Reggie Von Bartles
Hot Stove: Jose Reyes Lands With the Marlins
Monday December 5th, 2011
Just a few days after the Miami Marlins made a splash in the MLB free agent pool by signing closer Heath Bell to a three-year deal, the Marlins made their second big-name signing of the off-season by agreeing to terms with free agent shortstop Jose Reyes on a six-year, $106 million deal pending a physical according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Reyes, 28, has spent his entire career with the New York Mets since reaching the big leagues at the age of 20 in 2003. In his nine year career with the Mets, Reyes hit .292/.341/.441 with 370 stolen bases and 81 home runs. His 2011 season was one of his best in New York, hitting .337/.384/.493 with 39 steals in 126 games.
The four-time National League All-Star has had issues with hamstring injuries in the past, missing a total of 191 games the past three seasons. However, if the Marlins can have Reyes on the field for 120-130 games a season, $18 million per season isn't a bad deal at all. If Reyes is hit with the injury bug again, the Marlins could be left wishing for a mulligan on the contract.
It will be interesting to see how many teams balked at the idea of signing Reyes for the amount of money he requested due to the leg injuries, especially with Jose's game revolving around speed.
With Reyes signed to play shortstop for several seasons, Hanley Ramirez has "agreed" to move to a different position, most likely third base. Ramirez, 27, is coming off one of his worst seasons as a professional, hitting .243/.333/.379 with ten home runs in 92 games. With Hanley at third base and Reyes at shortstop, the Marlins have a very exciting left-side of the infield that will hopefully produce a ton of exciting defensive gems. As far as the lineup, the Marlins are expected to have Reyes at the leadoff spot, followed by Ramirez in the two or three spot, followed by Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison - that is, unless the team signs another mega superstar such as Albert Pujols.
FanGraphs examined the new Marlins Ballpark, trying to project how it would play to Reyes and other free agent signings. Hopefully, they're right about Reyes and the triples, as it seems Reyes could have a field day running around the new ballpark.
If fans were wondering about the Marlins in 2012, it appears that the team is serious at making a run in the National League East. As mentioned, they've already locked up a closer in the bullpen and now have Reyes to help out Hanley Ramirez, and also reportedly have offers out to free agent pitchers C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle. With a new ballpark and a front office handing out bags of cash, it seems new manager Ozzie Guillen will be given the keys to a brand new, expensive car.
From a fantasy standpoint, Reyes is still considered one of the elite shortstops in the game today. Obviously, he's a health risk more than most fantasy players, but when he's healthy, he's capable of producing big numbers. The idea of Hanley Ramirez bouncing back and producing alongside Reyes is intriguing and should excite fantasy owners in 2012. With Ramirez moving to third base and keeping his shortstop eligibility, he joins an already sparse group of elite talent. Both Reyes and Ramirez should have great seasons in Miami next year.
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