Heath Bell to Miami Marlins: Why Jose Reyes Won't Follow

Christopher JohnsonContributor IIIDecember 2, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24:  Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets acknowledges the crowd during the sixth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 24, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Miami Marlins made their first big free agent splash of the offseason, signing Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million deal last night, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

Bell will replace Leo Nunez as closer, who posted a deplorable 4.06 ERA in 68 games in 2010. In San Diego last season, Bell notched an impressive 43 saves. What's more, the former New York Met is the league's only closer to post 40 or more saves in three straight seasons.

While he expressed a desire to remain in San Diego after last season, Bell is now the first of what many believe will be multiple big-name free agents to land in Florida this offseason.

One of those names will not be Jose Reyes.

When Reyes visited Miami earlier this month, he was reportedly offered a six-year, $90 million deal. While the length of the contract is desirable for Reyes, the star shortstop knows that a bigger deal is available.

Despite his injury trouble in recent years, Reyes' deal this offseason will reward him at least $100 million. Teams such as San Francisco, Cincinnati, Washington, Detroit and even the Mets will entice Reyes with deals that exceed Miami's initial offer.

But going beyond the money, Reyes just doesn't belong in Miami.

Hanley Ramirez—the incumbent at shortstop—may be coming off the worst season of his career. But Ramirez has been the more consistent, better overall player, last season notwithstanding. The 27-year-old is just two years removed from a season in which he hit .342 with 24 HR and 106 RBI, finishing second in the MVP vote.

Reyes was arguably the league's best player in the first half of last season. But his game is reliant on speed, and he simply wasn't able to stay on the field.

There is the possibility that Ramirez would switch positions, allowing Reyes to assume his rightful place at shortstop. Yet, I don't see Ramirez being open to a position change. It's no secret that Ramirez doesn't have the best attitude. So why would he switch positions to accommodate Reyes—a player that, frankly, isn't as talented or durable as Ramirez?




Part of the reason Miami decided on Ozzie Guillen as their new manager was because they believed him to be capable of reinvigorating Ramirez, the franchise's best and most important player. Under Guillen, Ramirez is primed to return to his All-Star form.

Unless, of course, Miami signs Reyes.

If Miami signs Reyes, they are indirectly telling Ramirez that they don't believe in him. Sure, they can convince Ramirez that switching positions is a good option. But Reyes' signing would be a signal that they don't believe in Ramirez as their "face of the franchise."

Even if he agrees to switch positions, Ramirez would feel undermined. He simply will not allow Reyes to take his position.

It would behoove the Marlins to concentrate their efforts this offseason elsewhere.

Unlike LeBron, Jose Reyes isn't about to take his talents to South Beach