In examining the potential market for Jose Reyes, we must first realize there are no concrete numbers. There’s “Carl Crawford Money,” as Fred Wilpon so eloquently called it. The $142 million over seven years given the Boston outfielder is the fuel behind speculation of Reyes’ reported quest of $100-plus million over seven years.
But, it is 0nly speculation, and we won’t have a frame of reference before the first offer is made and Reyes’ camp presents a counter. Until then, every number – including mine – is only an opinion. Reyes’ agent has not publicly stated any contractual demands.
What we do know is few teams can afford a $100 million contract, so the pool is pretty shallow.
So, let’s take a look at some of the teams reportedly in the mix for Reyes, their needs and what might be holding them back.
Boston: The Red Sox are a franchise in turmoil and realize they must do something dramatic to win back their emotional fan base. They have a need for a shortstop, leadoff hitter – Crawford doesn’t prefer that role – and, of course, to keep pace with the Yankees. They have the resources, even though they are burdened with several huge contracts, notably Adrian Gonzalez, Crawford, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett. Plus, they’ll have to pay Jacoby Ellsbury in arbitration.
However, change should take money off the books in the form of David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and J.D. Drew.
The Red Sox are not a stagnant organization. They made overtures for Reyes before and will likely do so again.
New York: As a matter of course, you have to list the Yankees because, well, afterall they are the Yankees. We know they have the money and could have even more of it if they don’t retain C.C. Sabathia.
However, pitching is their priority, and if they don’t bring back Sabathia they will throw it at C.J. Wilson or a cast of thousands.
The obstacles in signing Reyes will be in getting Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez – both with huge contracts and egos – to change their positions. That won’t happen. Jeter will not give up shortstop to move to third, even though Rodriguez will get more and more DH at-bats, especially with Jorge Posada not coming back.
A wild thought is would Reyes be willing to come to the Yankees to play the outfield? I don’t think he’ll do it, but what if the money was too good?
Just a thought.
Anaheim: Owner Arte Moreno has the money and shown to be a progressive owner. The team missed the playoffs the last two years and he’s not one to sit tight.
First things first, the Angels need to name a general manager, who’ll decide the team’s identity. One thing for sure, Reyes is better than Erick Aybar.
Chicago: I wouldn’t label the White Sox serious contenders, but with new manager Robin Ventura they are a team in transition. As a large market team needing to compete with the Cubs, they can’t be overlooked as they have g0ne after high profile players before.
Their current shortstop Alexei Ramirez tailed off last season, but has enough of a track record to where there isn’t a compelling need to move him.
The White Sox have several decisions to make, including pitcher Mark Buehrle, but I can see Reyes’ camp approaching them, if for no other reason to widen the pool.
Mets: We’ll see how serious the Mets are about Reyes when they have their exclusive negotiating window following the World Series. They say they’d like to keep him and have the money, but at the same time GM Sandy Alderson is talking about shaving $30 million off the payroll.
Alderson said the Mets would like to keep Reyes, he didn’t say they want to keep him, and there’s a difference. There seems to be so sense of urgency from the Mets on Reyes. That indifference could push him out the door.
When you big picture things, the Mets haven’t won with Reyes, and with their current financial situation might be better off using that money to fix several other holes.
Philadelphia: Shane Victorino will have to just accept Reyes. The Phillies, if they lose Jimmy Rollins, should come after Reyes hard. Ryan Howard’s injury would make it more compelling to add offense.
Remember when Andy Pettitte said he wouldn’t sign with the Red Sox because they are the Red Sox and he would always be a Yankee at heart? Nope. Reyes doesn’t have those feelings.
Philadelphia has the money and certainly doesn’t want to waste all that pitching with a stagnant offense. The Phillies will be players in this.
Milwaukee: Reyes has a supporter in Ryan Braun, and the Brewers seem resigned to have Prince Fielder leaving. If the Brewers lose in the playoffs, then have Fielder bolt, they’ll have to do something to keep the fan base.
Normally, you don’t think of the Brewers as a spending team, but things have changed with Miller Park and the franchise, while not crazy, is a little more liberal than it had been.
St. Louis: I have seen the Cardinals mentioned several times, but I don’t see the fit. St. Louis is committed in re-signing Albert Pujols, which is one reason they threw a lot of money at Matt Holliday.
Tony La Russa might be just the manager to get Reyes to reach his potential, but the Cardinals aren’t likely to add a third $100-plus million package.
Chicago: We know the Cubs have the money and a new regime, but they also have an excellent shortstop in Starlin Castro and their eyes on Fielder.
It won’t happen here.
San Francisco: Reportedly, the Giants don’t have, or want, to spend the money on what it would take to get Reyes, but I’m not buying it. There’s a sense of urgency for the Giants to return to the playoffs after winning the World Series in 2010.
They definitely have the pitching to take them there, but are lacking offense. Maybe, they’ll re-sign Carlos Beltran, but their need is a shortstop and speed. Reyes will still be a triples machine in that park.
Over the next couple of seasons, the Giants will have several contracts off the books, including Barry Zito’s in two years (no way will he get the innings for his option to be picked up in 2014).
Los Angeles: This is a team in worse financial straits than the Mets. Small wonder Joe Torre left.