Blog Entry

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

Posted on: November 3, 2011 5:42 pm
The free agent who fit the Tigers best last winter was Victor Martinez. They got him.

The trade target who fit the Tigers best this summer was Doug Fister. They got him.

And the free agent who fits the Tigers best this winter, without a doubt, is Jose Reyes.

Will they even pursue him?

The topic is certain to come up when the Tigers hold their organizational meetings next week, and it's one that could have a big impact on their future and also that of other teams. And the answer may come down to whether owner Mike Ilitch is prepared to tell his baseball people to look past the budget, as he has so many times before.

In a meeting with local media this week, general manager Dave Dombrowski played down the possibility of signing a shortstop and moving Jhonny Peralta to third base. Dombrowski suggested that the Tigers would search instead for a second baseman and probably a third baseman.

Perhaps they will, but they won't find a Reyes available at either spot.

And for a team that badly needs to add speed, and would be helped by having a true leadoff hitter who would push Austin Jackson to the bottom of the batting order, Reyes could be the difference-maker.

Not only that, but Tigers people say that the opposing player who made the biggest impression on them this season was Reyes, when he went 8-for-13 with two doubles and a triple in an interleague series at Comerica Park in June.

Now, can they afford him?

Under their current budget, they probably can't. The Tigers have two $20 million a year players signed to long-term deals (Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera), and worry about adding a third player who could command $15-20 million a year. Also, they worry about giving a long-term contract to a player dependent on his legs (which is why they shied away from Carl Crawford last winter).

But Tigers people always remind you that the owner has the final say, and also that Ilitch is never afraid to spend big for a player who could put them over the top. In every big signing the Tigers have made (and even some of the smaller ones), Ilitch was the driving force.

Will he see Reyes as a similar difference-maker?

That's a great question. But don't be surprised if he does.

Two more things to think about, one regarding Reyes, one regarding the Tigers.

The Giants are another team where Reyes would seem to be a perfect fit, but the word in baseball is that at this point, they are unlikely to pursue him (or to pursue free-agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, either).

The Giants' budget is tighter than the Tigers', and their ownership is believed to be less likely to bust that budget. After committing money to keep the pitching staff together for another year, it's believed that the Giants have just about $10 million to spend for 2012, and that they intend to spend the bulk of it on a center fielder (very possibly Coco Crisp).

As for the Tigers, here's another thought: What if the Red Sox decide that Crawford just isn't a good fit in Boston, and are willing to eat some of the contract in order to trade him?

Crawford could take Delmon Young's spot in Comerica Park's spacious left field, and would give the Tigers much-needed speed.

Crawford, though, has never liked batting leadoff. Reyes loves hitting there.

Reyes is the better fit for the Tigers -- but only if Ilitch decides to make the money fit.


Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 23, 2011 3:10 pm

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

Would love to see Reyes bat leadoff for Tigers in 12....Why couldn't Reyes move to second base?  

Since: Sep 5, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2011 9:39 am

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

OK so Reyes is a good player, he can steal bases but besides last year he's a 290 hitter, nothing fantastic.  His biggest detriment is he's been a pro for nine years, so out of a possible 1458 games he's missed 408 of them, that's over two years worth of games.  I'm not saying he's fragile, but he can't be counted on for 150+ games a year, which you wold want your infielders to play.  The Giants are looking towards the playoffs, which means playing hard in Sep and Oct, something this guy probably can't do, and for $15-$20mil.  Big gamble.

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

Reyes is a more talented Carlos Guillen waiting to happen. Too many injuries, love him when hes on the field but unfortunately that isnt much.

Since: May 15, 2010
Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:19 am

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

.....from a different perspective, think about how adding Reyes to the Tiger's lineup would help make them into another glamour team, similar the Yanks, Sox and Phils....major league baseball (like it or not) uses these teams to market their product worldwide and having the Tigers on board, especially as a midwestern power, would push the Cubbies, Cards and White Sox to follow suit or be left in the marketing dust....glamour teams draw the big benefits everyone....

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 4, 2011 10:29 am

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

I like Reyes and yes, the Tigers desperately need a legitimate leadoff hitter, no doubt about it.   But here's the problem, Reyes isn't worth what he's going to get.  I can easily see what Knobler suggested, 15-20 million per season and that's not the part I have as much of a problem with.  My problem is he's probably going to demand at least a 5 to 7 year deal, which in my opinion makes this unrealistic and unaffordable.   Yeah, Reyes is only 28 soon to be 29 years old, but players don't usually steal bases at the rate he does too far into their 30's.  And Reyes is probably going to miss 30 or 35 games per season if the last 2 are any indication at all, that's not good. That being said i can handle him missing 35 out of 162 games if the deal makes sense.  I would have no problem with the Tigers offering Reyes a 3 year deal for 60 million dollars.  If during the 3rd year of the deal he still hasn't slowed down, then sign him to another extension.  But considering that in 2010 the Tigers were only 1 of 2 teams in MLB to lose money, I doubt Ilitch will commit to this guy long term

I'll admit the spacious outfield at comerica is ideal for Reyes, I don't think how he performed during interleague play was a fluke.  There are a ton of extra base hits at comerica, more then most parks.... he would look great in a tigers uniform. 

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