Jose Reyes has his first suitor and it isn’t the Mets. As suggested, the Miami Marlins spoke to Reyes, something we knew would happen once friend Hanley Ramirez said he’d be willing to move to third base from shortstop.
Thoughts Ramirez would be wasted at third are nonsense, as his value to the Marlins is as an offensive force. The Mets made no overtures to Reyes during their exclusive negotiating window following the World Series, and aren’t expected to until they see how Reyes’ bidders set the market.
Reportedly, Reyes wants at least $100 million and six years. Sources with the Mets are saying they don’t want to go more than four years at around $18 million.
The Marlins want to move into their new stadium with an impact signing. They have some good, young pitching, but lack a proven leadoff hitter to set the table for Ramirez.
As I suggested, the Mets should view the Marlins and Washington as more a threat to snagging Reyes from them than the Phillies. However, even with the Marlins’ interest, it is premature to think he’s already looking for a home on the beach.
The market for Reyes hasn’t been clearly defined, but it might have started taking shape with San Francisco’s trade of left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City for outfielder Melky Cabrera. It is speculated the Mets’ desire is to let others set the market and have Reyes potentially fall back to them at a lower price. This is what happened when they signed Francisco Rodriguez and traded for Johan Santana.
Adding Cabrera, who hit .305 with 201 hits last year, lessens the Giants’ need for a leadoff hitter. They still lack a shortstop, but are expected to make a run at Jimmy Rollins, who’ll cost them less than Reyes in terms of dollars and years.
Assuming the Giants are out, what is the market for Reyes?
The Red Sox and Yankees – the two biggest spenders in the game – don’t have a shortstop need, the Dodgers are in disarray and face an ownership change, and the Cubs are set at shortstop. The Brewers are reported to be interested and have the resources as they aren’t expected to re-sign Prince Fielder.
Detroit and the Angels are two other teams, linked to Reyes, so we’re not talking about a line of owners out the door waving their checkbooks. That’s what Mets GM Sandy Alderson is hoping will happen.
The Giants’ trade of Sanchez deprives the Mets of a reasonably priced starter. That they didn’t have the chips to compete for Sanchez also further illustrates how the Mets’ farm system remains thin and shouldn’t expect help from the minors for several years. With pitching the Mets’ priority, it is discouraging the small-market Royals had more to offer, especially with the free-agent market thin in starters.
Sanchez won 13 games for the Giants in 2010, when they won the World Series, but only went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA this year, down numbers caused by biceps tendinitis and a sprained left ankle.