MLB Free Agency 2012: Jose Reyes and Top 5 Shortstops on the Market

J FCorrespondent INovember 1, 2011

MLB Free Agency 2012: Jose Reyes and Top 5 Shortstops on the Market

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    Free agency can be a wonderful time for fans, but it can also be a horrible experience for others.

    Followers of the Phillies rejoiced when Cliff Lee came to town, but Cavaliers' faithful were enraged when LeBron James departed Cleveland. Simply put, free agency brings about a variety of feelings and can change the landscape of a league.

    Shortstops aren't the most well-known players in the MLB, but a few big names are on the open market this offseason, causing fans to plead for their return.

    Baseball is a business, so here are the top five shortstops available in Major League Baseball's 2012 episode of free agency.

5. Clint Barmes

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    Clint Barmes hit .244 in 2011, but he did send 12 balls out of the park. He's good on defense, and while the Astros would love to have him back, they may not have the cash.

    Barmes is getting up there in years, but other teams looking for a low-end shortstop will likely be willing to offer him a reasonable contract.

4. Yuniesky Betancourt

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    Betancourt is a little shaky on defense, but offensively he's solid for a short stop with 13 home runs in 2011.

    It looks like the Brewers are willing to let him walk, meaning he'll likely be a fill in at the position for another team.

    With that said, Betancourt is the fourth best option on the market.

3. Alex Gonzalez

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    Alex Gonzalez had 15 homers in 2011, but the Braves might not want to pay to bring him back for next year.

    He plays consistently good defense, and despite his lack of offensive dominance, his bat was big for the Braves at the end of last season.

    If Atlanta doesn't re-sign him, Gonzalez could be an upgrade for several teams looking for a shortstop.

2. Jimmy Rollins

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    It's hard to envision the lifelong Phillie not returning to the City of Brotherly Love, but Jimmy Rollins has a clear desire to test the market.

    The Phils want him back after yet another solid season of 16 homers and 30 stolen bases, however, he may be seeking a little more money than they're willing to offer.

    Nevertheless, the veteran is the second-best shortstop in free agency.

1. Jose Reyes

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    Even with hamstring problems, Jose Reyes was once again the lone bright spot in another dismal season for the New York Mets. He hit .331 in 2011 with 31 doubles, 39 stolen bases, and 101 runs.

    Now that he's a free agent, it is somewhat surprising that the Mets didn't trade him during the season. They'd love to re-sign him, of course, but it is looking less likely every day.

    Several teams such as the Nationals, Marlins and Angels could be interested in giving him a decent deal, meaning the Mets may be out of luck.

    Reyes is the top short stop on the market this offseason, and he just might take his talents to more uplifting environment.