Who Would Want Jose Reyes?

Over the weekend, the following passage was found in Buster Olney’s column (sorry, “Insiders” only)

By the way: Some rival executives are convinced that the Mets’ financial situation all but ensures that Jose Reyes — who stands to be in the running for a nine-figure contract as a free agent next fall if he stays healthy and has a good year — will be traded before the July 31 deadline. That’s all speculation at this point.

This rumor may seem a bit dubious to some. After all, Reyes isn’t the only Met heading into the final year of his contract. Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo qualify here as well, and all but Castillo are slated to make more than Reyes, so if a straight salary dump is the order of the day, the Mets have plenty of options. But let’s pretend for a minute that there’s something to this – who would want Reyes in 2011?

For the moment, let’s leave aside the question of who could put together a package worthy of Reyes, as there are a lot of factors at play there. For starters, will Reyes net a significant piece as a two-three month rental? Additionally, there are prospects who surprise, and others who will regress throughout the season, so it’s not as simple as saying “Player X + Y = Reyes.” Finally, since the needs of the Mets farm system bumps dangerously close to “everything,” the possibilities of different trade packages are far ranging.

Back to Reyes’ value, we can see that the Fans’ Scouting Report expects him to continue to move closer to his 2006-2008 peak. FSR has Reyes slated to be the fourth most valuable shortstop in the game in 2011 (by WAR), behind only Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew, as well as fourth in wOBA, behind Tulowitzki, Ramirez and Jed Lowrie. They have him leading all shortstops in stolen bases, and reaching double figures in both triples and home runs. Bill James’ forecast is a touch lower, but on the whole it’s similar.

There are a few teams for whom Reyes would represent a curiosity. As Gordon Edes noted this weekend on Twitter, the Red Sox have had eight different Opening Day shortstops since 2000, and should Marco Scutaro and Lowrie prove an impediment to Boston’s march back to the playoffs, perhaps they would have interest. This may be even more true in St. Louis, where Albert Pujols’ possible last year and a Ryan Theriot and Nick Punto combo may be suboptimal. Ian Desmond is likely too young to give up on just yet, but if he is still underperforming in July, and the Nationals are still on the fringes, perhaps they would enter the discussion. And how bittersweet would it be for Yankee fans if the “Jeter to Center” campaign was accelerated by the arrival of his cross-town counterpart?

Aside from these teams, there are five teams that meet at the intersection of contender and below-average shortstop. The most obvious fit would be in Milwaukee, where the Brewers are geared up for one last run before losing Prince Fielder, and are solid everywhere but up the middle. Nowhere is that need more clear than at shortstop, where Reyes would represent a massive upgrade over Yuniesky Betancourt. It wasn’t that long ago that Alexi Casilla was considered an important part of the Twins’ future, but after three years of replacement level performance, his time may be running short. Teaming up Reyes with Denard Span (still projected to have a .340ish wOBA after a dismal showing last season) in front of Joe Mauer could be lethal for Twins opponents. Alex Gonzalez has rarely been a threat offensively, and with question marks defensively at both second and third base, the Braves could both take advantage of Gonzalez’s superior defense and accommodate Reyes at shortstop. The fit isn’t as easy in Detroit, thanks to the two-year deal the Tigers just gave Jhonny Peralta, but FSR projects his bat to be on a permanent vacation. And while Peralta isn’t known for his glove work, the inevitable Carlos Guillen injury could create an opportunity for the Tigers to juggle both Peralta and Reyes, shielding Peralta’s defense late in games with Will Rhymes. Finally, another player whose main tool used to be power is the Giants new shortstop Miguel Tejada. But FSR has Tejada projecting to be one of the worst shortstops in the game this year, slugging a dismal .389. With the Giants likely in the thick of things once again, and the upgrade to Reyes could, even in half of a season or less, be pivotal for a Giants offense that is likely to consist of Buster Posey and…Buster Posey.

