Over the coming weeks and months, Major League Baseball teams will be looking to wheel and deal with this year’s batch of free agent players. Special this year is the fact that the offseason’s biggest prizes are both Latino, with shortstop Jose Reyes and first baseman Albert Pujols both available. King Albert might very well get the larger contract (projecting at least $200 million), but it’s clear that powerful and speedy Jose Reyes might be the most impactful player available.
Sure, every team has their fair share of huge, oaf-like first basemen (looking at you, Ryan Howard). Albert Pujols might be that exception – as his defense and raw power suggest – and he will certainly be in demand, but Reyes simply has it all. A fast, powerful, switch hitter who can attack from either side of the plate, has a cannon for an arm, and can turn the most difficult of double plays in his sleep.
So as Winter Meeting approach, and this writer counts the days until pitchers and catchers report – let’s take a look at some of the teams that will be contending for the services of #7 in the near future:
Miami Marlins: Yeah, you read that right. Miami. The Marlins dropped the ‘Florida’ moniker and officially planted themselves in the 305. They have a brand new stadium, a new manager, ugly new uniforms, and apparently a lot of cash to spend. The idea in bringing Jose to Miami would involve moving Hanley Ramirez – their long time shortstop in residence – to second base. While Ramirez is a very respectable player in his own right, Reyes is the better defender, and the two would be nearly unstoppable at the top of the order.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brew Crew nearly had it all, but were out-muscled by the St. Louis Cardinals in this year’s NLCS series. With powerhouse Prince Fielder an almost certainty to sign elsewhere, and management declining an option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, Reyes could help bring the power back to a team that’s looking to bounce back in 2012.
NY Mets: If all viable candidates fail in their attempt to woo him, Reyes could return to his old stomping grounds in Flushing. Rumor has it that he’d like to finish his career in New York, but his good intentions may not mean much if the Amazin’s can’t cough up the cash. Fans would love to have him back, but the cash strapped team might be better served to let their superstar walk and spend that money on much needed pitching.
Of course, as with every off-season, these teams may not get the services of Mr. Reyes. Sources have reported that the Angels, Giants, Nationals, Phillies, and the Tigers might give him a look in the coming weeks. Wherever he goes, that team will have gained one of the best Latino players to ever play the game.