2012 MLB Free Agency: Why the Boston Red Sox Should Avoid Chasing Jose Reyes
The 28-year-old could be the most valuable name on the market. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder carry big sticks, but heavy-handed first basemen are as common as beer in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse. Meanwhile, a shortstop that is as good with a bat as he is with a glove is one of baseball's rarest commodities.
Jose Reyes has spent the entirety of his nine-year career with the New York Mets. He owns a career line of .292/.341/.441 while averaging nine home runs, 11 triples, 82 runs, and 41 stolen bases per season. 2011 was a career year for Reyes, as he posted a .337/.384/.493 line in 126 games, garnering a batting title. Despite missing a large chunk of time due to a hamstring injury, Reyes led the majors in triples with 16.
As the Boston Red Sox head into the offseason they are looking to get younger while plugging up some major holes. Rumors have linked the Sox to Jose Reyes. However, this could not be a worse idea.
Reyes is your prototypical shortstop; he uses his speed and athleticism to carve up the basepaths while providing range and finesse on defense. However, his services do not come without dark clouds.
Injuries, specifically leg injuries, have been a concern since 2009. Reyes played in only 36 games in '09 due to a calf injury. While rehabbing, Reyes suffered a tear, which was different than the original injury. Another setback came in August of the same year, when he tore his right hamstring. In 2010, Reyes missed the beginning of the season because of a thyroid issue.
Should the Boston Red Sox sign Jose Reyes?
It is true that the switch hitter had a fantastic 2011 campaign, but he was limited to only 126 games due to the aforementioned hamstring injury. When it comes to a player like Jose Reyes, once the legs go his whole game goes; injury risk is an understatement.
By signing the fleet-footed shortstop the Red Sox are potentially taking on Carl Crawford 2.0. In fact, Reyes has stated in the past he is looking for Crawford-esque money (seven years, $142 million). The two are essentially clones; Carl Crawford's .293/.333/.441 career line is eerily similar to that of Reyes. Both make their money through blazing speed and strong gloves. Boston got burned this season by a less than stellar Crawford, considered a sure thing upon signing.
The Boston Red Sox do not have amazing depth, but they have plenty of options at shortstop. Ben Cherington has picked up the 2012 option on Marco Scutaro (.284/.343.401 in his two years with Boston). There is utility man Jed Lowrie, who has struggled at the majors, but has a high offensive ceiling. Rounding out the pack is youngster Jose Iglesias. The Sox prospect has a highly touted glove and though the bat has not yet developed, it is getting there. With three internal options there is no reason for Boston to throw money at Reyes.
Ultimately, Jose Reyes does not fill any of Boston's primary needs. The Sox are strong on offense. Reyes knows how to run, but so do Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Carl Crawford (if he can get back on track); there is even more speed if Ryan Kalish takes over in right field.
Advanced metrics are not a huge fan of Reyes' glove, and Boston already has solid defense (not to mention Jose Iglesias' gold glove waiting in the minors).
The only way I could see the Boston Red Sox going after Jose Reyes is if they are afraid that Jose Iglesias might not pan out. The young Cuban defector has been labeled the shortstop of the future. His glove is amazing and once the bat develops a little more he will be ready. His potential makes a Reyes signing obsolete.
With the injury risk, the potentially large contract, the Carl Crawford parallels, and the depth at shortstop, there is no reason for the Boston Red Sox to chase Jose Reyes.
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