Jose Reyes may not need to be traded. After accounting for K-Rod’s buyout, losing Beltran, Rodriguez, Perez and Castillo is going to net the Mets $44.5 million for the 2012 club, and certainly some of that could be used to extend Reyes. But of the five Reyes may be the most attractive trade chip, depending on how you feel about K-Rod’s anger management issues, so they may feel pressure to trade him to help restock the farm system. If they do, they will find a host of teams willing to acquire him. If Reyes comes out of the gate strong, the number of interested teams could conceivably be any team that didn’t begin play in 1993. But even if the list is a bit shorter than that, there should still be a number of contending teams with needs at shortstop.



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Paul Swydan is the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com. He has written for The Boston Globe, ESPN MLB Insider and ESPN the Magazine, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan.


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dREaDs Fan
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dREaDs Fan
5 years 3 months ago

The Reds don’t qualify at the intersection of contender & need (given the presence of Paul Janish at SS)? The Reds even have a better farm system with which to match up with the Mets than do the Brewers and Cardinals.

Mitch
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Mitch
5 years 3 months ago

Baseball side it make sense but financially the Reds would be wise to avoid trading top end prospects for an injury prone rental like Reyes.

Bob
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Bob
5 years 3 months ago

same could be said for any team…

SS half season rentals are rare… in fact most position player rentals are rare (the half season variety) b/c ace pitchers are viewed as able to win games almost by themselves, while position players (especially those without big power) aren’t.

I’d suspect that anyone who trades for Reyes in mid-season would be doing so with the intention of using it as an advantage in trying to sign him to an extension.

chefyD
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chefyD
5 years 3 months ago

I’ll take Albert for Reyes throw in Big Pelf, and jon-Jon work 4 me!

camisadelgolf
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camisadelgolf
5 years 3 months ago

The Reds have no chance–and I repeat, NO CHANCE–of signing Reyes as a free agent. The money simply isn’t there, and it won’t be there, almost regardless of how much of a bump in attendance happens. However, if Janish and/or Renteria aren’t getting the job done–be it due to lack of performance or injury–Cincinnati seems like the likeliest destination at the trading deadline. Anyone want to guess what it would take to get three or four months of Jose Reyes? Whatever it is, as longs as it’s prospects, the Reds have it.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
5 years 3 months ago

As a Braves fan, I’m grateful to see an article that reminds me that we don’t have the WORST starting shortstop in baseball.

buck turgidson
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buck turgidson
5 years 3 months ago

Do the Braves have a SS?

Alex Remington
Member
5 years 3 months ago

Oh, come on, Alex Gonzalez isn’t THAT bad. Sure, he had a career year last year, but he’ll still be good for 1-2 WAR, like he always is.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
5 years 3 months ago

That definitely isn’t certain. He’ll be 34, and unless he can produce another 20+ HR season (and last year’s was a bit flukey), a significant portion of his value is expected to come from his defense. His defensive ability has to be on the decline. I can definitely see a scenario where he falls short of 1 WAR.

It’s just good to know that there are teams out there who are starting guys like Alexi Casilla, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Ronny Cedeno.

Alex Remington
Member
5 years 3 months ago

In my view, it’s more likely that he’s 3 WAR, but 1-2 WAR is still likelier than both.

Alex Remington
Member
5 years 3 months ago

That comment got messed up without the greater than and less than signs I put in. It was supposed to say something along the lines of:

“In my view, he is more likely to finish with less than 1 WAR than more than 3 WAR, but it’s likelier still that he will finish between 1 and 2 WAR.”

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
5 years 3 months ago

I would certainly be ecstatic over a three WAR season from Alex, and two WAR would still be quite enough to make me happy-I’m just not very optimistic about the chances.

Mark
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Mark
5 years 3 months ago

Why do I have a bad feeling that he meant Yunel Escobar?

Lewis
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Lewis
5 years 3 months ago

Are you seriously thinking that your SS is better than Reyes? Wow, been drinking much kool-aid? lol

chefyD
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chefyD
5 years 3 months ago

What are you doing on the METS site what Atlanta doesn’t have one? Get out!

