MLB Free Agents: 5 Teams That Will Be in the Running for Jose Reyes
This year's free agent class has some big bats. With the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder due to enter free agency, Jose Reyes could be just as important to some teams.
Reyes has been having a career year this season for the Mets. He is the kind of hitter that can jump start a lineup with his speed, fielding and enthusiastic personality. The Mets have already said he will not receive "Carl Crawford money" (seven years for $120 million), but odds are some team is going to offer Reyes that money.
Reyes has been on the disabled list twice this season, raising questions about his durability. This will probably lower his contract offers from teams afraid to commit money to an injury-prone player. This is definitely an advantage for the Mets, who will probably be able to match the highest offer and be able to retain Reyes' services.
Reyes is a very valuable commodity, especially at shortstop, where elite players are few and far between. The Mets are going to be careful with their wallets, but would love to have him back.
Just in case the Mets fail to sign Reyes, here are the next five teams who would be ready to try and sign him.
NOTE: I did not put the teams in order of how likely they are to sign Reyes.
New York Mets
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On Friday, Mets fans held a "Please Stay, Jose" rally in Citi Field before the Mets took on the Brewers. Mets fans are aware of how important Reyes is to the club. He is a home-grown player and Mets fans have endured the immature years of Reyes and the heartbreak of 2006, 2007 and 2008 with him on the team. Now they want to see him in his prime years as a Met.
Reyes loves the spotlight. He likes to dance on the field and he is an energy booster for both the team and the fans. He may get under the skin of opponents but he does it all in good fun.
The Mets are between fully rebuilding and being a contender. It is impossible for any team to fully rebuild in New York. People will not go to the games because there are so many other things to do. The Mets have to entertain in order to put people in the seats. If the Mets don't sign Reyes, there will be a lot of pessimism going into next season.
1. San Francisco Giants
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I know nobody thought the Diamondbacks would be leading the NL West on Aug. 29, but maybe we overrated the Giants a bit. This team is built for the postseason, but not for the regular season. People forget the Giants clinched their division on the last day of last season. Without a Padres meltdown, the Giants would not have made it to the playoffs last season.
The Giants need a hitter really badly. The lineup is not good without Buster Posey in it, and even with him in the lineup it still doesn't scare anybody. Reyes would be a great addition to the Giants. He would take over shortstop everyday and would be a force for the small-ball Giants.
The Giants have more money as a result of their World Series win in 2010 and the fans are coming to the beautiful ballpark. They could go crazy if they were to sign Reyes with the excitement he brings to the park every night.
I expect San Francisco to be one of the favorites to sign Reyes if he does not decide to return to the Mets.
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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How long have the Angels been searching for a hitter? After striking out in the Carl Crawford sweepstakes, the Angels may try to snag Reyes this year.
Arte Moreno has never been afraid to open his wallet for the team, with an example being acquiring Vernon Wells and his contract this offseason. The Angels already have the pitching to be a contender in the American League, and Reyes at the top of that lineup could bring some magic.
The Angels are one of the best-drawing American League teams in terms of attendance, selling 86.2 percent of seats per game, according to ESPN.
Angels fans would be delighted to sign Reyes, and speaking of Reyes liking the spotlight, Los Angeles (and Anaheim) is full of those.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
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Let's talk about the elephant in the room in St. Louis: The Cardinals may not have Albert Pujols in their lineup next year.
Nobody knows how likely the Cards are to sign Pujols, but I think we can all say that if Pujols leaves, they are going to go after some of the other free agents hard.
That is why I expect them to be in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes if Pujols does decide to leave. Cards fans are not going to be happy if Pujols leaves and they come back next year with no superstar. The pitching rotation needs to be settled and finding a full-time closer would be nice, but you have to add something to the lineup as well.
While Reyes does not replace Pujols by any stretch of the imagination, he helps to ease the pain. Reyes can manufacture runs for the Cardinals, who would probably transition into more of a small-ball team if Pujols leaves.
This is the worst case scenario for St. Louis, but if Pujols leaves, they could run up the price on Reyes.
4. Boston Red Sox
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Let's just say that if the Red Sox sign Jose Reyes there will be a "dream team" in baseball to match the Miami Heat and Philadelphia Eagles. That would be some team.
Having said that, the odds are pretty low that Boston would actually sign Reyes. The Red Sox most likely would not be able to afford Reyes' salary with the other superstars on the team.
The Red Sox could use an upgrade at shortstop, however. Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro do a good job at shortstop, but Reyes would be an obvious upgrade.
The Red Sox are probably not going to entertain the thought of Reyes coming to Boston unless he is willing to take a huge discount. Find me an American League team capable of paying Reyes the kind of money he wants and actually needs a shortstop (not the Yankees—Jeter's almost batting .300).
5. Milwaukee Brewers
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Put this with the St. Louis Cardinals in the "oh damn, we lost our top free agent so we have to do something" category.
If the Brewers are unable to sign Prince Fielder this offseason, they will have a lot of space open financially. Reyes would provide some pop for that lineup and help the transition of moving on after Fielder.
Look, the NL Central is not going to improve after this season. The Cardinals' and Brewers' main priority is to keep their biggest free agents, Pittsburgh won't spend, Cincinnati could get better from within and the Cubs and Astros have a long way to go. If the Brewers lose Fielder but sign Reyes, they could still be in the thick of the fight of the NL Central.
The only question is whether Reyes would actually sign in Milwaukee. I would tend to say no, but money talks, people.
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In my opinion, I don't see Reyes going anywhere. I see Reyes as the shortstop of the Mets next opening day. I think New York gives him the spotlight he craves and he thoroughly enjoys being a Met. The Mets will also be able to pay for him, too. However, if Reyes commands too much money I would not be surprised to see the Mets let him walk.
If he does decide to leave New York, I think the Giants or the Angels would be the most likely destinations. They both make a lot of sense and could bolster each roster significantly.
Thanks for the read and feel free to comment about Reyes' future.
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