Monday, December 5, 2011

The Problem with the Marlins' 6-Year, $106 Million Contract for Jose Reyes

Upon learning today that the Miami Marlin's signed former NY Mets' shortstop Jose Reyes to a 6-year, $106 million contract DBSF immediately had three concerns. First, there's the 'years' issue. Ideally, a team would've given Reyes 3-4 years (rumor has it that the Mets offered $80 million over 5 years). Although Reyes is only 28, his primary offensive commodity is his speed. (Interestingly, the difference in steals for Carl Crawford--another speedster--from age 28 to 29 was a decrease of a mere 72 stolen bases). Considering the inverse relationship that exists between time (after the age of 26) and speed--in combination with the fact that a history of lower body injury and general impairment magnifies the difference--Reyes' worth as an offensive commodity could be waning. In a worst case scenario and depending upon the structure of annual payments, in the final two or three years the Marlin's could get stuck with a Tim Thomas/ Anfernee Hardawayesque contract where the organization essentially pays an individual eight-figures in post-tax income to stay at home.

The second issue is the dollar amount. Reyes has missed 191 games, or almost 40%, over the last three seasons. He would have to play ten more games a season to get to the point that he plays in two-thirds of his team's games. Assuming this happens that means he actually received a 4-year $106 million contract. Paying over $25 million per year for a career .290, aging shortstop with a history of attitude and effort issues, who is essentially getting rewarded for an exceptionally strong contract-year April to June 2011 is kinda contemporary Carl Crawford'ish. Finally, and intimately related to reasons one and two--nobody goes to Florida/ Miami Marlin's games. Because the collapse in the housing market proved so deleterious to South Florida's economy and because the Marlin's play in a state where fan's have exhibited minimum interest in an organization save those instances when the team won World Series on MLS-caliber payrolls, one must wonder where new owner Jeffrey Loria will get the revenue to cover Reyes' contract. If the Marlin's land Albert Pujols, who they are supposedly pursuing, in the quarter-billion dollar range (he already turned down a $198 million contract from the Cardinals) that means that at some point in the next few years the Marlin's could have high-eight figures tied up in just five players (i.e., Reyes, Ramirez, Bell, Johnson, and Pujols, maybe).

1 comment: