According to MLB.com beat writer Joe Frisario, there’s a good chance the Miami Marlins could become sellers if their lackluster–and extremely disappointing–season continues. Despite going “all-in” during the off-season, the Marlins, who’s payroll is at an all-time high of $101.6 million, are currently four games below .500, and 10 games out of first place. With their pre-season win-now ideology in stark opposition to their current disposition, it’s possible that big-salaried players like Hanley Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, and even Jose Reyes could become available. In the event Reyes is dangled to other teams, is there a chance the New York Mets could be knocking on Larry Beinfest’s office door?
As you may or may not recall, Reyes spent his first twelve seasons (both Minor and Major) with the Mets, from 1999 to 2011. Upon become a free agent, despite wanting to stay with the Mets, the team simply did not have the money (for a variety of reasons) to re-sign their homegrown stud. While most fans were unable to imagine a Mets squad without Reyes helming shortstop, so far, the team hasn’t really missed him.
In Reyes’ absence, Ruben Tejada has stepped in, and become a respected asset on both sides of the ball. In 210 PA’s this season, the 22 year-old has posted a fruitful .319/.368/.393 line. Tejada has also been a pleasure defensively, gloving a 3.3 UZR/150 in 403 innings at shortstop. His combined talents have resulted in a 1.4 fWAR so far, which has been worth around $6.4 million.
On the flip side, Reyes has struggled with his new team. In 414 PA’s, the 29 year-old has swatted a mere .264/.334/.378 line with 20 SB. Although defensive metrics have never been kind to Reyes, his -5.1 UZR/150 is tied for nineteenth in the Major Leagues. Essentially, Reyes has more or less been a bust in 2012.
Regardless, you’ll find few fans who wouldn’t want to add Jose Reyes to the equation. After being the Mets go-to leadoff hitter for years, the Mets have tried six different players in the first slot in 2012. Having Reyes back at the top would certainly lend some stability to the lineup card.
But who would the Mets surrender in return for the shortstop? Reyes is owed another $96 million over the next five years (including a $4 million buyout in 2018). That’s a lot of money and years–especially for someone the Mets passed on (and seemingly the rest of baseball passed on too). Given his pricey contract and less-than-stellar 2012 (so far), it’s unlikely the Marlins could successfully demand the likes of Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, but perhaps some combination of Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jeurys Familia, and/or Domingo Tapia could intrigue the potentially dollar-shedding Marlins.
There is no doubt, a “Jose Reyes back to the Mets” trade would be one of the strangest in the history of baseball, but that’s little reason to rule it out completely.
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