The Tigers need speed, and a lead off hitter. Not to long ago Tigers general manager and CEO Dave Dombroski said the Tigers weren't looking to add another $20 million player to their roster.
Most in the baseball world were speculating the best lead off hitter in free agency, Jose Reyes, would command a contract similar to the one signed by Carl Crawford last year, 8 years, $142 million. So far, it seems the best offer for Reyes' services is 6 years and $90 million from the Miami Marlins.
While I don't think Detroit would be willing to offer Reyes six guaranteed years, they might be willing to give him five years and mutual option for a sixth. Five years and $80 million would be a bargain for Detroit. Reyes brings speed and above average defense. If the deal got done, I would expect Jhonny Peralta to try his hand at second base.
There are health concerns with Reyes, but without risk there is no reward. When healthy, Reyes is one of the best lead off men in the game.
Reyes stole 39 bases last year, and I would expect him to have 30-40 steals per year for the duration of his contract. While I wouldn't expect Reyes to hit .337 again, I would expect him to hit between .290-.305 with an OBP in the .345-.355 range. Reyes is a gap hitter, which plays perfectly in Comerica. The first two to three years of the contract I'd expect Reyes to challenge for the league lead in triples.
By signing Reyes, Detroit would (at least in theory) solve two of its biggest off season issues, namely finding a second baseman and a lead off hitter.
The Tigers are ready to be World Series contenders, they just need a couple of pieces. If Reyes can be had for $14 to $16 million per season, Detroit should jump on the opportunity.
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