There was no “decision” on ESPN. Mets fans aren’t burning jerseys in the streets. None of the billboards in Time Square are being ripped down. In fact, the news came quietly on a night when most sports fans were glued to the NFL or their Fantasy Football teams.
But another star is coming to Miami.
No offense to Joe Nathan or Heath Bell, but Jose Reyes was the first big name to drop in the Hot Stove of Major League Baseball’s offseason free agency period. Fresh off of an NL Batting Title, Jose Reyes was the best free agent at an extremely valuable position –shortstop. Though questions have swirled regarding his hamstring and ability to stay healthy, the Miami Marlins clearly believe that Reyes is worth the risk. The signing is reported to be a six year, $106 million deal, with an option for a seventh year. As the Marlins adopt a new city, and a new stadium, it looks like they also hope to adopt a new franchise player.
So what does it all mean?
For one, this isn’t your childhood Florida Marlins team. This Marlins team is willing to spend money and make a run now. Not only have they already signed Heath Bell to close, but they are reportedly competing for Albert Pujols with a vengeance. Could we have another big three gracing the beaches of Miami?
This deal also means that Hanley Ramirez is moving to third base, giving the Marlins one of the strongest left sides of the infield in the majors. With up-and-coming star Mike Stanton already cementing his status as a Marlins mainstay, and Logan Morrison showing promise, 28 year-old Reyes may find himself at the front of a strong lineup. Expect his runs scored to skyrocket. Though David Wright was great, having to rely on other Mets players such as Angel Pagan and Ike Davis to knock him in on a nightly basis had to have been as frustrating as well…being a Mets fan.
Lastly, this deal means that the Mets’ big three of Beltran, Reyes, and Wright have officially and completely disbanded. The experiment failed, and the Mets will continue to be the less relevant baseball team in New York for all of the foreseeable future.
The true question that accompanies this acquisition will be whether Reyes can stay healthy. He has missed 67 games in the past two seasons. Two seasons ago, he only played 35 games, period. Jose Reyes’ legs are the most valuable part of his game. There are other guys who can hit for average. It’s his defense at shortstop and ability to steal bases that sets him apart.
Healthy, Reyes will certainly be a Miami virtue. If injuries plague him, this deal will certainly be judged by history as a Miami vice.
*(Sorry, with the new uniform design…I had to make the pun.)