This is something that appears to be gaining some major momentum in the “baseball expert” universe. From Buster Olney of ESPN, all the way down to the Seattle Times, people seem to think the Brewers are going to sign NL Batting Champ Jose Reyes. This is just no true.
What amazes me the most about all of the momentum this rumor seems to be getting nationally, there has been hardly a whisper about it amongst Brewers sites and Brewers writers. So, how is it that ESPN seems to think this will happen, when not one person who covers the Brewers agrees? It’s simple. This time of year makes people crazy for news, whether it be true or not. This is a not situation.
The fact of this matter is that the Brewers should not have any interest in Reyes. Yes, the team needs a shortstop, but that does not automatically mean that they are the front-runners to pay Reyes whatever insane amount of money he is looking for. Truth be told, I can not envision a scenario where they would fore-go an offer to Fielder, just to sign Reyes. The Brewers top priority this off-season will be to re-sign Prince Fielder, regardless of how futile that task may be. The only people who think the Brewers and Reyes make sense are people who do not cover the Brewers. Am I the only one who finds this bizarre? Do Brewers fans secretly want Reyes? Maybe I am just out of touch.
If that is the case and I am wrong, I doubt that the Brewers will be willing to pay Reyes more than the $11 million he made in 2011. Mostly, this is due to Reyes’ incredible injury history. From 2005 – 2008 Reyes only missed 16 total games. From 2009 until today, Reyes has missed 191 games, which is equal to an entire season plus a month. The Brewers are a team who lacks any depth at shortstop, so it makes zero sense for them to bring in a guy that may only play 3 or 4 months. Why would you want to plug a player into that spot, when you have no solid options to replace him in the event of an injury? Not to mention the fact, that you would be signing him to a long term deal. Reyes to the Brewers just does not make sense from a long-term, short-term, or financial perspective.
As a Brewers fan, I would love to add a guy like Reyes to this team, but at what cost? This is a guy past his prime, feel free to disagree with that statement, but I believe it to be true. And while in the past, the Brewers would have just handed Reyes a blank check and told him that they would love to sign him to a 12 year deal, things are different now. The days of over paying players in their 30’s, is (hopefully) over. This past season should have taught Brewers management a valuable lesson (Counsell and Kotsay). Veteran does not always mean better. Jose Reyes would absolutely be an upgrade over Yuni Betancourt, but for how long? That is the big questions with Reyes, not how good he is, but how long will you get him each season. The Brewers will have almost no interest in a player like that this off-season.
Moments before I planned on posting this, the Twitter universe informed me that the Marlins just made Reyes an offer. So, this article could serve absolutely no purpose at all. However, it is amazing to see ESPN analysts take something that does not exist and make it sound like it is an inevitability. Plus, they seem to be under the assumption that since the Brewers made the NLCS, they automatically will spend more money. But, as a Brewers fan, I am fully aware that they will not spend more than $90 million on payroll next year. Maybe I just have better sources.
Lou’s Prediction: Reyes will not sign with the Brewers, and I will continue to laugh at Buster Olney everytime he says otherwise.