Marc H
Guest
5 years 3 months ago

I agree with dREaDs Fan.
The Reds are a real good fit due to the thin nature of their SS depth and over abundance of starting pitching.
If Reyes were to head to CIN, I see a modest haul in return at best due to Reyes injury history.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
5 years 3 months ago

If he’s hurt in the beginning of the year, I agree that the haul may be modest. But if Reyes is healthy in the first half of the year, I’m sure there’ll be a team that’ll give a package commensurate with a healthy Reyes. The Mets have no incentive to trade him for a modest haul – they’d be better off trying to sign him long-term or taking the draft picks.

Jason G.
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Jason G.
5 years 3 months ago

Zack Greinke cost the Brewers a lot: A couple guys and they ALSO had to take Yuniesky! Yecch.

I’d love to see Reyes in a Brewer uniform, and I guess the Brew Crew still have a few guys left in their system. Intriguing possibility, but of course this is all wild speculation….

Stairmaster Jenkins
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Stairmaster Jenkins
5 years 3 months ago

The Zack Greinke package wasn’t at all prohibitive to me actually. I think that Milwaukee absolutely made the right call for a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber. Yes, Yuniesky Betancourt is something of a short term drain, but upgrading that position (at least defensively) will almost certainly be on the menu soon.

I doubt that the Brewers have enough in an already depleted farm system to entice the Mets to move Jose Reyes even with one year remaining. Of course, if you’d have told me that KC would have accepted the package that they ultimately did for two full years of Zack Greinke, I would not have belived that either.

Chops
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Chops
5 years 3 months ago

I agree. As far as the Betancourt situation, I think Counsell is going to get a lot more reps at SS than previous years.

RaymanSK
Member
RaymanSK
5 years 3 months ago

I agree with Stairmaster Jenkins. If the Mets want to trade Reyes to improve their farm system, they ‘ll simply not trade Reyes to Milwaukee, who now has probably the less strong farm for quality and also for depth.

Pat
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Pat
5 years 3 months ago

I think Toronto would be a good fit for him. They have a ton of money to spend and unless Escobar has an exceptional season, it wouldn’t hurt to move on from him. Rajai Davis could lead off, but he’s better suited as a fourth outfielder and Reyes would shore up a scare position for them and be a quality bat.

I think he will get traded at the deadline as is looks like the Mets are moving in a different direction. They probably won’t operate from a low budget, but Alderson looks like the kind of guy who would sell high on an impending free agent.

siggian
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siggian
5 years 3 months ago

I’d pass on that. Escobar is a good fit until one of the Jays prospects at SS is ready.

JT Grace
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JT Grace
5 years 3 months ago

Escobar is one of the top 5 – 10 shortstops in baseball. It would make no sense to make a trade for Reyes, who can’t seem to stay healthy.

Bob
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Bob
5 years 3 months ago

there may be some left over bad blood involving the Mets and Escobar. Yunel was responsible for kneeing Ryan Church to the head in May 08 that gave him a concussion and basically ended his season.

While the Jays have a deep farm system (and getting deeper), I don’t see Yunel part of any deal with the Mets.

LetsGoMutz
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LetsGoMutz
5 years 3 months ago

I like to see him go to the Phils or Yankees just cause I know that would piss of Mets fans…I don’t even care that this is 100% unrealisitic with respect to the Yankees, I would just enjoy it on some level…

BlackOps
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BlackOps
5 years 3 months ago

What kind of sad case wishes more ill on the Mets?

TheBigStapler
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TheBigStapler
5 years 3 months ago

Well, that’s not very nice.

Phil
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Phil
5 years 3 months ago

seriously? I’m a cubs fan and even though we haven’t had a rivalry with the mets since the East days i won’t give the guy a negative. Golly

Tom
Guest
5 years 3 months ago

To me, the Brewers make the most sense. Even without the prospects the Mets would likely require, it’s still possible. It seems like people sometimes forget that three-way deals can happen.

