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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Marlins - Sign Reyes

Miami Marlins sign SS Jose Reyes to a 6 year/ $111 million contract (6 years/ $106 with an option of a 7th year at $22 million or a $5 million buyout)

I see several contradictory factors here. First of all, because the Marlins already have Hanley Ramirez under contract one of them loses some of their value. Sure Ramirez could be shifted to center field (the Marlins weakest position last year) or third base ( Dobbs and Bonifacio weren’t bad, but Bonifacio was probably over his head and Dobbs may not be back and isn’t what you’d call a lock to play as well as he did last year in any case), but he’s have to play that position considerably better than he played shortstop to retain the same value. I don’t see that as likely, though I suppose it could happen. Ramirez has considerable physical gifts, but it takes more than those gifts to play a completely new position well.

Or they could trade Ramirez. This strikes me as selling low and could easily lead to a deal they’d regret. Given the ups and downs between the Marlins over the years nobody would be surprised if this is the plan, but there’s no way of knowing that you’ll get the price you want for Ramirez when you sign Reyes. The Marlins have to plan around having Ramirez even if they would like to move him.

Still the Ramirez factor merely suggests caution. It’s not a deal killer to me.

The second cautionary factor is this. Do you think Reyes would have commanded this price at this time last year? I don’t, and that’s something to be wary of. In addition, you can see a narrowing of the talent base. He probably won’t steal 60+ bases again (given his injury history this seems prudent. He can still run if needed) and it seems that his defense isn’t what it was in the past (though he’s not close to being bad and is an upgrade on Ramirez. In other words it’s not a problem, just something to note going forward.)

Against these factor, while last year was a career year driven by what was probably a fair amount of luck on balls put in play, the Marlins aren’t paying Reyes to repeat his 2011. Assuming decent health, something on the order of .300/.350/.450 with 40 stolen bases (and a good SB%) and average defense at shortstop (probably a little less than what the Marlins are hoping for) rates to be worth something just over 5 WAR. If they get anything close to that over the balance of the contract it’ll be a steal. Although last year was a career year, there’s nothing that was really surprising about it.

More simply, Reyes is an excellent player and these are the guys who have historically been the best buys. I’m not sure it’s the best use of the Marlins’ resources to go for Reyes specifically (but they have a problem in that they have adequate options at pretty much every position except perhaps center field—that’s the toughest type of mediocre team to upgrade), but I am glad to see the Marlins making moves that the casual fan will take note of and see as an attempt to build a winning team.

Ron J Posted: December 06, 2011 at 06:57 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#4008449)
Miami Marlins sign SS Jose Reyes to a 6 year/ $111 million contract (6 years/ $106 with an option of a 7th year at $22 million or a $5 million buyout)


Reporting it like this, guaranteed money up front with a parenthetical of how it breaks down, makes sense.

I see several contradictory factors here. First of all, because the Marlins already have Hanley Ramirez under contract one of them loses some of their value. Sure Ramirez could be shifted to center field (the Marlins weakest position last year) or third base ( Dobbs and Bonifacio weren’t bad, but Bonifacio was probably over his head and Dobbs may not be back and isn’t what you’d call a lock to play as well as he did last year in any case), but he’s have to play that position considerably better than he played shortstop to retain the same value. I don’t see that as likely, though I suppose it could happen. Ramirez has considerable physical gifts, but it takes more than those gifts to play a completely new position well.


This is the main problem I see with the signing from the Marlins' perspective. Though, as you say, it doesn't mean signing him was dumb.

Or they could trade Ramirez. This strikes me as selling low and could easily lead to a deal they’d regret. Given the ups and downs between the Marlins over the years nobody would be surprised if this is the plan, but there’s no way of knowing that you’ll get the price you want for Ramirez when you sign Reyes. The Marlins have to plan around having Ramirez even if they would like to move him.


I think trading Ramirez when his value is at a low point would be a disaster. But if I'm other teams (like the Red Sox) I try to find out what they'll sell him for.

Ron: I don't see any reasonable justification for the Mets not trading Reyes last year when they had to know they weren't going to re-sign him at market value. Do you? And the amount of this deal was entirely predictable as market value.
   2. Ron J Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#4008456)
Ray the only problem I see with selling him last year is that it might have done even more damage to their market long term. Fire sales are always revenue disasters.

I think (though I can't prove it) that from a public perception point of view losing a stud to free agency is preferable to selling him for prospects -- unless those prospects are of the nature that you can sell to the casual fan.
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#4008462)
There are two reasons not to deal him at last year's deadline;

1. They tried but the offers they got were worth less in their minds than the draft picks. In fairness to the Mets they got screwed a bit here with the Marlins having a protected first rounder AND having signed another, higher rated, Type A. That's bad luck.

2. My guess is that is probably an unlikely scenario. More likely I think they may have felt they had a chance to sign him but either the mid-season injury spooked them or something changed within the club's finances that made that impossible.

