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It seems that any time a player who is considered “elite” at their respective position is playing in a contract year, there is talk of whether or not the Yankees would sign him. I generally read many comments on different blogs that are somewhere along the lines of this: “The Yankees should sign X player because they have the money and he’s really good.” While this is not every fan’s perception of how the Yankees handle their business in the front office, it’s a bit embarrassing to read and be associated with.
I wish to take a look at a man you may have heard of. He’s the best shortstop in New York right now. And no, sadly it isn’t Derek Jeter.
Jose Reyes is an intriguing baseball player. The man’s legs have simply been blessed with talent. His speed makes him a perfect commodity in Citi Field because of the monstrous gaps in the outfield. While he’s not the most patient hitter at the plate, it’s rare to see Reyes not put the ball in play (8.5% of ABs result in a strikeout this year). He’s exciting, cocky and a little arrogant; but hey, he’s got every right to be when he’s not injured. Despite all of the wonderful things about Jose Reyes, I’d still pass him up in an instant if I were New York Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman. Ironically enough, Cashman came out today and said that the Yankees wouldn’t consider him. While I think they’ll still kick the tires on Reyes in December, here are three reasons why the Yankees absolutely won’t sign him.
1) His contract. He’ll want, at the very least, a five-year contract (around $17-$20 million per season). While he’s arguably the best shortstop in baseball this season, that’s another long-term commitment that the Yankees should balk at. Derek Jeter is already under contract for another three years. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are going to be Yankees until kingdom come. That’s a huge load of cash they already have tied up in players. Yes, despite the fact that the Bombers have an enormous payroll, they’re not entirely made of money.
2) Jose Reyes is going to be 29. While he’s entering his prime age-range this year, his number one tool will begin to diminish after the age of 30: his speed. Reyes is the player he is because his speed creates so many opportunities for him. It’s a situation similar to that of Carl Crawford. He’ll be 36 or so at the end of his contract, and I have a feeling Boston will be regretting it down the line.
3) Derek Jeter. There are continued whispers about Jeter’s “eventual move to another position” that Will Carry on, but at the end of the day, he’s the shortstop in the Bronx. Don’t get me wrong, Jeter is a far cry from a good defensive shortstop (I’m not really sure how he won so many gold glove awards …), but he’s “The Captain,” and I don’t foresee a change of position in the near future. Curtis Granderson is under contract next year ($13 million team option for 2013), the Yankees will probably pick up Nick Swisher’s $10.25 million option, and Brett Gardner’s gritty and gutty play will secure him a spot in left field. That leaves zero room in the outfield. Oh, and designated hitter is out of the question. I’ve already highlighted in my Montero article that the DH spot will be a revolving door to get the older players half days (Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira).
I’m sure someone out there will be foolish enough to offer Reyes a huge contract, but it won’t be the Yankees.