The courtship for Jose Reyes by the Miami Marlins began at one minute past midnight on Nov. 3 and was finalized Sunday with a six-year $106 million contract because of the New York Mets feeble effort to sign their four-time All-Star shortstop.
"They didn't make me an offer," said Reyes decked out in a new Marlins jersey at a press conference in Miami this afternoon. "They didn't want me."
Reyes, who was being introduced as the new Miami shortstop, said he was happy to be going to Miami and playing for the Mets' division rival.
"They showed me that they really want me there," said Reyes. "They really pushed for me."
"I'm part of a new family now," said the ex-Met. "I love the city. I love the stadium."
The Marlins didn't wait long to start wooing their new prize after he became open game.
Reyes' agent Peter Greenberg said that at that 12:01 moment inside the Carlisle Hotel bar in Manhattan, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria met with Reyes, opened his trench coat like a subway flasher and revealed a Marlins jersey with Reyes' name on the back.
A couple of days later, Reyes was down in Miami to check out the new stadium.
"They showed me they really wanted me," laughed Reyes. "People say these guys are crazy...12:01? That's why I'm here today."
Miami jumped at the chance to "sweep him off his feet" according to Greenberg.
Reyes wouldn't elaborate on the Mets reluctance to resign him but their intentions were pretty clear after they didn't swap him before the trade deadline and made a five-year offer lower than Miami's.
"I have to move on," said Reyes about the only major league team he has ever played for.
Reyes thanked the Mets and their fans for "giving me the chance to play in the big leagues."
"[Mets fans] showed me a lot of love, and the support me in good times and bad," he said.
Now, it's on to a team with a new name, sunny weather and "a lot of Spanish people there," he beamed. "It's the perfect situation in Miami... I think I'm going to like it there."