Jose Reyes of the New York Mets appears to be a prime candidate to be traded before this year’s MLB trade deadline. He is set to be a free agent at season’s end, and the Mets may not be in a position to re-sign him.
Though many Mets fans will miss their dynamic leadoff man and shortstop, he will likely net the Mets some high-level prospects in return. If the team’s new ownership refuses to give him a multi-year deal worth upwards of $100 million, Reyes may be calling some place other than Flushing home.
Reyes has openly said he would like to finish his career as a Met, but if another opportunity presents itself, he would have to consider it. He’s off to a good start this season, so teams in need of a game-changing player down the stretch may come knocking on the Mets door.
If a team is looking to acquire Reyes as a playoff rental, that team would try to give up as little young talent as possible. However, a team that is prepared to offer Reyes a long-term extension may not mind dealing their top few prospects.
Reyes will be 28 in June, so he is still in the prime of his career. Though he endured some injury troubles the last few seasons, he looks like the Reyes of old early on.
Here are 10 possible trade packages the Mets could ask for in return for Reyes.
Current Shortstop: Cliff Pennington
The Oakland A’s improved their offense this offseason by adding Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus. The team’s young pitching is electric, though still inexperienced as a whole.
Cliff Pennington is the team’s current shortstop, and Jose Reyes would be a huge upgrade in this department.
Reyes would be a triples machine in Oakland’s Overstock.com Coliseum—what a terrible stadium name, by the way.
The A’s have some good young prospects they could include in the deal. Though he failed to make the team out of spring training, slugging prospect Chris Carter could be the centerpiece of any deal. He’s a first baseman/outfielder who hits monster home runs, but needs to work on his defense and consistency.
A’s 2009 first-round pick Grant Green may also be included in the deal. Green is a shortstop, so the Mets would need to acquire some depth at the position if they deal Reyes.
The question would be whether Oakland is acquiring Reyes for the long haul, or if they would just be renting Reyes for a playoff push. If the latter is the case, the A’s may be reluctant to include their big-time prospects.
Current Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt
With the uncertainty surrounding Prince Fielder’s contractual status, the Milwaukee Brewers may try to make a deep postseason run this year while they can.
Jose Reyes would form a deadly combination of speed and power atop the Brewers order with Rickie Weeks. These two would set the table for the team’s big boppers in Ryan Braun, Fielder and Corey Hart.
Any deal for Reyes would likely include Brewers top pitching prospect Mark Rogers. Rogers has a good fastball, and the Mets can use all the pitching help they can get.
The Brewers could also include Yuniesky Betancourt and another middle infield prospect to give the Mets shortstop depth.
Like the A’s, the Brewers would rely on Reyes to get them into the playoffs, but that’s probably it. If Milwaukee can’t re-sign Fielder, they likely won’t be able to sign Reyes either.
Current Shortstop: Alexi Casilla
The Minnesota Twins are in desperate need of a jolt of energy. The Twinkies are off to a 9-18 start for a team that looked like a lock to win the AL Central.
Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka suffered a broken leg after being taken out by New York Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher on a double play. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has pondered moving Nishioka back to his natural position of shortstop, which would leave Michael Cuddyer at second base. Nishioka is expected to be back later this month.
Alexi Casilla has been a non-factor thus far for the Twins.
However, Jose Reyes would allow Gardenhire more flexibility with his other players. Cuddyer is normally an outfielder or third baseman but is filling in at second due to Nishioka’s injury.
A possible deal for Reyes would have to include hard-throwing righty Kyle Gibson. The Twins have high hopes for Gibson, so it would be interesting to see if they part ways with their top prospect.
Lefty Brian Duensing may also attract the Mets attention.
The Twins invested a large sum of money in Nishioka, so signing Reyes long-term may be out of the question unless they could find a taker for Nishioka’s salary.
Current Shortstop: Derek Jeter
Though it appears highly unlikely a deal for Jose Reyes would get done, the New York Yankees must be mentioned as a possible destination whenever a big name is available.
The Yankees locked up future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter to a three-year deal this offseason, and already it’s looking like a poor investment. Jeter is hitting just .242 at the plate.
The problem for the Yankees would be what to do with Jeter if they acquire Reyes. A move to the outfield for Jeter has been pondered, but would the Yankees attempt to do that midseason?
Brett Gardner could be a possible trade chip for the Yankees, but the Mets would probably also ask for one of the catching prospects—Jesus Montero or Austin Romine—and one of the “Killer B’s” pitching prospects—Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances.
The Yankees have the money to lock up Reyes, but would their allegiance to Jeter block a potential trade?
