Monday, December 5, 2011

End of Jose Reyes era for Mets

The end of the Jose Reyes era in Queens has come, as the free-agent shortstop has reportedly decided to leave the New York Mets for the newly flush Miami Marlins.

The six-year, $100 million plus deal is almost complete, pending a physical, which perhaps means that a final deal is not a certainty given Reyes’ injury history. But if Reyes passes the medical examination, he will leave the only baseball home he has ever known to try to revitalize baseball in South Florida.

I can't say I blame the Mets for letting Reyes walk away, given their diminishing resources. There's no way I would have spent that kind of money on a player with his injury history. He had to sit twice in his walk year because of leg problems. There's no doubt those injuries will get worse as he ages and I’m sure that the Mets wanted no part of a long-term commitment to an aging, increasingly limited infielder (as the New York Yankees have to contend with in Alex Rodriguez for the next six years).

But I also understand why the Marlins signed him. When healthy, Reyes is one of the most dynamic players in baseball. He just won a batting title despite two stints on the disabled list (although his actions the last day of the season to ensure his victory were contemptible). Even if the Marlins stop at signing him and Heath Bell (the team is also reportedly pursuing Albert Pujols and Mark Buehrle), these two signings and a beautiful new ballpark with a retractable roof might be enough to get south Floridians excited about baseball again.

The upside for Derek Jeter and his fans: the Yankees captain no longer has to endure arguments that he isn’t the best shortstop in New York. So long and Godspeed Jose!

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