On Sunday evening, the nightmare that had been plaguing the New York Mets and their fans for months became a reality. After nine seasons in blue, orange and black, star shortstop Jose Reyes officially packed his bags to play elsewhere.

As Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings got underway in Dallas, the newly-renamed Miami Marlins came forth with a six-year, $106-million contract offer -- far above any deal the Mets were reportedly willing to make. In roughly the amount of time that it takes the speedy Reyes to steal a base, he signed his name on the dotted line.

Mets fans were devastated. Their most exciting player -- the one who drew admiring soccer-like chants of "Jose! Jose! Jose! Jose!" at Shea Stadium and Citi Field -- had jumped to a division rival. Many openly wondered how the fledgling franchise could cope with such a loss.

General manager Sandy Alderson understood the frustration. In an ideal world, he would have re-signed Reyes. But with the Mets still reeling from the massive Ponzi scheme orchestrated by convicted investor Bernie Madoff, Alderson's hands were financially tied.

Instead of feeling discouraged, Alderson put a plan of action into place on Tuesday. New York signed two relief pitchers via free agency (veterans Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco), and traded outfielder Angel Pagan to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Andres Torres and reliever Ramon Ramirez.

Within a span of 48 hours, the rebuilding Mets had turned over 20-percent of their Major League roster from 2011. More transactions could occur in the coming days and weeks.

Will these moves translate into success for the New York Mets in 2012? No one knows for sure, but this much seems certain -- Alderson and company won't sit idly by as Spring Training draws closer.