."
"What about Reyes?" Alderson said, repeating the question on the conference call. "I don't know, $5 million is not going to get him signed. Hopefully, we'll engage him in the offseason."
For Mets fans who covet Reyes the way the Giants once did, that's sort of good news, because at least it is no longer a given that Reyes will be gone. Not only that, but it's now a given that he'll at least remain in a Mets uniform through September.
Way back when, that seemed impossible.