Projecting Free Agency: The Top 5 Most Likely Landing Spots For Jose Reyes

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 10, 2011

Projecting Free Agency: The Top 5 Most Likely Landing Spots For Jose Reyes

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    We know that Jose Reyes will be one of the most sought after free agents this offseason.  The question is, where will he sign?  We are going to hear rumors surrounding all the big market teams, but many of them can seemingly be ruled out:

    • Phillies – They are already expected to be close to their budget restrictions, could easily re-sign Jimmy Rollins and now need to factor in replacing Ryan Howard.  I just don’t see where the money comes from.
    • Yankees – With Derek Jeter’s age people are going to speculate that there’s a match.  However, the Yankees have much more pressing needs (aka the starting rotation) and figure to turn their attention and budget elsewhere.
    • Red Sox – Like the Yankees, pitching figures to be a much more glaring need.  Plus, after they threw a lot of money at another speedster (Carl Crawford) with awful results, would it surprise anyone if they were a little bit more gun shy this offseason?

    So, with those major markets seemingly out of the running, who will step up and offer the necessary money to sign Reyes?  Let’s take a look:

5) Florida Marlins

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    While this may be a long shot, the more you think about it the more sense it makes.  The team is moving into a new stadium in 2012 and is looking to make a major splash this offseason.  Granted, they already have Hanley Ramirez manning shortstop, but they do have a glaring void at third base.  Could they ask Ramirez to move to the hot corner to make room for Reyes?  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that happened (Alex Rodriguez anyone?).

    Remember when the Marlins were at their best many years ago?  They had a dynamic top of the order led by Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre.  Imagine how impressive their lineup would be with Reyes at the top, followed by Emilio Bonifacio, Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Gabby Sanchez and Logan Morrison.

    If healthy, we know the rotation is there as well.  Led by Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins would appear to be one of the top teams in the NL.  Maybe it’s not such a wild idea after all.

4) Milwaukee Brewers

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    If Prince Fielder decides to leave Milwaukee as a free agent, would the team look to add a middle of the order bat?  Or, would they instead shake things up?

    The fact is that they are not in need of a slugger to replace Fielder.  Instead Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks, both of whom hit at the top of the order at times in 2011, could be shifted into the middle of the lineup full-time.  That would leave a gaping void at the top of the Brewers' lineup and who is better to fill it than Reyes?

    While they still would have home run hitters, the Brewers would become a team that could beat you with pitching and their legs (Reyes, Hart, Weeks and Ryan Braun could all steal plenty of bases).

3) New York Mets

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    His re-signing in New York is desperately needed, but it is hard to say that it is a certainty.  The Mets will struggle to replace him, but with significant budgetary concerns it remains to be seen if the team will be able to find a way to fit him into what seems certain to be an extremely reduced payroll.

    However, Sandy Alderson and company know that they will face a revolt from their fan base if they don’t take every step necessary to bring him back.  Will they succeed?  Who knows, but there certainly will be sweeping changes in New York this offseason.

2) Washington Nationals

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    They will continue looking to make a splash and they showed last season with the Jayson Werth signing that they will be willing to blow away the market to sign a player they want.  With Stephen Strasburg back from injury, there is no questioning that the Nationals have the pitching to be competitive in an NL East that suddenly looks a lot more interesting.

    What are the Nationals' needs?  A leadoff hitter and a shortstop after Ian Desmond made 57 errors at the position over the past two seasons.  Does that not sound like a perfect fit for Reyes?

    They have the money, the question will be if they are willing to offer the significant number of years, as they did with Werth.  Time will tell, but there’s a good bet that they will.

1) Detroit Tigers

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    As they continue on their quest for a 2011 World Series title, the more it looks like they will have money to spend for the 2012 campaign.  Magglio Ordonez’ $10 million contract comes off the books as well, meaning there will be money available to spend.

    While Austin Jackson has proven that he can contribute at the top of the order, he is not an ideal leadoff hitter.  He struck out 27.1% of the time in 2011, failing to set the table for Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.  How much better would this lineup look with a dynamic bat who can get on base and wreak havoc when he does?

    Hitting in Comerica Park wouldn’t be much different then CitiField, meaning Reyes would be able to rack up the doubles and triples.  With a better supporting cast, he also could score 120-plus runs.  It seems like a perfect match.

Conclusion

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    Those are the five teams that I see have the best chance of adding Reyes this offseason.  What about you?  Do you think any of these five teams are going to bring Reyes in?  If not them, who else do you think has a chance of signing him?

    Make sure to check out these other great baseball lists from Rankings Professor: