DALLAS -- Jose Reyes fumbled while buttoning his garish, No. 7 Miami Marlins jersey on Wednesday at the Hilton Anatole, prompting team president Larry Beinfest to joke: "I thought you did everything quick."
Reyes laughed, then formally defected from the New York Mets to their division rival for a six-year, $106 million contract with an option for 2018.
"I always said I wanted to stay in New York, but that don't happen," Reyes said. "Like I said, I need to move on. They don't offer anything really. They don't make a real offer. They don't want me there. Like I said, I need to move on. I'm not part of the New York Mets anymore. I thank them for giving me the opportunity to play in this game, but now it's all about the Miami Marlins."
Reyes said he was heavily swayed by the hard-court press from the Marlins from the get-go. The minute Miami officials were eligible to meet with Reyes, they did so. Team owner Jeffrey Loria and other Marlins executives met with Reyes and his agents at the Hotel Carlyle on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 3 -- the minute they were eligible to talk.
Loria had the new Marlins jersey tucked under his overcoat, but could not officially present it to Reyes because it was not set to be introduced until the following week.
"Those guys flying from Miami to here at 12:01, that showed me something -- that showed me like they really want me here," Reyes said.
The Mets never submitted a formal bid for Reyes, although they did talk parameters with Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg. Greenberg said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was sincere in his approach.
"I told Sandy, 'We're getting pretty close to getting something done. We may not get to the winter meetings,'" Greenberg said. "So he went back to his owners and came back with the parameters of something they would be able to accomplish, that they would be able to do. But it wasn't really concrete enough. I went to Jose, and Jose said, 'Tell them to make an offer, let me know where they're at and then we'll be able to compare.'
"We had a lot of money on the table and a very good situation for Jose and decided it wasn't worth the risk to wait any longer."
Beinfest indicated Hanley Ramirez would move to third base to accommodate Reyes.
Reyes had to move from shortstop to second base in 2004 with the Mets to accommodate the signing of Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui. At the time, he was displeased. But Reyes minimized the toll of a player switching positions from shortstop at the press conference.
Reyes now turns the title of longest-tenured Met over to David Wright. Wright texted Reyes congratulations.
"I think he's going to be fine, because he's a guy who works hard every day," Reyes said.
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.