Tag:Jose Reyes
Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:34 pm

Pagan isn't Reyes, but he did learn from him

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In a perfect world, where money was no issue, perhaps the Giants would have signed Jose Reyes to be their leadoff hitter.

But money is an issue, and the Giants are saving as much of it as they can to pay Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and the rest of their pitchers.

So Angel Pagan, who cost about $100 million less than Reyes after the Giants acquired him in a trade with the Mets, is the new leadoff man.

He's not Reyes, but he did learn from him. And he won't need to be Reyes to be a lot better than what the Giants had atop the order in 2010.

As much as the Giants' offense suffered from the loss of Buster Posey, another huge problem last year was that their leadoff men combined for a .292 on-base percentage. Only the Orioles and Nationals were worse.

Pagan has a .341 on-base percentage in 154 career games leading off for the Cubs and Mets.

"To me, Jose's one of the best leadoff hitters in the game," Pagan said Monday. "I've played with good leadoff hitters, Jose and Juan Pierre. I know what it's all about. My job is to set the table for the big boys, Pablo [Sandoval] and Buster."

But Pagan knows from playing with Reyes that a top leadoff man does more than just set the table. He knows how much the leadoff man can influence the game.

"When you have an energetic person at the top, you have that spark," Pagan said. "You want to bring that type of energy. [Reyes] injected that energy in the lineup.

"Hopefully, I can be that. I'm ready to help this team."

In the first couple of Cactus League games, manager Bruce Bochy has paired Pagan and Melky Cabrera (also acquired in a winter trade) atop the lineup. It's not clear whether they'll both stay there once Freddy Sanchez is healthy, but the plan has been for Pagan to lead off.

Bochy knows that getting the leadoff man on base is crucial if the Giants are to score more runs. They scored just 570 last year, a dropoff of 127 from the championship team of 2010.

"I think it played a critical part in our lack of run production," Bochy said. "We know we'll be more consistent with Angel and Melky.

"Plus, it's hard to imagine we won't do better with runners in scoring position."

The Giants figure they'll get the best effort possible out of Pagan and Cabrera, both of whom are entering their free-agent years.

Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:58 pm

Harper would join short list of 19-year-olds

As CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman wrote, the Nationals plan to give 19-year-old Bryce Harper a real chance to make their team out of spring training.

In fact, one Nationals official told me he believes that Harper should make it, and that even though he is still learning, "he can help you win while he learns."

Besides, it's not unheard of for a 19-year-old to play in the big leagues. Mike Trout did it for 14 games with the Angels last summer. Both Uptons (B.J. and Justin) did it.

Alex Rodriguez played in the big leagues when he was still 18 years old.

But according to research through baseball-reference.com, Harper would be the first 19-year-old to break camp with a team since Felix Hernandez with the 2006 Mariners, and the first position player to do it since Andruw Jones with the 1997 Braves.

Harper will be 19 years, 172 days old when the Nationals open their season on April 5 in Chicago. King Felix (19.118 when he debuted in August 2005) was the last big leaguer that young, and Adrian Beltre (19.078 when he debuted in June 1998) was the last position player that young.

A look the 19-year-olds who have played in the big leagues since 2000:

-- Trout played 14 games with the Angels last July, hitting just .163 with a .492 OPS.

-- Justin Upton was 23 days shy of his 20th birthday when the Diamondbacks called him up in 2007.

-- Hernandez came to the big leagues to stay at age 19.

-- B.J. Upton was 18 days shy of his 20th birthday when he debuted with the Rays in August 2004.

-- Jose Reyes debuted with the Mets the day before he turned 20 in June 2003.

-- Wilson Betemit came up with the Braves as a 19-year-old in September 2001.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 7:17 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 7:28 am

Spending on Bell shows Marlins are serious

If they're not serious, they're crazy.

I'll go with serious.

You don't spend $9 million a year on a closer if you're not serious about trying to win. And the Marlins just gave Heath Bell $27 million for the next three years.

If it's their only big move of the winter, it makes no sense. But if it's their only big move of the winter, that would be a shock.

As CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller wrote Thursday, the Marlins are optimistic about signing Jose Reyes, one of the biggest free agents out there. They're aiming high on the starting pitching market, as well, with Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson both having admired the new ballpark in Miami.

Already, they've done what Marlins teams in recent years haven't, by committing significant money to the back of the bullpen. Sources confirmed to CBSSports.com that Bell agreed to a deal late Thursday night, and that it will pay him $9 million a year.

