5 Reasons Jose Reyes Could Be a Huge Bust in the AL East
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Marlins are shipping nearly every one of their higher paid veteran players to Toronto, including pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson, utility player Emilio Bonifacio, catcher John Buck and shortstop Jose Reyes.
While all the details are being sorted out, ESPN.com has confirmed that shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, top outfield prospect Jake Marisnick and minor league pitcher Justin Nicolino are among the players headed to Miami.
A major key to the deal for Toronto is the acquisition of Reyes. One of the best shortstops in the game over the past decade, Reyes just signed a six year, $106 million contract with the Marlins prior to last season.
Although he is coming off a fine 2012 season there are five reasons why Reyes could end up being a huge bust for the Blue Jays.
Click through to find out the reasons why.
Statistics via BaseballReference
It Will Be Tough for Him to Live Up to His Contract
With only one season of his new contract under his belt Reyes, is owed $92 million over the next five seasons, with a $22 million team option in 2018.
About to turn 30 midway through the 2013 season, it is reasonable to surmise that he is as good as he is going to be and will start an inevitable decline at some point during the remainder of his contract. A smaller-market team like the Blue Jays can’t afford to have high paid and underachieving players on its roster.
Reyes will have to perform at an All-Star level during each season of his tenure in Toronto in order to be seen as being worth his big contract. This will be a tall order to live up to.
His Defense Is Not What It Used to Be
Earlier in his career, Reyes was a solid defensive shortstop, capable of making occasional highlight reel-worthy plays. As he has aged he has not been nearly as impressive in the field.
Reyes has never been better than league average in Range Factor, an advanced stat that measures how effective a fielder is in his defensive range. This will only continue to decline as he gets older
Reyes has also tied his career high of 18 errors in each of the past two seasons, which contributed to him having a negative dWAR for the first two times in his career. This could be an alarming trend for the remainder of his time in Toronto.
He Is Injury-Prone
Reyes may have played in 160 games in 2012, but in the three seasons before that he missed a total of 191 games.
Hamstring problems have been a major issue for Reyes. ESPN.com reported last year that his chronic struggles with his legs would likely cost him a lot of money in free agency.
For a player who depends so much on his speed and playing in the middle of the field, Reyes must have optimal use of his legs to be the most effective. His history combined with his age has to be a major concern for the Blue Jays.
He Has Not Been at His Best Against the AL East
Reyes has hit a combined .273 in 68 career games against those four AL East teams. By comparison, he has hit .292 against everyone else.
Reyes’ speed has also not been as effective in the AL East, where he has 17 stolen bases in 23 career attempts, good for a 73.9 percent success rate. This is lower than the 80.2 percent theft rate he has in all other games throughout his career.
The AL East traditionally boasts better pitching than other divisions, which may contribute to Reyes playing below his usual level when facing them as an opponent.
Now that Reyes is calling Toronto home, it’s a good bet he won’t be able to maintain the same level of production he has previously achieved.
He Will Be Under a Lot of Pressure
Despite having played the first nine seasons of his career in New York, Reyes may face even more pressure playing for the Blue Jays.
By making this trade, Toronto is gambling that it has a window of opportunity in the AL East.
The Yankees are aging and face budget concerns.
The Red Sox are trying to figure out who they are and where they are going after a disastrous 2012 season.
The Orioles will be hard-pressed to repeat their magical 2012 season, where they went 29-9 in one-run games with a ragtag roster of castoffs and retreads.
The Rays have great pitching, but could have one of the weakest offenses in baseball in 2013.
The Blue Jays will be under enormous pressure to win now. As a centerpiece of the deal, Reyes will be one of the players under the biggest microscope and be subject to a much slimmer margin of error. If the Blue Jays don't win, he will be one of the first to be assigned blame.
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