Scouting The Trade Market: Jose Reyes


(Photo Credit: Flickr user MissChatter via Creative Commons license)

It’s been a long, long time since the Yankees had to worry about finding a shortstop. Derek Jeter played the position brilliantly for a decade and a half, but his offense continues to decline as he approaches his 37th birthday (less than four weeks away) and his defense has never been highly regarded. They just signed him to a three-year contract that is essentially a four-year contract because of the player option, so finding a new shortstop less than four months into the contract is less than ideal. Then again, it’s not completely impossible.

The Mets are not in contention and several of their players figure to be up for grabs at the trade deadline. We’ve already looked at Carlos Beltran as a possible trade target, but now lets turn our attention to Jose Reyes. They may not have the money to sign him long-term, and cashing him in as a trade chip could be preferable to the two draft picks they’d receive if he left as a free agent. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the Mets’ shortstop…

The Pros

  • Still just 27, Reyes is in the prime of his career. He’s in the middle of the best season of his career, hitting .335/.382/.493 at a time when the average MLB shortstop is hitting .261/.318/.372, and his 19 steals are the second most in baseball. Reyes is a switch hitter with little to no platoon split both this year and for his career.
  • Both UZR and John Dewan’s +/- system rate Reyes as just about league average defensively over the last three-plus seasons. Above-average offense and average defense at short is a tremendously valuable player. In fact, he leads all big league shortstops in fWAR (2.9) and is seventh in bWAR (1.7).
  • Reyes is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, which should limit the return. Position players in their walk years usually don’t require huge packages in midseason trades, just look at the recent Mark Teixeira (Braves to Angels) and Matt Holliday (A’s to Cardinals) deals.
  • There have been indications from Reyes that he would like to stay in New York long-term, particularly because his kids are in school where he lives out on Long Island, and because the flights to the Dominican Republic are easy. That could make it easier to sign him to a contract extension this winter (the Yankees don’t negotiate new deals in season).

The Cons

  • Reyes has a bit of injury history, spending time on the disabled list for a thyroid imbalance (16 days) in 2010, a knee strain (137 days) in 2009, a stress fracture in his left leg (43 days) in 2004, a a thigh strain (77 days) also in 2004, and an ankle sprain (28 days) in 2003. Non-DL ailments include an oblique issue (2010) and tendinitis in his left leg (2009). The leg issues are the most concerning since his game is built on speed.
  • Derek Jeter. The Yankees will have to deal with the fallout of moving Jeter off shortstop and almost certainly out of the leadoff spot. Given the recent Jorge Posada spat, it figures to get hella ugly. If the Cap’n becomes a full-time designated hitter, what happens to Posada? There’s not an easy answer.
  • As I mentioned in the Beltran post, the Yankees and Mets simply don’t get together and make trades very often, especially not when it involves players of this caliber. Then again, Sandy Alderson is pretty ruthless and probably won’t care about the negative PR if the deal helps his team.

There’s a lot to like about the possibility of Jose Reyes in a Yankees’ uniform, even if it only ends up being a rental (they’d get draft picks if he signs elsewhere). On paper, it’s an easy to displace Jeter from shortstop and the leadoff spot, but you know it won’t be that way in real life. This is one of those situations where the team would have to approach him beforehand to explain what they were doing rather than just drop it on him after the media is made aware of it and what not. I think a Reyes trade is extremely unlikely, at least one that brings him to the Bronx, but it never hurts to explore the possibility to see if the pieces fits. It’s quite obvious they do, and the Yankees have the prospects to get it done for a Holliday-esque package.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. bakekrukow412 says:

    I’ll take Jeter and his declining skills over Reyes’ attitude any day. Sorry, but it is a well known fact that pretty much the whole National League thinks Reyes is a punk. We don’t need that kind of distraction in an already tense clubhouse. If he had the personality of Swisher or Granderson that’s a different story.

    • mbonzo says:

      He’s shown that he’s more mature recently, especially going through the Wilpon comments. He’s been on one of the most frustrating teams in baseball, so its hard to blame him for getting mad over errors. He was also very young when the “attitude” rumors started. He has certainly shown that he loves to play the game and win, which is the kind of attitude Swisher and Granderson have, and thats good enough for me.

