Miami Marlins Ink All-Star Jose Reyes To 6-Year Deal
By Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports
DALLAS – Shortstop Jose Reyes, one of the most intriguing players on the free-agent market, also became one of the first big names to change teams, agreeing to terms with the suddenly flush Miami Marlins on a six-year, $106 million contract Sunday.
The news came on the eve of baseball’s annual winter meetings as executives were checking into the Hilton Anatole Hotel. On the heels of the signing of closer Heath Bell, the Marlins’ acquisition of Reyes gives the team that shifted its affiliation from the broader Florida to the more precise Miami a measure of authenticity.
The Marlins courted nearly every significant free agent in the last month, and perked ears had begun to give way to rolled eyes. But with the move of Reyes from the New York Mets to South Florida, it’s clear Miami is a legitimately hot destination.
Sources said Sunday night they expect the Marlins to continue their courtship of a superstar first baseman – either Albert Pujols (whom they’ve offered a nine-year contract worth almost $200 million) or Prince Fielder – and a frontline pitcher, likely left-hander Mark Buehrle. At a time in the NL East when the Philadelphia Phillies are showing their age and the New York Mets are irrelevant, and with the opening of a new ballpark, and then feeling the pressure of opening that ballpark on the public dime, the Marlins are, said one source, “Going after it.”
They signed Bell last week to a three-year, $27-million contract, and are showing no signs of stopping.
In his walk year, Reyes again could not stay off the disabled list (strained left hamstring), but he batted .337 in 126 games for the first batting title of his career. Reyes won it on the final day when he bunted for a hit in his first at-bat, then removed himself from the game in order to sit on his lead.
He remains supremely talented, and very productive when motivated. His acquisition will push Hanley Ramirez to third base, giving Miami as talented a left side of the infield as any team.
Ramirez, 27, has publicly supported the Marlins’ pursuit of Reyes and, therefore, his own transition to third base or, perhaps, center field. Reached Sunday night, Ramirez’s agent, Adam Katz, refused to comment on how the signing would impact his client. Smoothing the notoriously mercurial Ramirez’s transition to another position will be the first piece of business for new manager Ozzie Guillen.