Mets not rushing Reyes back to big leagues

Club to retain control of four-time All-Star through 2017

Mets not rushing Reyes back to big leagues

WASHINGTON -- Through three games at two Minor League levels since signing with the Mets, Jose Reyes is 0-for-9 with a fielding error, including an 0-for-4 evening with a run scored Tuesday for Double-A Binghamton at Altoona.

Yet the Mets have little cause for concern. The whole reason Reyes is in the Minor Leagues is to grow acclimated to a new position -- third base -- and to refine his timing at the plate. Three games would not be enough to do that even if Reyes were in better form, which is why he told the Mets he doesn't expect a promotion until he truly feels prepared for the rigors of the big leagues.

"He wants to be ready," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "I don't think he's anxious to get here as soon as possible regardless of how he feels or what he accomplishes at Binghamton, which I think is sort of the mature way to look at it. He wants to be ready. He doesn't want to disappoint to the extent that he can avoid it. So we're just taking it one game at a time."

Mostly for that reason, the Mets have not revealed when they expect Reyes to report to New York. He will stay with Binghamton until his promotion, playing exclusively third base, with outfield duty a possibility only after he arrives in Flushing. Reyes, who played six innings at third base on Tuesday, will not leave Binghamton until he plays nine on back-to-back nights.

In that and other ways, signing with the Mets was a long-term proposition for Reyes, who eschewed his right to seek an extension on top of his current deal next winter. That means the Mets will retain control of Reyes through the 2017 season, at a roughly league-minimum price.

"We felt it was important to us if we were going to make the commitment to Jose, with all of the issues surrounding that decision, that if it works out, it works out for a year and a half," Alderson said. "He was very amenable to that."

The Mets do, however, hope and believe Reyes can provide them short-term help, considering he may be their only high-profile infield acquisition. Though the Mets held a private workout for Yulieski Gurriel on Monday, the Mets don't expect the Cuban free agent to be ready for game action until the end of July. That combined with Gurriel's price tag, may dissuade them from making any sort of aggressive bid on him.

But if the Mets do pursue Gurriel, it won't have a significant impact on Reyes, who could eventually be capable of playing at five different spots.

"The one thing about Reyes is that because he's willing to play a number of different positions," Alderson said. "If everything works out with Jose, he gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of position. … Jose gives us a lot of versatility and therefore a lot of flexibility. So in that case, I don't think he precludes someone like Gurriel."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.