    • V says:

      I’ll take a ‘punk’ who can hit over a ‘non-punk’ who can’t.

      • I’ll take a ‘punk’ who can hit over a ‘non-punk’ who can’t.

        Repeated for emphasis. I don’t want to acquire Reyes, for many reasons, but his attitude or the possibility that he may be a “punk” is not one of them.

        • bakekrukow412 says:

          I don’t understand why not. I cannot imagine going from Derek Jeter (who has been a class act for 15+ years and has garnered the respect of not only his own teammates, but everyone else in the league), to Reyes. The same Reyes who has p*ssed of countless pitchers with his home run dances, shown up his own teammates on the field, throws hissy fits when getting taken out of a game, and nearly gets into a fight with the team broadcaster on a plane. He makes A-Rod look like Mother Theresa.

          • Mister Delaware says:

            Reggie Jackson.

            • bakekrukow412 says:

              If Jose Reyes could hit balls over the Tiger Stadium roof them maybe I’d overlook his personality. Truth his, he’s a speedster shortstop. Not to mention Reggie could hit when it mattered. Reyes disappeared in September ’07, when he was really needed.

          • CP says:

            and has garnered the respect of not only his own teammates, but everyone else in the league

            Apparently not everyone:


            • bakekrukow412 says:

              All that says is people feel his baseball skills are overrated, which they are. No one ever said they didn’t like Jeter as a person.

              • infernoscurse says:

                this isnt miss america, after the steroid allegation Arod was alleged to have matured and become a teammate player, he was already in his 30′s

                arod = dick
                reggie = dick
                posada = dick
                cano = lazy
                gary sheffield = dick
                david wells = drunk dick
                mickey mantle = drunk
                billy martin = drunk dick
                jason giambi = wore thongs
                paul o’neill = got mad with every strike out
                shelley duncan = WWE body slammer
                mike mussina = crossword junkie bastard

          • Ty Cobb stabbed a guy.

            (Side-note: Why this is not a t-shirt available for purchase at the RAB store is beyond me. Get on it, fellas. I waive my compensation fee.)

            • Clay Bellinger says:

              I’d buy that shirt immediately.

            • Xstar7 says:

              Ty Cobb was a dick for good reason. First of all, he was born and raised in Georgia, so we can tell he was racist. Second of all, his father was accidentally shot and killed by his mother, and his father was probably the only person he ever really loved (he skipped out on his mother’s funeral by the way.)

              • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

                ‘accidentally’? is that really accidentally or hipster-ironic accidentally?

                • Xstar7 says:

                  William Cobb thought that his wife was having an affair with another man. So he snuck into their house through the bedroom window at night to spy on her. When she saw him sneaking into the bedroom in the middle of the night she shot and killed him. She was later charged with manslaughter, and Ty Cobb never forgave her.

              • Clay Bellinger says:

                His story is actually quite interesting in general. He supposedly may have had manic depression, played the game so hard to prove how good he was to his father (who he felt was always watching), and his game was referred to as “daring to the point of dementia”.

                • Xstar7 says:

                  Many baseball historians believe that Cobb’s fierce style of play, quick temper, and eagerness to take on all opponents on and off the field, stemmed from the rage he felt over William Cobb’s tragic death.

                  • Clay Bellinger says:

                    Yup, I did a research paper on him back in college. Apparently the incident triggered something. Would love to have seen him play.

                  • dalelama says:

                    He also became a billionaire (based in today’s dollars)as one of the early investors in a then small Atlanta based company named Coca Cola.

          • hogsmog says:

            Because demanding a four year contract paying beyond what you know your skills are worth now (not to mention what they will be by the end of the agreement), then when you can’t produce not have the decency to suggest you bat lower in the order (a la Cal Ripken) is being a class act. You know Jeter would have a shit hemorrhage if Reyes was signed and he was bumped to DH/utility; all the “looking out for the team” crap went out the window when his job was on the line.

    • Xstar7 says:

      In that case, the Yankees should sign Jeff Francoeur. I’ve heard he’s a great guy.

    • pat says:

      Do his teammates hate him? Because if they don’t I could care less about his “attitude”.

    • Nick says:

      “his defense has never been highly regarded.” ummm really? How many gold gloves does he have? Yes last year wasn’t deserved but still!!

  2. Greg says:

    Does anyone think Jeter can play a better 3rd base the A-Rod.

