Jose Reyes' Days as a Met Are Numbered: Where Will He End Up?
Jose Reyes’ days in a New York Mets uniform are numbered, that much is clear. His contract is up in six months, and based on what the Mets’ ownership group has shown its fans over the past couple of years, it will nearly impossible for them to sign Reyes to an extension.
What remains to be seen is whether Reyes is traded to a contender this season for prospects, or if he leaves via free agency. Either way, these will be his last days as a Met.
The early speculation is that Jose Reyes’ will look for a Carl Crawford-type contact on the free agent market. A player with Reyes’ injury history would almost guarantee skepticism from teams willing to pony up the cash. Will Reyes’ remain on the field long enough to be deemed worthy of such a large contract?
Carl Crawford was a more consistent, reliable player heading into his free agency year. However, Reyes is two years younger than Crawford and he plays a premier position. If you simply compare them on their raw skills, it would difficult to say Crawford is as talented as Reyes, who might have more physical skills than any other player in baseball.
When healthy, he is one of the most dynamic players in the game who plays Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, wreaks havoc on the base-paths and has enough pop in his bat to hit anywhere in the order.
However, I can’t see a situation where a team would be willing to pay $142 million and over seven years. The guess is the bidding begins somewhere in the four-to-five year range around $80-$90 million, with negotiations finishing up with six guaranteed years and about $115 million.
The five teams that follow are the ones that can afford to shell out that type of contract AND would have a need for Reyes.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals make sense for a few reasons.
First, they have a need at shortstop with no one of Reyes’ caliber on their roster. Second, they will need to bring in a big free agent to compensate for the loss of Albert Pujols, whom they will not resign.
(For all Cardinals fans who dispute this, please realize that if St. Louis was going to pay Pujols, they would have done so already, his value is not going down. Regardless of his 2011 season, whether he spends it batting .201 with 15 home runs or all of it on the DL with a torn ACL, he is going to be the game’s highest paid player next year. So why wait? They can’t afford him.)
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels missed out on every big free agent in 2010 and will look to rebound in 2011. Arte Moreno does not like sitting on the sidelines and watching top talent sign elsewhere.
They pushed hard for Mark Texeira and Carl Crawford in the last couple of years, showing they know they need a dynamic player. Vernon Wells, while a nice outfielder with decent production, is not the answer.
Jose Reyes might be.
New York Yankees
Okay, the Yankees are a stretch to sign Reyes with the left side of their infield locked up for the foreseeable future, but never count the Yankees out of anything.
Jeter is not shortstop quality anymore and Alex Rodriguez is on his way to becoming a full time DH.
The Yankees can definitely afford him, and can anyone imagine a better way to stick it to their cross-town rivals other than signing Reyes and playing him alongside Robinson Cano, making the best shortstop/second base tandem in baseball?
All right, let me have it Mets fans! What would be worse: Reyes signing with the Yankees or with the Phillies?
It makes sense from a Phillies prospective. Jimmy Rollins is a free agent at the end of the year and has shown signs of slowing down. The Phillies, like the Yankees, cannot be counted out on any free agent anymore, and Reyes would be a score.
He is a player who can bat leadoff, provide pop, steal bases and not be much of drop-off defensively from Rollins. After getting beaten by them for most of his career, Reyes might resort to “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
San Francisco Giants
The defending World Champions in 2011 will not hold that title in 2012. Their pitching is brilliant, but they lack a true offensive leader. And they will need a shortstop as well.
Reyes would be a perfect fit in the “City by the Bay.” Pac Bell Park (as I will always call it) might help Reyes hit 30 triples in a season. The Giants have shown a willingness to spend money in defense of their title, and once an ownership group gets the taste of that championship they’ve craved, they want the experience to last forever.
First the Giants and Dodgers left New York, now Jose Reyes follows suit.