November 8th, 2011
According to SI.com’s MLB columnist Jon Heyman, the Brewers and Marlins are now among the leading contenders for the former Mets’ superstar shortstop.
“Sources indicate that Reyes tops the free-agent lists of the Marlins and Brewers, and other teams are likely to come into play, as well.”
Reyes, who will likely seek at least a new deal at or near 7-years this offseason, remains one of the most highly sought-after free-agents available of signing this winter, after Fielder and Albert Pujols, and will certainly command a considerably expensive contract this winter.
Last season, the speedy shortstop made $11 Million on his way to winning the NL batting title by just decimal points over Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. He also validated his worth by notching 7 HR, 44 RBI, 16 triples, .384 OBP and 39 stolen bases.
His defensive capabilities also make him a sublime addition for Milwaukee as they attempt to replace former shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt after a disastrous 2011 campaign with the Brewers.
In 2011, Reyes held his own in the field, maintaining a .968 FPCT and 4.32 range factor with New York. He also turned 75 double plays and committed 18 errors in 124 games played.
With each passing day, it’s becoming more likely that Milwaukee will be without Fielder next season and beyond. He is reportedly “aiming to beat Mark Teixeira’s $180 Million, eight-year deal”, and there’s a good chance his new paycheck could be coming from Theo Epstein and the Cubs.
Outside of Reyes, the free-agent market is essentially void of any shortstop options for Melvin to act on. That said, there’s a serious chance Milwaukee pulls the trigger on Reyes this winter. Only time will tell if a deal comes to fruition.
While the prominent 2012 MLB Free Agent class begins and ends with Albert Pujols, there’s no doubting that former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder is the hottest property up for grabs this winter. Speculation regarding which teams have the “best shot” at signing the youngster have come at no shortage. The Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers have propagated the most noteworthy headlines up to this point.
However, what other teams could be in the mix for the 27-year-old slugger? Here are five teams that could come out of nowhere to nab Fielder this offseason.
New York Mets
Conventional wisdom tells us the Mets should be spending their money elsewhere (Jose Reyes), but you’d be surprised to know they may have a chance at snatching Fielder this winter.
Rumors suggest New York may not be able to afford their speedy shortstop this offseason, which opens up the door for many other free-agent possibilities. With the contracts of Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and possibly even David Wright (via trade) coming off the books this winter, there should be a large chunk of change ready at New York’s disposal — no matter how financially impaired they may be.
What’s more, even Cecil Fielder agrees the Mets have a shot at his son.
The Miami Marlins will be ushering in a whole new direction with the opening of their brand new stadium and team name change next season. They may be on the verge of signing some top-tier talent, as well. Finishing dead last in the NL East last season, the Marlins finished in the bottom-half of all MLB clubs in runs (625), HR (149), RBI (596), OBP (.318) and extra-base hits (453). If there was a team in more need of offensive production in 2011, it was the Fish.
However, with the hiring of longtime White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen last month, and an already talented group of young players headlined by Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Josh Johnson in place, signing Fielder certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels have been considered challengers for Fielder for quite some time, but with the Rangers’ recent World Series-woes, they’ve been a bit overshadowed for the past few weeks.
Truthfully, there may be no better fit for Fielder than in Mike Scioscia’s clubhouse. The club is already one of the better hitting ball-clubs in MLB, and they should have the money for a long-term contract Fielder is seeking. With young Mark Trumbo holding down the fort at first base with great efficiency and Bobby Abreu on the trading block, Fielder should make a smooth transition to designated hitter.
Toronto Blue Jays
While this is hands-down the biggest stretch featured in our list, there’s simply no denying the appeal.
Over the years, the Blue Jays have been more well known to ship away top talent rather than fetch it, which probably makes this signing a bit of a pipe-dream. However, with their offensive juggernaut comprised of Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia, GM Alex Anthropoulos would be wise to relish the opportunity at hand with Fielder now open for signing. Granted, they may not have deep pockets like that of the Nationals and Cubs, but they do have more than enough tempting talent for Fielder to recognize.
St. Louis Cardinals
Up to this point, speculation says Albert Pujols should be able and willing to re-sign with the Cardinals this offseason, even though he’s publicly denied such inquiry. However, what happens if he in fact chooses to leave and sign with a team such as the Cubs? St. Louis’ next-best option would be Fielder, and you can’ count on them pursuing the burly vegetarian.
It seems like a hundred-to-one shot at best, but if the opportunity and need presents itself, it certainly wouldn’t be out of the question for the Cardinals to snatch Fielder this winter.