Playing devil's advocate here though. In reality, I agree with you.
   4. Banta Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#4008469)
Reyes was going through the beginning of his injuries in July last year as well. It's hard to say how much they could have gotten for him. Doubtful they could have gotten what they did for Beltran and for less than that, the illusion that they might resign him really could have been more valuable (in a completely abstract sort of way).

On the other hand, if Reyes hadn't gotten hurt in July and they would have traded him, well, it would have been even worse as far as reaction from the general fanbase. Before his leg issues started to flare up, he was having a season for the ages (at least as far as Mets offensive performers have gone). Really, the Wilpons are lucky that Reyes started to break down, because they were probably never gonna resign him, but if he had coasted through last year without any problems, not resigning him would have been an even harder sell than it is now.

*sigh*, I just wish that Reyes had signed in like the AL or something. I'm not looking forward to having to watch him play against the Mets 18 times a year.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#4008472)
Ron: I don't see any reasonable justification for the Mets not trading Reyes last year when they had to know they weren't going to re-sign him at market value. Do you? And the amount of this deal was entirely predictable as market value.

I think they're borderline insolvent. As in, in constant risk of failing to meet payroll and having the banks or MLB foreclosure. Every decision is being made with regards to short term cash flow.

They probably thought the revenue hit from dumping Reyes would have swamped them.
   6. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#4008479)
Ron and Snapper: fair enough.

*sigh*, I just wish that Reyes had signed in like the AL or something. I'm not looking forward to having to watch him play against the Mets 18 times a year.


Not only that, but him going to an NL East competitor is doubly bad. Take 5 WAR off of your team and add it to a rival's?

If Reyes is your favorite player, you might be reduced to (a) hoping he does well against the Mets while (b) the Mets lose every single game anyway. That's what I was reduced to when Clemens went to the Yankees -- well, I was hoping the Yankees would lose in the 9th on an error by Jeter, ruining Clemens's 15-K shutout -- and let's just say that it doesn't really work out that way.
   7. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: December 06, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4008489)
Not only that, but him going to an NL East competitor is doubly bad. Take 5 WAR off of your team and add it to a rival's?


Yeah - I call it MNS. Mike Napoli Syndrome.
   8. Sam M. Posted: December 06, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#4008511)
Not just an NL East competitor. One whose first round pick is protected because of their record last year, AND which has already signed one Type A FA rated more highly than Reyes (Bell). So they're down to a 3rd round pick in compensation, and if they sign Pujols or Buerhle or Wilson, that will make it a 4th rounder.

Shoot me now.
   9. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#4008521)
Uh, shouldn't this have the Oracle? (Or am I for some reason just not seeing it?)
   10. formerly dp Posted: December 06, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#4008556)
2. My guess is that is probably an unlikely scenario. More likely I think they may have felt they had a chance to sign him but either the mid-season injury spooked them or something changed within the club's finances that made that impossible.

That's my guess too. They got Wheeler for Beltran, Reyes is the more valuable player. If they had no plans/intent/ability to resign him, I think they would have dealt him, and gotten an even better return than they got on Beltran (though it is tricky, b/c Reyes made it clear he was going to test the FA market).
   11. Arne Olson Posted: December 07, 2011 at 01:58 AM (#4008726)
Assuming decent health, something on the order of .300/.350/.450 with 40 stolen bases (and a good SB%) and average defense at shortstop (probably a little less than what the Marlins are hoping for) rates to be worth something just over 5 WAR. If they get anything close to that over the balance of the contract it’ll be a steal. Although last year was a career year, there’s nothing that was really surprising about it.


There's the rub. Reyes has played in less than 300 games over the last three years, accumulating 9.8 WAR (per BB-Ref). If he only produces 3 WAR per year, they would be paying him over $6 million per WAR. Plus, additional injury would likely hasten his defensive decline.

This may be a risk worth taking for "Miami", but it seems like the odds are not insignificant that it turns out to be a long-term drag.
   12. Ron J Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:00 AM (#4008877)
#11 Sure. Health's always a consideration and the risk is higher than usual with Reyes than for your typical player in this late 20s. I figure that's partially factored into the offer.

There's an unusually high chance of it working very well or (particularly considering the quality of player) poorly.

Oh and for #9, Dan may or may not attach a projection. Since he's busily grinding out the league files this early I personally try to avoid nagging.

But I'd be interested in what ZiPS sees for him.
   13. Something Other Posted: December 07, 2011 at 05:43 AM (#4008935)
This may be a risk worth taking for "Miami", but it seems like the odds are not insignificant that it turns out to be a long-term drag.
Pithy, and seems correct. Even if they had had the money, one reason for the Mets not to sign him is that, by the time they were going to be relevant again Reyes was going to be in the ass end of this deal. I suppose the "credibility" this gives the Marlins may make this deal worth it to them (although the Werth-deal hasn't done much for the Nationals and I suspect generally that these "credibility" deals can't touch actually building a winning team for bringing in revenue), but when you factor in that the Marlins are paying a hell of a lot of money for a lucky year, and whatever moving Ramirez rates to cost them, this is a very dicey deal.

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