Scout Finch
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Scout Finch
5 years 3 months ago

Giants will want Jose Reyes for sure. What are the odds that Miguel Tejada is playing a competent short by mid-season? It’s a leap of faith to suggest they have a body on the farm ready to jump in. Furthermore, Andres Torres is the only player on that squad capable of swiping a bag. But hey, zero team speed didn’t impede their progress last year.

Jason B
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Jason B
5 years 3 months ago

“What are the odds that Miguel Tejada is playing a competent short by mid-season?”

Probably about the same as him playing a competent short on April 1 – very slim indeed. :)

Giants 162-0
Member
Giants 162-0
5 years 3 months ago

The Giants have more than Posey too. Huff Daddy, Torres, Ross, Belt with Posey will produce enough offense even if the Panda flames out again. This offense is more potent than it gets credit for.

Reyes’s health problems scare me though. Id like to see him play EVERYDAY and play well before the Giants make a move for him.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
5 years 3 months ago

Huff, Torres and Ross combined for 2.4 WAR in 2009. They were terrific last year (well, Huff and Torres were) but they’re no lock to be successful in 2011.

Alexander
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Alexander
5 years 3 months ago

K-Rod has a very large vest.

Jason B
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Jason B
5 years 3 months ago

So does Dom DeLuise.

(Too soon?)

Tony8
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Tony8
5 years 3 months ago

Angels could use him as their leadoff guy..
Aybar + Kendrick=Jose Reyes

epic23
Member
epic23
5 years 3 months ago

Redsox would make sense to me if the rays or yanks can stay close enough to Boston by the trade deadline and if scutaru is injured or ineffective. THat would be crazy speed on the basepaths for the redsox: ellsbury, reyes and crawford. Crazy.

Dario
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Dario
5 years 3 months ago

Jed Lowrie would be a good place to start. I would ask for the Cuban Kid though.

Dustin
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Dustin
5 years 3 months ago

Good luck getting him for a rental of Reyes. Lowrie in a package would be much more likely.

Sox4life
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Sox4life
5 years 3 months ago

But if the Cuban is a bust and gets hurt again a platoon with Reyes wouldn’t be bad.

Dario
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Dario
5 years 3 months ago

Re: K-rod

If K-rod finishes 55 games this year his option automatically vest to $17M for next year. The last time he finished below that mark was the year before he became a full time starter. I just do not see any team daring to call Alderson about K-rod.

Franco
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Franco
5 years 3 months ago

Just trade him to a team with a closer already. If he only has 30ish finished games in July, it shouldn’t be an issue for a new team to prevent him from getting the vest using him as the “setup” guy.

maximus
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maximus
5 years 3 months ago

why would a team with an established closer want him??

BlackOps
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BlackOps
5 years 3 months ago

To strengthen their bullpen for a run to the playoffs? Just because he’s a “closer” doesn’t mean he can’t pitch in a non-save situation.

Dario
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Dario
5 years 3 months ago

Re: Reyes

Well, before the reports that the Mets are looking for a partner to take a 20% stake in the mets in order to infuse $200M into their organization, I would have told you that the Mets and Reyes are trying to get a better sense of the next contract value. Jose has been hurt that past few years and it seemed as though both parties wanted to see what would shake out this season before committing to anything.

Now I feel that they might be slashing payroll if the Wilpons insist on keeping the Mets if they can’t find someone to contribute $200M. They very well might not be able to re-sign Reyes after the season. This is also something to consider.

Dario
Guest
Dario
5 years 3 months ago

Re: What the Mets need

What they would need in return:
Well a shortstop would be a great place to start. The only shortstops in the organization that could be of any use is Ruben Tejada who is in AAA and smells a lot like a very good utility infielder, and Wilmer Flores, who will likely not stay at short by the time he reaches the biggs. Did I forget to mention that he is in A? There doesn’t seem to be any decent replacements in FA next year either. JJ Hardy, maybe.