For a closer, that's serious money.

You know the only closers who are signed for $9 million or more next year?

Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Valverde . . . and Heath Bell.

The stat guys can argue about whether any closer is worth that much. I'll only tell you that Bell is the one and only closer in baseball with 40 saves each of the last three years, and that he has done it with an outstanding 90.4 percent conversion rate.

Having a good closer guarantees you nothing. Bell's Padres lost 91 games in 2011, even as he had another fine year.

But teams serious about winning understand that they'd better have an outstanding closer, even if it means committing big money (it doesn't always, as the Braves proved with rookie Craig Kimbrel).

At this point, we've got to count the new Marlins as serious.

And if they follow it up by signing Reyes and a starting pitcher, we'll count them as very, very serious.

Oh, and as for the Padres, the team Bell hoped to stay with?

There's no way they could justify spending $9 million a year on a closer. But this works out for them, too. They'll get two draft picks, a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds, and the ninth pick in the second round.

In the past, that second pick would have come from the Marlins, but under a clause in the new basic agreement between the players and owners, Bell's signing didn't cost the Marlins a draft pick.

Signing Reyes would cost them a pick, but that's fine. They can afford it -- just as they could afford $27 million for a closer.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 30, 2011 5:46 pm

Two names to watch for Tigers: Crisp and Cespedes

Barring a late intervention from owner Mike Ilitch, the Tigers aren't going after Jose Reyes. It's unlikely that they would make a strong bid for Aramis Ramirez, sources say.

And while they need a starting pitcher, it's more likely that they fill that need through a trade than through free agency.

So where do they look next, now that they've re-signed infielder Ramon Santiago to a two-year deal for a little more than $4 million?

Two names to watch: Coco Crisp, and Yoennis Cespedes.

Both come with risk, but either one would fit the Tigers' desire to get faster and more athletic.

Cespedes, the Cuban soon-to-be free agent, interests the Tigers enough that general manager Dave Dombrowski is making an rare scouting trip to the Dominican Republic. But Cespedes is drawing huge interest from many teams (and sending many GMs to the Dominican), and it's too early to know how high his price will rise and what chance the Tigers have of signing him.

The Tigers have also been in contact with Crisp's agent, and their interest is believed to be strong. Crisp has expressed a preference to stay on the West Coast, but it's believed that the chance to win could help lure him to Detroit.

Crisp is thought to prefer the Giants, but they're so financially limited that he may not be an option. Foxsports.com reported that the A's have interest in re-signing him.

If the Tigers sign Crisp, he would likely replace Delmon Young in left field, and would take Austin Jackson's spot as the leadoff hitter (with Jackson moving to the bottom of the order). The Tigers like Young, but Crisp is a better fit for their needs at this point.

Young would have some trade value. The Tigers offered him to the Braves for Martin Prado last month, but those talks died.

Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 2:58 pm

No Marlins signings, but it's a 'new environment'

MILWAUKEE -- They're still the new Marlins. The offers are still out there.

The stadium is still new.

And the fact that none of those big offers have yet been accepted?

Hey, none of those big-name free agents has yet signed anywhere else, either.

"I don't feel pressure to do anything -- ever," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said as he left baseball's owners meetings Thursday. "But it's a new environment."

In this new environment, the Marlins can bid on Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and others, and even get them to Miami on recruiting visits. They're still considered a longshot on signing Pujols, but may even be the favorite at this point for Reyes.

One complication with signing Reyes would be that incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez would need to move to third base. The Miami Herald reported this week that Ramirez isn't thrilled with the idea, but Loria insisted it won't be a problem.

"He's a wonderful team guy," Loria said.

Remember, new Marlins, new environment.

In Loria's mind, new environment and new stadium are related.

Asked Thursday if it was a big step that big-name free agents have visited the Marlins, he was quick with his answer.

"I think all you have to do is go to Miami and look at the ballpark, and you wouldn't ask that," he said.

As for whether he thinks the Marlins will sign Reyes, Pujols or any of the others, Loria simply said: "I don't know, we'll wait and see."

Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:28 am

Brewers hope to extend Greinke, Marcum

MILWAUKEE -- For now, the Brewers are focused on shortstops, and on a certain big-money first baseman.

But don't be surprised if the biggest money they hand out this winter goes to one or more pitchers already on the roster.

