Yankees Trade Target: Jose Reyes


Even before the 2014 regular season was complete, all anyone could talk about when discussing the impending retirement of Derek Jeter, was who was going to replace #2 at shortstop in 2015? We’ve seen several names tossed around, from the hottest candidate in Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, to A’s free agent Jed Lowrie, to Dodgers’ left side of the infield guy, Hanley Ramirez. Well I’m here to add another name to the mix: Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes

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I recently wrote a piece about how I believed Stephen Drew, on a short deal, made the most sense for the Yankees, and I still believe that. However, I wouldn’t be doing the Yankees, nor you, the reader justice if I only shared the players I wanted to see in New York. You see, here at Yanks Go Yard, we make every attempt to cover the entire gamut of possibilities, no matter how lean the odds. If a player could conceivably end up in pinstripes, odds are, we are going to discuss it here in our forum. Let’s talk some Reyes, and how he could end up in the Bronx.

First of all, the Blue Jays didn’t give Jose Reyes $22 million per season. That was the brilliance of the Miami Marlins. It didn’t work after a single season, and the Marlins blew up the roster. Now he’s the Blue Jays problem. Reyes is not a $22 million per season shortstop, even in his prime, which by looking at his numbers, appears to be the 2005-2008 seasons with the crosstown Mets. He’s not that guy anymore, but he is darn close.

I recently chatted with Kyle Franzoni, editor of Fansided’s Jays Journal and asked him about the possibility of Reyes becoming a Yankee. I was curious as to whether or not the Blue Jays would consider dealing within their own division, and Franzoni believed they would. He felt if the Yankees were willing to deal to the Jays’ needs: outfield and second base prospects, and take on the money that was left owing to Reyes, Toronto would have zero issue cutting him loose.

It makes sense from Toronto’s perspective. If they were able to unload Reyes for a couple of prospects AND be off the hook for the money, the Jays would have future players at the ready AND have freed up payroll to pursue one of the cheaper options in free agency such as Lowrie, or Drew. Or, they could get greedy, and make a push for Hanley Ramirez to an already potent lineup, one that would give pitchers in the AL East nightmares. So what about the Yankees?

The Yankees would be getting another speedster to add to the mix with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Reyes has proven he can handle New York, which is always a big deal. Even though Reyes has been in the bigs for 12 seasons, he’s entering his age-32 season in 2015. He’s signed through 2017 at $22 mil per, with a team option for another $22 mil in 2018. The buyout is $4 million dollars. If the Yankees were to take on all of the contract, you’re looking at a minimum of $70 million dollars if you buy him out, and $88 million if he wears pinstripes through 2018.

Injuries are the biggest concern for Reyes. Much like Tulo, the man has a difficult time staying on the field. He did however, play in 143 games in 2014, but prior to that, he played in 93 due to an ankle injury doing what he does best…stealing a base. It’s a high risk to take on for so much money. When Reyes is healthy, he’s absolutely electrifying. He has stolen 85 bases over the past three seasons, and has scored almost 240 runs. His OPS+ is almost 109 over the past three seasons, and he can even hit the ball out from time to time, having 30 bombs over that time period too.

Reyes isn’t going to win a Gold Glove any time soon however, as his UZR over the past two seasons has gone from -5.3 to a -6.5 last season. Just to show how far Reyes has fallen defensively, his UZR in 2007, was a +11.6. He’s never come close to that again. He was also a -16 for defensive runs saved in 2014. In comparison, free agent Hanley Ramirez in 2014, had a -10.3 UZR, almost double that of Reyes, and Hanley’s defensive runs saved was at a -9. For comparative purposes, the Yankees would be getting a much better, but just as brittle shortstop in Troy Tulowitzki, but his UZR was a 3.o and his DRS was a 7 this past season. The difference? Reyes won’t cost nearly the prospects or money that Tulo will, but how many games would Reyes give away with his glove that Tulo would save?

While Jose Reyes might not be the ideal replacement for Derek Jeter, he does bring some value to the table. The Yankees would have to kick up some serious money, and yes, Reyes is an injury risk, but unlike Tulo, he won’t cost the Yankees their entire farm system, or be on the hook with a contract into the next decade.

If the Bombers want a powerful, impact bat, Tulo is the guy. Hanley Ramirez is the big bat in between Tulo and Reyes, and will only cost money, but Reyes will be money and could of prospects. It’s all in how the Yankees view each player, and their value to the team and the cost to the organization. Let’s see how things play out as the winter unfolds…