Now, the obvious question is, why would a team trade an MLB ready SS prospect for a three month rental at that same position. Why not just keep the kid you have? The Ian Desmond idea seems like the closest match, but the Nats aren’t likely to compete for anything except third place so they better make sure they re-sign Reyes after the trade.

Most Mets fans would rather keep Reyes, but we are forced to hope that Alderson’s genius will get the best result.

What would keep the Yankees from signing Reyes? They have enough money to give Rafael Soriano a chose your own adventure contract. Why not Reyes?

Franco
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Franco
5 years 3 months ago

FYI, I’m stealing the choose your own adventure contract line.

Bob
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Bob
5 years 3 months ago

Should the Rangers find themselves in a tough race this season, I could see them making an effort to get Reyes. I could also see Elvis Andrus as one of the main pieces of that deal along with a couple of young arms (and the Rangers have plenty of those).

Adrian
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Adrian
5 years 3 months ago

I don’t see that happening at all. Elvis is under team control and much lower salary and is much younger and better defensively than Reyes.

Rangers won’t deal Elvis and they definately won’t add a couple of young arms to get Reyes when Elvis is worth more, trade value wise, than Reyes.

Bob
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Bob
5 years 3 months ago

Andrus will never be the kind of dynamic offensive player that Reyes is… and the Rangers have much more room in their team payroll to take on a player with an 8 figure salary.

Brian
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Brian
5 years 3 months ago

How about Pedroia for Reyes?

Sox4life
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Sox4life
5 years 3 months ago

Your kidding right?

PhlavioPhega
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PhlavioPhega
5 years 3 months ago

Scenarios:

A) Reyes is succesful, the Mets are also succesful and they hold onto him because they are BUYERS at the deadline.

B) Reyes is succesful but the Mets are not. The Mets trade Reyes to another team for a top pitching prospect and a couple fillers.

Ba) Reyes becomes a free agent and comes back to the Mets who have plenty of money free.

Bb) Reyes becomes a free agent and goes elsewhere.

Bc) New team extends Reyes.

C) Reyes plays mediocre baseball but is worth something in trade. Mets get a pretty good prospect. (See sub scenarios for B with Ba being entirely unlikely.)

D) Reyes is hurt and has NO trade value.

jirish
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jirish
5 years 3 months ago

Don’t know what the Mets could get with Reyes as a rental….

I do see just about any team that needs an upgrade at shortstop pursuing him as a free agent if he puts together a healthy season. There is an extreme shortage of viable shortstops, and I could see bids from Seattle, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Giants, Athletics, Padres, Braves, Cardinals, Phillies, Nationals, Twins, Astros, Brewers, Reds, Rays, and Royals. Did I leave anyone out? I think even rebuilding teams that are going nowhere soon would like to have a player that fans want to come to see-a guy that might light a spark.

Having said that, the state of shortstopping in the ML is abysmal right now.

Sox4life
Guest
Sox4life
5 years 3 months ago

If Seattle finally learns how to hit and are buyers that be a reasonable destination.

Tom G
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Tom G
5 years 3 months ago

Who is giving Reyes a nine figure contract? He’s a well above average useful player over the course of a whole year, but I don’t think I would feel comfortable investing that much money into a guy who doesn’t seem to be healthy as often as you’d like your star SS and 100+ mil contract guy to be. Someone will probably do it though. I guess there’s not a huge difference from 5/90-95 and 6/100-110.

As I was writing this I took a second look at his player page and realized that it hasn’t been that long since he played a full seasons worth of games(2008) and he had done that for 3 straight years. It would not surprise me to see him rebound and become that dynamite player he was during those 3 years again. It could be because the Mets have been in such an abysmal state since the 2008 collapse(yes I realize 2007 was the bigger collapse) that my perception of Reyes has taken a big hit.

It seems like a long time ago now that Reyes and Wright were being touted as the best left side of the infield in baseball. Just my 2 cents..

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