There have been rumors floating around Port St. Lucie that Jose Reyes may not be the leadoff hitter on April 5th, when the Mets host the Marlins to open the 2010 season. Naturally, several questions float around when someone like Jose, who has been a fixture at the top of the Mets lineup so long as he’s been healthy isn’t there anymore.

If Jose Reyes isn’t leading off, who is? Why wouldn’t he leadoff, he’s one of the best leadoff hitters in the game? And most importantly, if Jose Reyes isn’t opening the bottom of the 1st versus Florida with a leadoff hit, than who is?

The answer to the first question is Angel Pagan, but don’t rule out Luis Castillo. The reason for this is simple, Carlos Beltran won’t be ready to go until May, and Reyes makes things happen. He’ll see a lot of pitches, and that will help Jason Bay and David Wright behind him have a better idea of what to expect when they follow. Until Carlos returns to his 3rd position in the lineup, this is my prediction of the opening day lineup:

Angel Pagan, CF

Daniel Murphy, 1b

Jose Reyes, SS

Jason Bay, LF

David Wright, 3b

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Omir Santos, C

Luis Castillo, 2b

Johan Santana, P

Of course, this will be completely different if Mike Jacobs can beat out Daniel Murphy at first base, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that happens. Because of that distinct possibility, I’ve constructed an additional lineup, with Mike Jacobs at first base, and Angel Pagan in center field.

Angel Pagan, CF

Luis Castillo, 2b

Jose Reyes, SS

Jason Bay, LF

David Wright, 3b

Mike Jacobs, 1b

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Omir Santos, C

Johan Santana, P

Both lineups aren’t the same without Beltran in the middle or without Jose at the top, but I believe New York can survive with this lineup. The key though, is surviving until Beltran returns without additional injuries because that is what bit New York last year. Angel Pagan in center is fine, as long as Gary Matthews, Jr. isn’t in Left Field playing rather than Jason Bay. And if Jose Reyes misses significant time again this season, you can forget about it. Alex Cora at shortstop just isn’t going to work. I personally can’t survive another season of Daniel Murphy in the 3, 4, or 5 hole.