Jose Reyes: Speedy Shortstop Is Perfect Fit in Blue Jays' Powerful Lineup
The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the most powerful teams in baseball last season, but the offense lacked a table-setter at the top of the lineup.
The Blue Jays-Marlins trade is done... This is going to be one of the all-timers, with Reyes, Johnson, Bonifacio, Buck, Buehrle...holy crow.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 13, 2012
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria are part of the package coming back to Miami.
Obviously guys like Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson are noteworthy names as well, but let's focus on Reyes for now. Adding a player of his caliber is always a good thing, even if he is under a $106 million contract through 2017, but it's not just about talent in this situation.
Reyes is an excellent leadoff hitter because of his speed and contact hitting (only 56 strikeouts last season). He only hit .287, but he's hit over .300 in the past, so the room for improvement is there.
Because of how the Blue Jays are built, he's a perfect fit for the current lineup.
Toronto hit 198 home runs last season. With Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Kelly Johnson all swinging for the fences, or at least the gaps, having Reyes on base should increase Toronto's offensive production.
Obviously his health is a concern. He missed all but 36 games in 2009, and missed parts of 2010 and 2011, but he played 160 games for Miami last season. If he can stay on the field, this deal is a no-brainer for the Blue Jays' brass.
The Blue Jays aren't going to win a ton of games with only home run hitters who strike out a lot. They needed someone who could get on base, steal bases and make things happen. Reyes stole 40 bags last year and has cleared that mark five times in his career—including a 78-steal season in 2007.
Paying that kind of money for a player is bound to make people cringe, but this makes sense. Toronto knew it needed to make a splash to keep up in the American League East, and it pulled the trigger for a player who is a legitimate, five-tool game-changer.
Next year, the Blue Jays are still going to have one of the league's best home run teams. Every great offense needs a facilitator, and Reyes will make those home runs really count in 2013.
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