MLB Free Agents 2012: 5 Surprise Teams Looking at Jose Reyes
With free agency approaching, superstar shortstop Jose Reyes is likely to be one of the best players on the open market. The New York Mets do have a time frame in which they can exclusively negotiate with the star shortstop, but with the financial issues concerning Mets owners, it's not likely that Reyes will return as a Met in 2012.
At the moment, the San Francisco Giants are considered the favorite to land Reyes in a long-term contract. The Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are also teams that are likely to make a big push for Reyes' services. And of course, the Red Sox should never be counted out, especially after the recent infamous collapse they went through in September.
However, there could be a few teams that may try to sign Reyes out of nowhere and surprise all of baseball. Here are five surprise teams that could make a push towards getting Jose Reyes.
1. Milwaukee Brewers
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"I think there's a better chance we sign [Reyes] than we re-sign Prince."
First baseman Prince Fielder is likely to command a long-term contract well over $100 million, witch the Brewers may not be able to pay. However, if Reyes looks for a deal lesser than that of Fielder's, the Brewers may play ball.
Yuniesky Betancourt is an average shortstop at best, and he could probably get traded for some prospects, or even a decent third or first baseman; which is exactly what the Brewers need to upgrade this offseason as far as their offense goes.
If Prince Fielder does not return, the Brewers are definitely going to want to go after another one of the top free agents, and Reyes certainly fits the bill. On the other hand, the main concern for the Brewers is whether the team can fit Reyes under their payroll.
2. Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves are another team that could go after Jose Reyes in the offseason.
There is a good chance that incumbent shortstop Alex Gonzalez may re-sign with the Braves, but if the Braves want to upgrade and really stick it to the Mets, they could jump out and try to get Reyes out of nowhere.
The Braves suffered a miserable September collapse and signing someone like Reyes could definitely change the face of the NL East.
Seeing him at the top of the order with Michael Bourn, and setting the table for hitters like Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones would just make the Braves' lineup that much better than it already is.
3. Washington Nationals
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The Washington Nationals could also surprise everyone by trying to go after Jose Reyes in the summer.
The Nationals improved a lot this season and impressed the baseball world by finishing third in the NL East. They have a solid core of young players, led by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. The team has been previously linked to Reyes, and the Nationals could definitely pull off another surprise signing after landing Jayson Werth last offseason.
The Nationals are definitely making a name for themselves as a team that will be around to compete for years to come. Adding someone like Reyes would greatly improve the top of their order and bring the team another marquee player to build around.
Current Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond had a good year in 2011, but it would never really be a question in choosing between Desmond and Reyes.
The Nationals have good depth at the moment at the middle infield positions, but they just may stun everyone by going after a high-caliber player like Reyes.
4. Minnesota Twins
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The Minnesota Twins went from a 2010 division winner to a last place finish in 2011. The team was marred by injuries and the signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka has turned out to be a complete bust so far. As a result, the Twins may want to go all-out to rebuild.
The Twins still have the core of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in their lineup. However, they do face a big decision in regards to whether they want to re-sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer. In the event they don't, the Twins could try to land Reyes.
It would not likely, considering the Twins have one of the smaller payrolls in all of baseball, but the Twins though do have questions to answer at shortstop.
Bringing in someone like Reyes could rejuvenate the Twins enough to get back atop the AL Central. Again, Reyes going to the Twins is not as likely, but don't rule it out.
5. Houston Astros
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Finally, the Houston Astros, who turned out to have the worst MLB record in 2011 could completely shock everyone by going after Jose Reyes in the offseason.
Reyes is likely to try to go to a winning ballclub, so the Astros are definitely not particularly likely to land him, but with the Astros ownership most likely changing hands, and with the potential move to the AL West under way, signing Reyes could provide significant benefits to the Astros.
The Astros gave up their two best hitters, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn at the 2011 trade deadline. Now, they are stuck with Carlos Lee's contract and a bunch of young hitters that really have yet to make a name for themselves.
Furthermore, shortstop Clint Barmes is also a free agent, and if the Astros do not choose to re-sign him and happen to have some extra payroll flexibility, the Astros could at least make an offer to Reyes. However, don't expect Reyes to sign with the Astros unless the Astros blow him away with an amazing contract.