For starters, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman trashes Monday’s published statement by Mets owner Fred Wilpon that free-agent-to-be Jose Reyes “wants Carl Crawford money”, noting there’s been no negotiation between the oft-injured shortstop and the Amazins’ since Sandy Alderson became GM (“now that Reyes is playing superbly — he’s batting .314 and has 17 stolen bases — Wilpon apparently imagines the worst”). The former Newsday scribe follows that by polling 5 unidentified MLB executives, wanting to know what Reyes might get over the winter. “No one knows where finances go when a dynamic player at a premium position hits the free-agent market,” writes Heyman, “but not one person mentioned Crawford’s deal. Or even came close to it.”
The guesses for Reyes were for three years for $45 million, four years for $60 million, five years for $80-to-90 million, “at least $100 million,” and six years and about $108 million. The person who suggested $80-to-90 million saw Torii Hunter and Adrian Beltre as the fair comps. That one and the two guesses in the nine-figure range may be the most realistic in that Reyes impacts both sides of the ball, is as exciting and energetic player as there is when healthy and free-agent shortstops like him just don’t often hit the market. Still, Crawford’s deal seems nothing short of pie-in-the-sky at this point.
The guesses may be hurt by the history of free-agent shortstops, as no one comparable besides past-his-prime Derek Jeter has hit the market in recent years. Rafael Furcal got $39 million over three years from the Dodgers after the 2005 season. The very upper echelon shortstops, such as the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki and the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez, have signed long-term deals with their original teams, as did the Yankees’ Jeter when in his prime. The other factor playing in Reyes’ favor is that several teams could use a shortstop, including the Giants, who have substantial money coming off the books, and perhaps even the rival Phillies if they fail to re-sign their own free-agent shortstop, Jimmy Rollins. Now wouldn’t that be something?
The best guesses are probably the three highest estimates, the ones either approaching or at nine figures, considering Reyes’ all-around skills. But still, none of those guesses comes close to Wilpon’s claim of a Crawford request.