It’s hard to imagine Jose Reyes joining the Marlins for a relatively light $90 million over six years. Jon Heyman’s proposed $80 million over five years deal from the Mets isn’t all that special either. So, who might yet get involved in the bidding for the shortstop?
Red Sox – Boston may not have as much financial flexibility this year as last, but if new GM Ben Cherington is willing to go with Daniel Bard in the closer’s role, then fitting Reyes into the budget would seem possible. The switch-hitting Reyes would be a terrific fit in between Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez at the top of the order, and the Red Sox wouldn’t have much problem covering for his injuries with either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie around as a backup (the other would likely be involved in a deal).
Giants – GM Brian Sabean decided to build what will probably be the game’s most expensive bullpen, so it doesn’t look like there’s room for Reyes without the team’s payroll hitting $140 million next year. He’d provide a huge lift at a problem position, though, and give the Giants the leadoff hitter they need.
Tigers – Reyes would be an upgrade over Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot and he’d improve the defense by pushing Jhonny Peralta back to third base, but the Tigers are more interested in adding pitching.
Phillies – There’s little to suggest the Phillies would really consider spurning Jimmy Rollins for a younger but more expensive player.
Angels – It looks like the Angels would prefer to add power, but the idea of signing Reyes and then cashing in Erick Aybar is rather attractive. The Angels got OBPs of .325 and .316 from the top two spots in the order last season.
Nationals – The money is there, but the Nationals probably aren’t going to want to spend it on such an injury-prone player.
Brewers – If the Brewers thought they could get Reyes for $90 million over six years, I think they’d be all over it. The price, though, is likely to be higher than that, and the Brewers aren’t going to want to commit to anything until they’ve ruled out re-signing Prince Fielder.
Cardinals – St. Louis is sort of in the same boat. If Albert Pujols departs, then maybe Reyes would be an option. Reyes, though, may be long gone by the time Pujols makes up his mind. The Brewers are a more likely suitor anyway.
I do believe that one team from this bunch will end up making a big run at Reyes, forcing the Marlins to up their bid if they expect to stay in the running. I’d put Boston first on the list, followed by Detroit.