Monday, December 5, 2011
As you are well aware, Last night the Marlins and Jose Reyes agreed to a deal, pending a physical. It was first reported as a six year deal for $106 million. It is actually for $102 million, with a team option for a seventh year. They can decline it at that time with a $4 million buyout. Also of note, there is no no-trade clause in this contract. The Marlins are notorious for never budging from the stance of not offering no-trade clauses.
On the surface, this is a fantastic get for the new Marlins. While the team didn't have a need for a shortstop, this signing essentially fills the black hole at third base by shifting Hanley Ramirez to the hot corner. There's been reports that he's unhappy and won't do it, but it's likely just speculation. ESPN has written he's already agreed to move. Hanley's defense at short has suffered the past few season. Reyes isn't a terrific defender like some are suggesting, but he's an improvement over Hanley and Hanley is an improvement over most third basemen we've employed the last several years.
Reyes also gives the Marlins something they've sorely been missing, a leadoff hitter. For years it seems the team has been looking to alter their lineup to get more on-base guys and less power hitters. Even after trading Dan Uggla though, the Fish had trouble at the top of the lineup. This move should solve that. Reyes has all the attributes of Emilio Bonifacio, who the Marlins remain enamored with, but obviously to a much greater degree. Having Reyes set the table for Hanley and Mike Stanton is a great lineup.
The debate about this signing is about the risk involved. Jose Reyes has had injuries the last few seasons. He barely played in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 he missed a total of 65 games. Not only the missed games, but the fact he is a player that relies on speed and athleticism has some worried. If those tools begin to erode, he may not be a guy who is worth $17 million a year. But, when your the Marlins, you need to assume a greater risk than usual. Even so, there are contrasting opinions about just how risky this is; see here and here. In the end, it's hard to measure. We should just hope for the best. If his average seasons are anything like 2010 or 2011, it will definitely be worth it.
Two things make this a very interesting move: One, it's the biggest signing in Marlins history (at least for now) and two, the team has signed a star from a division rival who I hated. There's not much to say about point number one. We could see this coming as all indications were once the Marlins got a new stadium the team would abandon their penny-pinching ways and spend some money to field a good team. Point two intrigues me because I wonder what the fan reception will be. If the instant Twitter reaction means anything, he will be loved and maybe even push Hanley Ramirez aside as one of the most beloved players.
As usual, we focus on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom here at Marlins Diehards, so we'll be keeping an eye on that in the future.
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