Blog Red Machine is reporting that the Reds have been in discussions with the Mets concerning all-star shortstop Jose Reyes. The blog says several “insiders” have reported the Reyes discussions.

Reyes is under contract for one more season with the Mets for $11 million. According to Reds public comments concerning budget, that would be a large contract to absorb, but if the Reds compete at a high level again next season attendance will continue to rise and additional ancillary items will also sell building the Reds revenue stream.

As Blog Red Machine says:

Jose Reyes is one of the best leadoff men in baseball when he is healthy. The last two seasons he has had some injury problems, but his speed on the basepaths scares anybody. Having Reyes and (Drew) Stubbs in the same lineup would put pressure on any defense.

Then there is this:

The Reds would almost certainly have to give up either Mike Leake, Travis Wood or Homer Bailey. And in addition, the Mets could be looking for two more prospects, one a top tier prospect and another lower level prospect. There has been much discussion regarding which of the three starting pitchers listed above would be most likely to be traded. Leake, I believe, would probably be Walt Jocketty’s last choice with Wood or Bailey going before him.

It is not believed that Jocketty wants to trade Yonder Alonso, and the Mets already have Ike Davis at first base.

If it were up to me, I’d try to move Edinson Volquez instead as he will be getting paid more than the younger guys which would help soften the blow on the salary issue. As for choosing between Wood, Leake, and Bailey, I believe Bailey has the highest ceiling of the three and we could use Wood as a lefty starter. I’m still not certain what to make of Leake. He had a very good rookie year and took everyone by surprise. Depending on your perspective it could be said he was mature in his development or it could be said that he’s walking a fine line with his skill set when it comes to long-term major league success.

My feeling all along has been that the Reds need a stud shortstop to take them to the next level. I’m a fan of Paul Janish’s glove, but I do think his offensive ability will be challenged as a full-time player. Reyes is almost a year younger than Janish and has played nearly 700 more major league games.

I don’t know what kind of package it would really take to get Reyes and I don’t know who the Mets would play at shortstop without him. Reyes missed about a month last season due to a thyroid problem and 20-year-old Ruben Tejada filled in, but hit only .213 in 78 games. The Mets drafted a second baseman, Brad Emaus, in the Rule 5 draft, but he hasn’t played shortstop in the minors. John Sickels, author of the yearly “Minor League Handbook”, wrote in November that the Mets’ farm system isn’t that bad, it’s just missing some top flight candidates. He rates shortstop Wilmer Flores as the Mets’ top prospect, but he’s only 19 and was still in High A ball last season.

I don’t know who the “insiders” are that are discussing Reyes, but I do think he’s the kind of player that the Reds should be pursuing to take the team to the next level.

The Reds have some shortstops in the minor league system, but I don’t know that last year’s AAA starter Zack Cozart has a high enough ceiling to improve the Reds. Cozart is an interesting blend of power with a little speed and a good glove, but isn’t projecting as an impact player. Cozart’s skill set reminds me of J.J. Hardy and — in my opinion — Hardy’s not the kind of player to carry a championship team (Hardy was traded to the Orioles yesterday, his third team in three years). The Reds younger prospects aren’t ready, and Billy Hamilton, who I thought may be the best of the lot, played 55 games at second base in 2010 and only 13 at shortstop.