this is a sad day for mets fans everywhere. jose reyes has signed a 6-yr deal worth $106 million with the miami marlins. the contract is really for 6 years for 102 mill with a club option for the 7th year at 22 mill or a 4 mill buyout (making the guaranteed portion 106 mill).
what this means for the marlins:
as colin and i discussed on the 2nd episode of the podcast, the miami marlins are moving into a new stadium in 2012 (the sec just launched an investigation into the new stadium) and have a lot of money to spend. the marlins also just finalized a 3-yr deal with closer heath bell for $27 million and now reports are that they just had a 30-minute meeting with albert pujols.
the reyes and bell deals really highlight the marlins' aggressiveness this offseason. in both situations, there were no teams even rumored to be close to the marlins' offers. the reyes signing also means that hanley ramirez (a top-3 shortstop in his own right, along with reyes and troy tulowitzki) will be moving to third base this spring, which could be a blessing if he is willing to accept the new role.
jose reyes could easily be worth the 106 mill the marlins have just signed up for, but that'll only be the case if he stays relatively healthy. he's a player that relies on his speed and has had numerous leg injuries since his mlb debut 8 years ago. the injuries and the fact that he'll be 34 when the contract is over are definite red flags, but the marlins had the incentive and money to put a good product on the field.
what this means for the mets:
jose reyes was one of the faces of the mets franchise (along with david wright) to never have played for another organization. signed out of the dominican republic at age 16, he made his debut at age 20 and has been one of the most exciting players in all of baseball with his speed and smile. now, the mets will have to figure out a way to move on without him.
jose reyes is irreplaceable but resigning him for over $100 mill would have been irresponsible. i'd love to say that the mets should have resigned him but we can't ignore the facts - they are mired in the bernie madoff scandal and years of a disappointing product have led to a lower revenue stream. even the mets new stadium has not been as lucrative as hoped. this means that the mets have even less money to spend on payroll than they have had the last few years (at $140 million in 2011, the payroll is estimated to be $100 in 2012).
even ignoring that fact, the reality is such that this team will not be competitive at least for another couple of years. rather than re-sign reyes, they have opted for a compensatory draft pick and the saved cash that can be reallocated elsewhere in the short term. it was really the only logical move the mets had considering their financial position. i agree with everyone who says that the wilpons should just sell the team if they can't afford to spend money, but that's just not going to happen so there's no need to go down that road.
the mets have a great front office in sandy alderson, paul depodesta (aka jonah hill in the moneyball movie), et al, but they are in a tough spot with the financial restrictions. spending all their available cash on a risky, injury-prone superstar didn't make sense right now and that's all there is to it. when every dollar matters, you can't afford to spend your money based on emotions. results-based decisions must rule in those circumstances and no other decision by the mets would have made any sense.