    Not gonna happen mid season, but for the future?

    • mbonzo says:

      Nope. But I think Reyes could if he was signed long term. Assuming Montero is traded, the Yanks could alternate Jeter and Arod at DH while playing Reyes at their positions. However unlikely it is, I think its more likely than Jeter at 3B.

    • jon says:

      I went to the breakfast with cashman last year and they specifically said jeter would never move to 3b. He considers it more of a power position and jeter does not fit that mold.

    • I don’t think Jeter has the raw arm strength or reaction time to play third effectively.

      • CP says:

        More importantly he doesn’t have the bat.

        As long as he’s near average defensively at SS, then there’s no reason to move him.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Really? His arm still looks pretty good to me. Reaction time … … … … … …

        not so much.

    • pat says:

      It took Arod a couple years to get the hang of all the footwork and different angles to play 3B and that was when he was when he was 28. Don’t see Jeter making the transition at 37. Not to mention I don’t think he has the raw arm strength. He does the jump throw because it helps him get ride of the ball faster than planting his feet and firing across the diamond.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Gardner for Reyes, Jeter to LF, THA-AAA-AAA … YANKEES … WIN!!!

        • David, Jr. says:

          Switching from Gardner, who is likely the best fielding left fielder in major league baseball, to Jeter, who is 37 years old and has never played the position?!?!?!? This would be called insanity, and would only be done to find a place for Jeter. In reality, there isn’t a place to move him. DH, 1B, 3B, 2B – all occupied, or he would be too weak a hitter for them. OF – 1. What says he can play OF at all, and 2. Too weak a hitter for OF.

  3. Providence says:

    First time commenter, but couldn’t help noticing that neither the article nor any commenters note the fact that Reyes’s career year is oh-so-coincedentally occurring in his contract year, as is his suddenyl improved attitude.

    An oft-injured guy considered a punk throughout the league is suddenly (a) a model citizen casually shrugging off his owner’s criticism, (b) hitting 47 points above his career average, (c) stealing bases with a frequency we haven’t seen is several years…

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s obvious what’s going on? Do we really want the Reyes who will show up after the ink is dry on a multi-year, mega-million dollar contract?

    Check the back of a Jose Reyes baseball card and guess what you’ll find: The last time he hit .300 in a season? 2006. Yes, 2006- his last contract year! He hit .300 with 19 HR’s and 81 RBI and 122 R. Did you know that he hasn’t matched even ONE of those statistical totals even ONE time since?

    Think about it; I hope Cashman does.

    • Clay Bellinger says:

      Are you calling Reyes Adrian Beltre?! Mike Lowell?!

    • CP says:

      I don’t think anyone is advocating signing him to a long term deal. The suggestion is bringing him in for this season and then (most likely) letting him walk in the offseason.

      • Jericho Spade says:

        That is not plausible. Then you weaken the team considerably going forward. Having Jeter at DH, where he is not suited– for the future? You can move Jeter off SS, only once. There is no point in doing it for half a season. His bat is still in the lineup and the only position that makes sense in is SS, unless he can learn to catch.

        I don’t care about the attitude argument, but I would be concerned signing Reyes long term. The biggest reason is what do you do with Jeter…?

        • Mister Delaware says:

          He might do less overall damage taking his bat and glove to a position where there are less total chances and less variability in those chances even if that bat remains the same.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

      sign him to five one years deals then.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      “Yes, 2006- his last contract year!”

      That wasn’t a contract year!

    • Steve H says:

      Heh. What about his 2008? I know he was (barely) under .300, but he was better than he was in 2006. Oh, he was awesome in 2007 too. So after his “contract year” 2006, he got his big deal and was…..awesome in 2007 and 2008 too.

    • Reyes hasn’t hit .300 since 2006… big whoop.

      From 2005-2010, he hit .286. The difference between .286 and .300 isn’t enough to get your panties in a bunch.

      Since becoming a fulltime regular in ’05, Reyes is hitting .289/.342/.441 (106+). For a shortstop, that’s phenomenal, and he’s still just entering his prime.

      I don’t want to acquire Reyes because he’s probably going to get Crawford/Werth money, and he’s not that good. But he’s still plenty, plenty good, and probably the third best shortstop in baseball behind Tulo and Hanley.

