“And they’re off!”
The winter meetings have officially begun in Dallas. This has the potential to be the most exciting time of the offseason as teams will jockey for position in the race for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. But it’s another name that is making headlines very early in the meetings.
Upon arrival, teams are learning that top-tier shortstop Jose Reyes is off the market. Reyes agreed to a six-year deal worth $106 million. The deal is also said to have an option for a seventh year with a $4 million buyout, thus making the deal worth at least $110 million. So who was the team that outbid the Marlins $90 million offer? Why, it was the Marlins.
Upon hearing that Reyes would give the Mets a chance to counter Miami’s offer and the whispers that Milwaukee was planning to enter the race, the Marlins substantially bumped their initial offer to seal the deal as quickly as possible. This agreement came on the same day that the Heath Bell signing became official, making it very clear that the Marlins are serious about being contenders. With Hanley Ramirez agreeing to move to third base, this gives the Marlins a very good left side. No one can deny that Reyes is a great pick up, but was this a wise business decision?
The positives are obvious but my favorite thing to do is look a the negative aspects of a deal. Lets state the facts.
Jose Reyes is a nine-year veteran of the league, having come up two months into the 2003 season and he has yet to realize his true potential due to a career riddled with injury. His rookie season was ended on Sept. 15 with a Grade-2 left ankle sprain.
In 2004, he strained his right hamstring and that sidelined him for three months. Later, in 2009, Reyes left the game on May 21 with a right calf strain. It was later determined that Reyes had a tear in his right hamstring tendon and he missed the rest of the season.
2010 saw three separate trips the the disabled list. In his contract year last year, despite playing very well, he played only 126 games. That is far too few for a player in the prime of his career. What is most troubling about Reyes is that the majority of his time spent on the DL has been because of his legs. That is a glaring issue for any player, but even worse for one whose game relies on speed.
After analyzing all the injury data on Jose Reyes, it’s hard to believe the Marlins gave any of this a thought before paying out such a large amount of their money. Was it necessary to pay him so much or could they have landed him with the previous offer of $90 million? When you have the winning bid on eBay, you don’t go ahead and up it anyway. I don’t believe there was any real competition in the Jose Reyes sweepstakes (a fact that should be a red flag).
The Wilpon’s are running a small market team in a large market and it’s time that people recognize that. There was no way they were going to compete with a $90 million offer. Milwaukee may have been interested, but an offer was not yet made. The Marlins simply outbid themselves to win Jose Reyes. In doing so, they effectively swelled the contract and now it will be way more difficult to unload in a trade should they ever need to do so.
The Marlins have made it there goal to become the official team of Hispanic America. Reyes is an attractive option with this goal in mind but I can’t help but think that this goal clouded the teams judgement on the deal and maybe they were a bit trigger happy. As always, time will tell. All in all, good acquisition at a bad price.
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