It says here that Jose Reyes will end up signing a long-term contract with the Mets by default — no one else will be able to afford him.
The Yankees and Red Sox are the usual suspects for such high-end free agents. But both teams have said they will likely not be interested in Reyes. The Yankees have a shortstop — some icon named Jeter. And the Red Sox have too many huge contracts to take on another.
The Giants are constantly mentioned as a possible fit. But having been burned on big contracts before (Barry Zito), I don’t think they’ll do one for Reyes. Besides, Tim Lincecum is due for a nine-figure deal soon, and I think the Giants will give their money to him.
The Cardinals and Brewers? If they are going to spend $20 million or more per season on a player, they will sign their own free agents — Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, respectively.
Many people are mentioning the hated Phillies. Jimmy Rollins is a free agent after this season. But the Phils already have some major contracts (Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay) and a bloated payroll. With their pitching, I don’t think they need Reyes to win. I think they will resign Rollins.
Some are talking about the Nationals. They made a big splash by overpaying for Jayson Werth last off season, and could surprise everyone and make a play for Reyes. But Washington’s budget is limited. Ryan Zimmerman is due a monster contract in a couple of years, and looking down the road, it is likely they will have to spend big on Stephen Strasberg and Bryce Harper if they progress as planned. I think the Nationals will save their money.
The two teams I worry about the most are the Orioles and Angels. Baltimore has just $35 million in salary committed to next season. If the Orioles ever hope to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, they have to go out and get players. Remember, they were in the thick of things for Mark Teixeira, so the team does not appear averse to spending money. This is a definite landing spot for Reyes.
As far as the Angels, Arte Moreno is a big spender. Their payroll is $140 million this year, but they have just $80 million committed for 2012. They have do that albatross of Vernon Well’s contract of nearly $25 million per year for the next three seasons hanging around their neck, which would be the only reason they wouldn’t sign Reyes to a big deal. But I wouldn’t count them out.
I think with those options, Reyes will stay right here in New York, which is where he says he wants to be. The Mets won’t be getting a discount though. I’ve been saying all along that Reyes will get something in their neighborhood of five-years, $75 million. But with the season he is having, I’m going to increase that to five-years, $90 million. All bets are off if the Yankees or Red Sox somehow get involved — then he gets his “Carl Crawford money.”