Let the Jose Reyes sweepstakes begin.
As of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, teams can begin bidding on the New York Mets free agent All-Star shortstop.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that he has met with Reyes' representatives. However, he does not foresee a quick resolution with the organization's franchise player.
"Things are going to go slowly, which I think is typical of most if not all free agents," Alderson said. "Very few sign during the exclusive period."
"Take it out of the Jose Reyes context into just the general free agent context," Alderson continued. "There are some situations where a player might indicate what it would take for him to forgo the free agent market. There are some situations where a club might try to make a pre-emptive offer to preclude that (open bidding).
"I don't think either one of those things is going to happen in this case. I don't think Jose is going to give us a number for which he would forgo free agency. I don't think we're in a position to make him what I would characterize as a pre-emptive offer."
Reyes' agent Peter Greenberg has politely declined to comment on his client's future.
The 28-year-old Reyes is coming off a career season in which he hit a career-high .337, scored 101 runs and stole 39 bases. However, he's been injury-prone, and played just 126 games in 2011 as a result.
Reyes is expected to command a multiyear contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million. The Mets already have $65 million committed to pitcher Johan Santana, third baseman David Wright and left fielder Jason Bay, which may make it difficult to retain Reyes.
Alderson has said the Mets' 2012 payroll is projected to fall somewhere between $100 million to $110 million, but added it could be lower when the season begins.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.