According to sources familiar with the team's plans, the Brewers intend to pursue contract extensions with starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, both of whom would be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. The Brewers also plan to pursue long-term deals with some younger core players, including closer John Axford.

Greinke and Marcum were Milwaukee's two big acquisitions last winter, and the two contributed greatly to a 96-win season that gave the Brewers the National League Central crown.

It's very unlikely at this point that the Brewers will make any similarly high-profile acquisitions this winter, and even more unlikely that they'll re-sign free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder.

While the Brewers continue to talk to Fielder, they seem to have accepted the idea that he won't be back. And while they have talked to the agents for shortstops Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, Brewers people say that they don't expect to be a serious contender for either one.

It's very possible, in fact, that the Brewers could end up bringing back Yuniesky Betancourt, their 2011 shortstop. And while they have discussed signing someone to replace Fielder at first base (Carlos Pena, for example), general manager Doug Melvin has talked more about giving Mat Gamel a chance at the job.

Owner Mark Attanasio is highly competitive, and never shy about spending money.

But Attanasio said Wednesday that just because the Brewers have the money to make an offer to Fielder, it doesn't follow that they would spend that money elsewhere if (when?) Fielder leaves.

"How you manage your payroll has to be opportunity-driven," Attanasio said. "We're not going to just fill the payroll for the sake of filling the payroll."

Attanasio and Melvin both made the point that the Brewers expect to contend in 2012, even without Fielder. They point to a solid core that includes Ryan Braun (who signed a long-term deal early last season), and a rotation that will return intact.

"Doug and I never felt we were 'all-in' for last year," Attanasio said.

They'd rather not be all-in for 2012, either, but extending their window of opportunity past next year would be a lot easier if they can keep together the rotation led by Greinke, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo.

Signing Greinke and Marcum this winter would make perfect sense, if it's possible.

The Brewers intend to find out if it is.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 5:42 pm

The perfect fit for Tigers? It's Reyes

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.

Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:45 pm

Reyes: 'I need to find a way to stay healthy'

NEW YORK -- Twice in two months, Jose Reyes has gone on the disabled list with a hamstring problem.

"I need to find a way to stay on the field," the Mets shortstop said Monday.

Reyes reinjured his left hamstring Sunday, just three weeks after he returned from the DL and only a day after he finally had a game where he felt able to run at full strength. Reyes also spent time on the DL last year (with an oblique injury) and in 2009 (with a tear in his right hamstring tendon).

"It can happen to anybody," Reyes said. "People have to understand that I don't try to get injured. A lot of people pull hamstrings. But I need to find a way to stay healthy for a full season."

Reyes said this pull doesn't feel as severe as the last one, which sidelined him for 17 days. The Mets waited until Monday afternoon to officially put Reyes on the DL, but he didn't fight the decision.

The Mets also placed Daniel Murphy on the DL Monday, with a sprained MCL in his left knee, an injury that almost certainly ends his season. To replace Reyes and Murphy, the Mets recalled Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter from Triple-A Buffalo.

As of Monday, Reyes was leading the National League with a .336 batting average, while Murphy was fifth, at .320.

The Mets have struggled to find a position Murphy can play without hurting himself or the team, and manager Terry Collins suggested Monday that a move back to the outfield might be best. Murphy began the 2009 season as the Mets' starting left fielder, but he had so much trouble handling the position that he was moved back to the infield by the end of May.

Finding a position isn't a problem for Reyes, one of the game's top shortstops. But with Reyes on the DL, Collins said that Tejada will play regularly, in part so the team can judge whether he can handle the spot if Reyes leaves as a free agent.

The Mets would like to re-sign Reyes, and earlier this summer they tried to open negotiations with his agent, Peter Greenberg. But Reyes and Greenberg decided not to negotiate during the season.

Both said Monday that they had no regrets about that decision, even after two trips to the disabled list. And Reyes said he still doesn't want to talk contract until the season ends.

They are open to ideas about ways to keep Reyes healthier, although the shortstop rejected a suggestion that he try yoga.

"I did that one time, in 2004," Reyes said. "Not good. But I need to find something."

That something will not involve playing the game at less than 100 percent speed.

"I talked to Jose for 30 minutes, and I said I will never ask you to change the way you play," Collins said. "That's who he is. That's why he's a great player. That's why he's exciting."

But right now, he's hurt -- again.

Right now, he needs a way to stay on the field.

Category: MLB
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