      Even if he never matches this 2011 career year, he’s still going to provide some team with dynamite production from a position that’s become a productional wasteland.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        I think I’d take him over Hanley right now. Bad issues for a tallish, already bad defensive SS screams position change in the near future.

        /prematurely rushes to grab first lifevest’d

      • Clay Bellinger says:

        Just for clarification, are you saying that you don’t think Reyes is as good a player as Crawford or Werth? Or that he, along with them, doesn’t deserve that kind of a deal?

        • More the latter, but that’s not even it.

          Crawford and Werth both deserved their deals, and Reyes deserves the one he’ll get as well. I’m just glad that my team wasn’t the team that gave Crawford or Werth or Reyes the deals they got (or will get), because they’re rife with albatross potential, IMO, as those players move into their 30s and speed declines (or injury issues creep up–especially Werth).

          They’re all top-quality players, and they deserve what the market pays top quality players. But I’m much more comfortable giving, say, a slugger like Tex a 7/8 year deal that lasts until his mid 30s than I am a guy who relies on speed so much for his production.

          • Clay Bellinger says:

            Ok I gotcha, I entirely agree with the speed thing. I don’t see how a corner OF with who hits .300 with 15 HR power can warrant that salary once his speed inevitably dies down. Although I find Reyes to be more valuable because of his skill set and position, he too will be overpaid once the SBs decline.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      He’s also 27 years old, an age when players typically have their best seasons. Robinson Cano last year is a perfect example.

  4. Matt :: Sec110 says:

    Dear God would I love this to happen….and I am a diehard Jeter guy…Reyes does things not many in this game do…

    hey, maybe he can teach Gardner how to steal a base or 50?

  5. nsalem says:

    Mets would trade him to the Red Sox before the Yankees.

    • JohnnyC says:


      • steve s says:

        I agree but since Boston has next to nothing to give up for Reyes I think the Mets would rather make a trade with the Yanks then take the chance that Reyes ends up a free agent and lands with the Phils.

  6. Brian says:

    Good player but it won’t happen with Jeter at shortstop. Next.

  7. ADam says:

    Pass Pass Pass

  8. Clay Bellinger says:

    Interesting to think about and I understand the point of the article, but I just can’t see this happening. Even though it may make help both sides, it comes along with such bad PR for both clubs.

  9. Kosmo says:

    Reyes to the Yanks is highly unlikely .If the Yanks are in the marketplace for a SS better wait until Stephen Drew becomes a FA after next season.Until then the Yanks can make due with DJ and Nunez.

  10. Dan says:

    Jeter as the DH! Now that’s an idea.
    Keep Jeter at short. To move him to any other position weakens that position offensively and defensively. Move him out of leadoff though. There is no excuse for this miscarriage of justice. Our only hope long term is that after he gets his 3,000 hits and selfishly plays 2012, he takes one for the team and walks away, while still holding on to a few perceived major league skills.

    • Kosmo says:

      Exactly ! Jeter could possible walk away either at the end of this season or 2012 .He´s not going to hang around for the length of his contract if he feels he´s an embarrassment on the field.
      Of course with diminished power numbers the last place anyone would want him is at DH.

  11. Dave the Ox says:

    Only reason to show interest is to drive up price on the Red Sox who may well be in the mix.

  12. first time lawng time says:

    I vote no because he is unattractive and has an attitude.

  13. Cuso says:

    There is a 1-in-1,000,000 chance of this happening.

    /Lloyd Christmas’d

  14. Rey22 says:

    0% chance this happens unless Jeter suffers some sort of career ending injury in the next two months. They ain’t acquiring a new SS halfway through the first year of Jeter’s 3+1 year contract

  15. Preston says:

    I’d rather wait until the off-season to do this. Posada will be gone, we can rotate A-rod and Montero in the majority of the DH reps. Jeter can get some DH reps, and be a super utility guy. Or more ideally get his 3,000th+ career hit grab another WS ring call it a hall of fame career and retire. Going down to Tampa to live in that mansion with Minka sounds better than being a reserve anyway.

  16. Andrew518 says:

    I don’t want to catch what the Mets have, I’m afraid it’s contageous…

    Note to RAB: Please don’t ever use the word “hella” again, god I feel stupider just sitting here.

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