Projecting Free Agency: The Top 5 Most Likely Landing Spots For Jose Reyes

We know that Jose Reyes will be one of the most sought after free agents this offseason.  The question is, where will he sign?  We are going to hear rumors surrounding all the big market teams, but many of them can seemingly be ruled out:

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  • Phillies – They are already expected to be close to their budget restrictions, could easily resign Jimmy Rollins and now need to factor in replacing Ryan Howard.  I just don’t see where the money comes from.
  • Yankees – With Derek Jeter’s age people are going to speculate that there’s a match.  However, the Yankees have much more pressing needs (aka the starting rotation) and figure to turn their attention and budget elsewhere.
  • Red Sox – Like the Yankees pitching figures to be a much more glaring need.  Plus, after they threw a lot of money at another speedster (Carl Crawford) with awful results, would it surprise anyone if they were a little bit more gun shy this offseason?

So, with those major markets seemingly out of the running, who will step up and offer the necessary money to sign Reyes?  Let’s take a look:

5) Florida Marlins
While this may be a long-shot, the more you think about it the more sense it makes.  The team is moving into a new stadium in 2012 and is looking to make a major splash this offseason.  Granted, they already have Hanley Ramirez manning shortstop, but they do have a glaring void at third base.  Could they ask Ramirez to move to the hot corner to make room for Reyes?  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that happened (Alex Rodriguez anyone).

Remember when the Marlins were at their best a few years ago?  They had a dynamic top of the order led by Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre.  Imagine how impressive their lineup would be with Reyes at the top, followed by Emilio Bonifacio, Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Gabby Sanchez & Logan Morrison.

If healthy, we know the rotation is there as well.  Led by Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins would appear to be one of the top teams in the NL.  Maybe it’s not such a wild idea after all.

4) Milwaukee Brewers
If Prince Fielder decides to leave Milwaukee as a free agent would the team look to add a middle of the order bat?  Or, would they instead shake things up?

The fact is that they are not in need of a slugger to replace Fielder.  Instead Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks, both of whom hit at the top of the order at times in 2011, could be shifted into the middle of the lineup full-time.  That would leave a gaping void at the top of the Brewers lineup and who is better to fill it than Reyes?

While they still would have home run hitters, the Brewers would become a team that could beat you with pitching and their legs (Reyes, Hart, Weeks and Ryan Braun could all steal plenty of bases).

3) New York Mets
His resigning in New York is desperately needed, but it is hard to say that it is a certainty.  The Mets will struggle to replace him, but with significant budgetary concerns it remains to be seen if the team will be able to find a way to fit him into what seems certain to be an extremely reduced payroll.

However, Sandy Alderson and company know that they will face a revolt from their fan base if they don’t take every step necessary to bring him back.  Will they succeed?  Who knows, but there certainly will be sweeping changes in New York this offseason.

2) Washington Nationals
They will continue to look to make a splash and they showed last season with the Jayson Werth signing that they will be willing to blow away the market to sign a player they want.  With Stephen Strasburg back from injury, there is no questioning that the Nationals have the pitching to be competitive in an NL East that suddenly looks a lot more competitive.

What are the Nationals needs?  A leadoff hitter and a shortstop after Ian Desmond made 57 errors at the position over the past two seasons.  Does that not sound like a perfect fit for Reyes?

They have the money, the question will be if they are willing to offer the significant number of years, as they did with Werth.  Time will tell, but there’s a good bet that they will.

1) Detroit Tigers
As they continue on their quest for a 2011 World Series title, the better it looks like they will have money to spend for the 2012 campaign.  Magglio Ordonez’ $10 million contract comes off the books as well, meaning there will be money available to spend.

While Austin Jackson has proven that he can contribute at the top of the order, he is not an ideal leadoff hitter.  He struck out 27.1% of the time in 2011, failing to set the table for Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.  How much better would this lineup look with a dynamic bat who can get on base and wreak havoc when he does?

Hitting in Comerica Park wouldn’t be much different then CitiField, meaning Reyes would be able to rack up the doubles and triples.  With a better supporting cast, he also could score 120+ runs.  It seems like a perfect match.

Conclusion
Those are the five teams that I see have the best chance of adding Reyes this offseason.  What about you?  Do you think any of these five teams are going to bring Reyes in?  If not them, who else do you think has a chance of signing him?

Make sure to check out these other great baseball lists from Rankings Professor:

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12 Responses to Projecting Free Agency: The Top 5 Most Likely Landing Spots For Jose Reyes

  1. Brian Joura says:

    I like the Marlins suggestion – it’s one that I hadn’t considered previously.

  2. SimonJ - Trade Counsel says:

    What about the Giants? They are in desperate need of an offensive upgrade, and it doesn’t look like Brandon Crawford is ready to take on major league pitching yet.

    • rotoprof says:

      I think the Giants are definitely a team that will be in the mix and if I did a Top 6 they would be in there. I’m just not sold that they are going to ante up considering what they are going to need to pay their pitchers in the coming years. That is definitely a team that is going to have an interesting offseason, though.

  3. SeanD says:

    I don’t really understand this list to be honest. You’re suggesting the larger market teams won’t go after him. Instead, you think the Brewers, who have several max contracts coming up in the near future (including Fielder this off season). The Marlins who, though they definitely will spend more money, have had one of the lowest pay rolls the last half decade. Giants seems like a logicial, potential place, I agree

  4. Jimmy says:

    What would you say about the Angels making a run for him, and then using some of their existing middle infielders and some prospects to vill the void at third base? Or even a pitcher, whether it be a back end bullpen or end of the rotation guy?

  5. Derek says:

    Considering 2 of the 5 teams named are still playing (DET/MIL), I think time will tell. Ryan Braun has already stated his case for Reyes and everything you stated is right. I can’t imagine a team with more of a balance of speed and power than MIL, even after losing Prince. I thought DET needed pitching, but their arms in the playoffs might give Dombrowski enough faith to give some of that money to someone like Reyes, which would be a major upgrade for their middle IF. Conclusion: I really think it’ll come down to MIL and WSH. WSH has proven they go crazy over mediocre players in a career year (Werth), so what about very good players during career years? They are Washington, so they’re not above printing money to make people happy…I’m rooting for the Brewmasters to get him.

  6. phil says:

    I wouldn’t count the phillies or red sox out. Both teams are basically printing money at this point and both have need for him. I think the phillies #1 priority will be rollins but if he is really seeking 5 years then they might rather just pony up more for reyes. Despite the sox need for pitching I still think they might go after reyes because they have the money to spend with ortiz walking away and can still go out and spend on a guy for the rotation. Having said all that I think the giants should be on this list.

  7. R. Techer says:

    The Detroit Tigers at 1, eh? I’m just not sure if Domborwski is going to make a splash like that this offseason. Granted, they did get V-Mart over the offseason, but I’d be happy/surprised if the Tigers get him. Problem is: what about Jhonny Peralta?

  8. Robert F. says:

    I would add the Angels & the Reds to the list.

  9. Mike says:

    much like the marlins, the cubs have a hole at third (and really 2nd). i’d actually add them to the list…

  10. Joey says:

    The Braves have a chunk of money freed up this offseason and an offensive black hole at SS. Sounds like it would make sense…think of the batting order with Bourn leading off and Reyes second…would drive pitchers nuts!!

  11. godfather says:

    whatever else he is or has been reyes isn’t mentioned along the lines of cal and lou, so his iffy physical status sure as hell will temper his offers; if i entertained getting him, it would be with the clear understanding that he should learn to field with a glove other than a shortstop’s…to limit the stress on his questionable endurance

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