It's quite complicated to gaze into the future and see what's coming.
Often enough, you don't want to assume, as the old saying goes.That being said, New York Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, took his own shot at predicting the future last week, saying there was little chance that his star shortshop, Jose Reyes, would get "Carl Crawford money."
Well, certainly the cash-strapped Mets won't be giving him that type of contract. Wilpon better believe what's coming, though, because, in my estimation, Reyes will get that money on the open market.
To remind ourselves first what Carl Crawford money is, we'll hearken back to December 8 of last year, when the Boston Red Sox gave the highly-touted outfielder a seven-year, $142 million deal.
Crawford was coming off a season in which he posted numbers of .307/.356/.495, while hitting 19 homers and driving in 90 runs. To say the least, it was the best year of Crawford's career, and he cashed in.
It appears as if Reyes is prepared to do the same. And why not? The eerie resemblances between Reyes and Crawford are almost too much to ignore. To date, Crawford's career slash-line: how about .294/.335/.441? And Reyes? A strikingly-similar .288/.338/.437, which will certainly draw comparisons to Crawford.
And yet Wilpon believes that Reyes can't get his Carl Crawford money. He might want to think again. Reyes is in the midst of the best year of his career, hitting .335 with a .382 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage, all of which, if they hold up, would be career highs.
Some will say that Crawford's big payday was skewed slightly by the large contract that the Washington Nationals handed Jayson Werth, which set the market off in a whole new direction. But even thought that may be true, if Reyes had been a free agent this past off-season, you can bet he would have gotten Carl Crawford money.
Certainly, teams will line up for Reyes' services. Three that immediately come to mind are San Francisco, a team desperately in need of an offensive spark plug such as Reyes to bolster their lineup; division rival Philadelphia, who could see Jimmy Rollins walk after 2011; or Boston, which could be looking to replace Jed Lowrie.
Certain caveats: San Francisco may trade for Reyes before July 31, make a playoff run, and then be unable to sign him at season's end. Another is: Philadelphia? Really? The same fanbase that has come to hate Reyes since he entered the league? Well, stranger things have happened. And one more: Can Boston really afford to put so much money into Crawford, slugger Adrian Gonzalez, and Reyes?
Those won't be the only options for Reyes, but they would likely be attractive to him and his agent, Peter Greenberg, who has done good work in the past with other clients such as Johan Santana and Bobby Abreu.
Reyes' position of shortstop is a premium, and he will certainly command premium dollars. He currently leads the National League in Wins Above Replacement, at 2.9, an outstanding start to the season, especially for someone at shortstop.
He is also his usual self on the basepaths, with 19 steals in 23 tries thus far. With the case being made for Reyes, what could stop him from getting more than Crawford?
He will surely try to compare himself to Troy Tulowitzki, who's lengthy and detailed $159 million contract with Colorado pays him $20 million annually from 2015 through 2019, when he will be his 30-34 years of age.
Reyes, 28, is heading towards his prime. The only thing that may derail him is injury, and he has had a number of nicks and bruises, including minor yet frustrating injuries to his legs, specifically his calf and minor hamstring troubles.
If Reyes doesn't have his legs, he doesn't have his game. There will also be the questions about what goes on inside Reyes’ head, as many have wondered whether or not he is always focused on every play in every game.
He has been known to make his fair share of mistakes, and even made a blunder in Sunday’s game against Philadelphia where he let a slow ground ball escape between his legs. Those types of plays will infuriate teammates, coaches, and management, but it’s hard to ignore what Reyes has done so far this season. You take the good with the bad and move on.
So, what kind of money is Reyes looking at when he hits the open market? He certainly will shoot for the moon, probably looking for a seven-year mega-deal in the range of Crawford’s $142 million. At the very least, he will be compared to Tulowitzki, one of the few elite shortstops in the league, and ask for $20 million per season for the near future, which will be the prime of his career.
Reyes’ payday is impending, be it in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia or somewhere else. In all likelihood, he won’t even end up in any of those places. After all, who saw Crawford to Boston, Werth to Washington, or Cliff Lee to Philadelphia this past winter?
Oftentimes, grand plans are made for a certain player to go somewhere, and it never happens. But no matter where Jose Reyes ends up this off-season, he will get his Carl Crawford money. And (maybe) then some.