We all know everything that Reyes provides. He is a surpurb defensive shortstop which is hard to come by. Reyes' speed makes any team more dangerous either on the bases or as an extra base hitter. But, if Reyes does leave, the biggest fasset of his game that the Mets are going to have the hardest time replacing is the leadoff spot that he has occupied since he joined the Mets in 2003. The only Met player on their current roster who can bat leadoff with any consistancy is Angel Pagan. Many think there is a good chance Pagan will be non-tendered and become a free agent himself. If Reyes leaves and Pagan is non-tendered, that leaves the Mets with only one place to go for their 2012 leadoff man.... another team.
Jordany Valdespin has the tools to be a leadoff hitter, but he is not ready for the major leagues. Anybody that thinks Ruben Tejada is the answer isn't paying attention. Sure Tejada has the tools to be a major league shortstop and is the odds on favorite to replace Reyes if he leaves. He has also shown in a short period of time that he can be a regular player in their lineup. But under no circumstance will Tejada ever be a major league leadoff batter. Tejada has decent speed but is not a base-stealer. He is still a couple of years away from becoming a decent baserunner; he doesn't read pitchers well enough when he is on the bases. Plus his plate discipline serves him best as a number two hitter. So, like I said the team's next leadoff batter is either another team's free agent or currently on another team.
Could Pagan be kept for just that reason? I don't think so. I think that the Mets are evaluating all options and will come to a decision to whether Pagan has a future on this team. The decision to keep Pagan will have nothing to do with whether Reyes returns.
Some possiblilties would be a trade for Tampa Bay's BJ Upton or Minnesota's Denard Span. Austin Jackson would be a great addition if he could be had. Free agent possibilities are Coco Crisp and Rafael Furcal. Whatever happens, I wonder what uniform number the Mets new leadoff batter will wear.