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Balllllin’!!! Jose Reyes is outta here baby! New York that is.

A Mets era defined by excitement, hope and heartbreak is over, as Jose Reyes – once viewed along with David Wright as half of a core that would lead the franchise for years – will join the Miami Marlins.

According to multiple major league sources with direct knowledge of the deal, Reyes and Miami agreed on Sunday to a six-year contract worth $106 million. A Marlins source said the deal would be finalized within 24 hours, likely by the time the team’s contingent arrives in Dallas on Monday for the winter meetings.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the Mets never made a formal offer, but were clear with Reyes’ representatives that they were unwilling to match the Marlins’ deal.

Alderson heard from Reyes’ camp Sunday morning, and learned that “things were moving,” the GM said. “Exactly how far I didn’t ask. I didn’t need to.

“I think there was an understanding on (agent Peter Greenberg’s) part of what we were talking about in a complete contractual sense,” Alderson said, while emphasizing that he was not aware of an agreement between Reyes and Miami, other than through reading news reports. “But we did not make a formal offer.”

The Mets are planning to cut payroll this winter from about $130 million to approximately $100 million, and Alderson claimed that was only partially related to the team’s Bernard Madoff-related financial woes.

“Bernie Madoff and his specter are always referenced in these situations,” Alderson said. “I really don’t think that Madoff has that much to do with this. But when a team loses $70 million, irrespective of Bernie Madoff or anyone else, that is probably a bigger factor in our approach to this season and the next couple.”

In nine seasons, all with the Mets, Reyes batted .292, with a .341 on-base percentage and .728 OPS. A four-time All-Star, he led the league in stolen bases for three consecutive seasons from 2005-2007.

Last year, Reyes captured the first batting title in team history, finishing with a .337 average. But he also landed on the disabled list with hamstring injuries twice in 2011, reigniting concerns about fragility. Hobbled at the end of the season, Reyes scared the Mets away from a major long-term commitment.

That leaves 22-year-old Ruben Tejada, who has played in 174 games over parts of two seasons, as the only candidate to replace Reyes. Tejada has impressed the Mets with his baseball instincts, slick defense and patient at-bats — but no one would claim that he is close to Reyes’ level.

Angel Pagan, if the Mets decide to tender him a contract, is the most likely candidate to replace Reyes as the leadoff hitter. That will be a temporary move, because Pagan is clearly not seen as a part of the Mets’ long-term plan. Alderson and his deputies are shaping the roster in their own image, based on their own philosophies ­— and it is clear now more than ever that the Mets have embarked on a period of significant change.

Alderson would not, however, call it rebuilding. “Look, I’m not conceding anything with respect to 2012,” he said of a season that will likely be a struggle for the Mets. “If we get all our players back healthy, which would count among them people like Johan Santana, we’ll be fine.”

Congrats to Reyes on the move. SMH @ them poor Mets losing out thanks to shady a$$ Bernie Madoff!


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