Yeah comparing Reyes to Castillo is really going too far - he's a much more dynamic player.
Of course, Jose wanted his big free agent deal - it's a rough business and it's rare that the talent within this business is in such a strong negotiating position with management (think of the many thousands of prospects who don't pan out on a yearly basis). But the thing is, what part of a contract do you pay for? Reyes took a first-year discount to sign with the hideous Marlins, for heck's sake - he agreed to back-load his deal to get it done, knowing they may deal him on the back-end. For less than what Alderson spent on some mid-level talent this off-season, the Mets could have had Reyes batting lead-off and playing SS behind Johan Santana on Opening Day - what's that worth to ticket sales? A ton.
I guess Pauly's right about the financial constraints - except that Alderson over-spent Jose's year one contract by several million bucks for the likes of Frank Francisco and Company! Sure, it's the Alderson model not to go long-term, and that's what we have now until he departs. We have to face facts: that's why Alderson was brought in - to slash and burn like Sherman through Georgia (Sherman was better with the fans and media, however).
But I think if the Mets had actually made an offer of 5-6 years in the range of what the Marlins did, even back-loaded because of current financial pressures, they'd have inked Reyes and sold the 300,000 tickets they now won't sell in 2012.
Further, what's the most successful franchise in MLB....[insert Jeopardy music here]...that's right Mets fans, it's the one across town owned by that corporation down in Tampa. Do they sign everyday All-Star players to long-term deals (especially 29-year-olds)? Oh, I think they do.
Cleon Jones catches a deep fly ball in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Valley of the Ashes, and a second-grader smiles in front of the black and white television.