Current Shortstop: Ryan Theriot
In an NL Central division that is up for grabs, the St. Louis Cardinals sit atop the standings through the first month.
However, the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers will be clawing at the Cardinals heels all summer.
Ryan Theriot is off to a good start, but he can also play second base, which would create a home for Jose Reyes.
An offense consisting of Albert Pujols, Matt Holiday, Reyes and a rejuvenated Lance Berkman would give opposing pitchers nightmares.
The Cardinals would likely have to part ways with top pitching prospect Shelby Miller to get the deal done.
With uncertainty surrounding Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals may look to hold onto Miller as possible rotation insurance. Additionally, the Cardinals may have bigger fish to fry when it comes to signing a free agent in the offseason: Albert Pujols.
Reyes could be a fallback free agent option for St. Louis if Pujols signs elsewhere, but other teams view Reyes as their No. 1 target.
Current Shortstop: Edgar Renteria
The Cincinnati Reds could be a possible landing spot for Jose Reyes.
Edgar Renteria only signed a one-year deal, and his career is winding down anyway.
Reyes would be an ideal table setter atop Cincinnati’s order for the likes of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen.
Once again, the NL Central may come down to the wire, and the defending champion Reds need to put themselves in a position to defend their crown.
Since it’s highly unlikely the Reds would deal Aroldis Chapman, the Mets could ask for one of Travis Wood or Mike Leake along with top prospect Yonder Alonso. However, Alonso is a first baseman, and the Mets have Ike Davis entrenched in that position.
If the Reds feel they can lock Reyes up long term, a deal can get done between the two teams.
Current Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta
The Detroit Tigers have some good young pitching prospects who would appeal to the Mets in a possible trade for Jose Reyes.
Max Scherzer throws some serious gas and is off to a good start through his first six starts. Control has been a concern for him, however.
Jacob Turner is the Tigers prized young prospect, who Detroit has been very patient with thus far. Lefty Andy Oliver could also be an option in a trade.
Even Daniel Schlereth—son of former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth—could be a potential bullpen arm for the Mets and maybe even a possible successor to Frankie Rodriguez as the team’s closer.
If the Tigers would be willing to package two of these players with some other prospects, Reyes could be heading to Detroit.
Jhonny Peralta would be a valuable option for infield depth at all four positions, while Reyes would join Austin Jackson atop a Tigers batting order that could be dangerous.
Current Shortstop: Miguel Tejada
At this point in his career, Miguel Tejada can be a valuable utility man/pinch hitter for a contending team. However, the San Francisco Giants have placed their faith in Miggy to be their everyday shortstop.
One way to do that will be to trade for Jose Reyes.
It’s quite unlikely the Giants would trade Brandon Belt, but they may be inclined to deal top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler if Reyes were to agree to a long-term extension beforehand.
The Giants already have great young pitching, so their top pitching prospects can be used as trade chips to acquire positions of need.
One of Brandon Crawford and Ehire Adrianza—both shortstops—and some mid-level prospects may seal the deal on the trade.
Current Shortstop: Erick Aybar/Macier Izturis
Two words: Mike Trout.
The speedy outfielder should get his chance at the Major League level very soon. His power is said to be still developing, and when it does, he will be the complete package.
The Angels have the young Peter Bourjos blocking Trout’s path. However, if the Angels are content moving forward with Bourjos, would they be willing to deal a package including Trout for Reyes?
Reyes is a proven player and is still only 28, while Trout hasn’t played a game above Double-A. This deal would 100 percent hinge upon Reyes signing an extension to remain an Angel.
It’s certainly a risk for the Angels to make this deal, but Reyes would be a staple at shortstop for the next decade.
Current Shortstop: Jed Lowrie
The Boston Red Sox have coveted Jose Reyes for the past few seasons.
A few years ago, a potential deal that would have sent Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran to the Red Sox for Jonathan Papelbon and Jacoby Ellsbury was shot down.
The Red Sox have been slow out of the gate, but they’re bound to catch the Yankees at some point. Reyes can be the player that brings them over the hump.
However, current Boston shortstop Jed Lowrie is off to a great start after taking over the everyday responsibilities from Marco Scutaro. Then again, Lowrie might have to be included in the deal to acquire Reyes.
The Mets have been linked to Ellsbury in the past, and a package of Ellsbury, Lowrie and few other prospects could get the job done. Ellsbury would take over in center field, shifting Angel Pagan back to right once Carlos Beltran leaves via free agency or is traded.
This might be the best available deal out there for the Mets, so they may be wise to strike while the iron is hot.