Jose Reyes Rumors

Checking In On The Latest $100MM Contracts

Every year a few players join baseball’s exclusive $100MM club with free agent deals and mega-extensions. Last offseason was no different — eight players signed nine figure deals. The contracts were all for five years or more, so it’s far too early to call them successes or failures. As the season approaches its halfway point, let’s check in on baseball’s newest $100MM contracts:

  • Albert Pujols, ten-year, $240MM contract - Pujols had a painfully slow start, but he has raised his batting line to a respectable .270/.332/.461. His last 40 games have been legitimately Pujols-like: 11 home runs and an OPS over 1.000.
  • Joey Votto, ten-year, $225MM extension - It's impossible to have a complete discussion about baseball's best hitters without considering Votto. The 28-year-old leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and wOBA, so this deal couldn't be going any better for the Reds.
  • Prince Fielder, nine-year, $214MM contract - Fielder continues to hit at an All-Star level, though he has a relatively modest total of 12 home runs. Unfortunately for Tigers fans Mike Ilitch's bold investment hasn't been enough to keep the team above .500.
  • Matt Kemp, eight-year, $160MM extension - Hamstring issues have sidelined Kemp, who was the best hitter in the National League for the first month of the season.
  • C.C. Sabathia, five-year, $122MM extension - Sabathia, now on the disabled list with a strained groin, is in the midst of yet another tremendous season. He has a 3.45 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 107 innings.
  • Matt Cain, five-year, $112.5MM extension - Cain's enjoying his best season as a Major Leaguer. He has a career-best ERA (2.27), strikeout rate (9.0 K/9) and walk rate (1.9 BB/9) through 107 innings. The Giants' decision to invest in Cain still looks like a good one.
  • Jose Reyes, six-year, $106MM extension - Reyes' offensive numbers have dropped off across the board this year, no thanks to a 60 point dip in batting average on balls in play.
  • Ryan Zimmerman, six-year, $100MM extension - Zimmerman's off to a slow start at the plate despite two home runs in his past three games. He missed two weeks with shoulder soreness earlier in the year and has just a .235/.297/.350 batting line.

Quick Hits: Reyes, Napoli, Miller

Jared Hughes of the Pirates and Zach Putnam of the Rockies made history today as the 26th players on their teams' respective rosters for this afternoon's double-header. This was the first time teams carried extra players, now a possibility for select double-headers under the sport's new collective bargaining agreement. I believe the change makes sense for ownership, which reduces injury risk by adding depth, and players, who obtain additional service time and pay. On to today's links…

  • Jose Reyes says the Mets should keep David Wright in place long-term, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. “That’s good if they can bring David back, he’s a symbol of the game,’’ Reyes said.
  • Dan Szymborski of ESPN and Baseball Think Factory takes his readers on a tour of the worst trades in recent history. The Bartolo Colon trade and the Mark Teixeira trade top the list, but the Vernon WellsMike Napoli swap also makes an appearance.
  • Marvin Miller, the 95-year-old former leader of the MLB players association, says player salaries are reasonable when compared to the earnings of some CEOs, the Associated Press reports (via ESPN.com). Miller describes the current dynamic between owners and players as a win-win situation. "It is an amazing story how under those circumstances, there can be both management and labor really winning," Miller said.

NL East Notes: Reyes, Hamels, Lannan

Some NL East links for Thursday, as the Braves and Mets get their season started in New York…

  • Jose Reyes doesn't seem to be missing the Mets, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. It’d be hard to fault Reyes for enjoying his role on an exciting Marlins team and his $106MM contract.
  • Cole Hamels' track record is "a little better than [Matt] Cain's, so it does make things difficult," Phillies senior advisor Pat Gillick told Bob McCown and Damien Cox on Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 yesterday. The Phillies have some interest in locking Hamels up long-term, but Cain's $112.5MM extension complicated things earlier this week.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick that he had two "uncomfortable" conversations with John Lannan after telling the left-hander he was being optioned to the minor leagues (Twitter links). "If he was happy and took this laying down, it wouldn't be John Lannan," Rizzo said. "And you'd have to worry about that type of person.''
  • Rizzo said there's "mild" interest in Lannan, but manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals are "not trading him," Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Lannan has requested a trade.


Quick Hits: Willis, Marlins, Reyes, Dunn, Blue Jays

Here are some miscellaneous notes from around the league…


NL East Notes: Reyes, Utley, Vizcaino, Perez

Here's the latest from the NL East…

  • Jose Reyes told reporters (including WFUV's Amit Badlani) that he signed with the Marlins because of the team's potential to contend, not just because of the money, as recently stated by Marlins president David Samson.
  • Chase Utley's chronic right knee tendinitis "is not going away.  More than likely, it might never go away," says Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told reporters, including CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.  Utley has yet to play during Spring Training and the Phillies are known to be looking for infield depth for not only Utley, but also Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco.  Prospect Freddy Galvis has seen a lot of time at second this spring, and Manuel thinks he could potentially handle the position should Utley miss significant time during the season.
  • Braves right-hander Arodys Vizcaino will visit with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Vizcaino has been suffering from ulnar neuritis in his right elbow and could potentially face Tommy John surgery if Andrews feels the ailment is serious enough.  Vizcaino is one of Atlanta's several top-tier pitching prospects and was recently ranked as the 40th-best prospect in the sport by Baseball America.
  • The Nationals optioned Eury Perez to Double-A today but some front office officials think he could be eventually be their answer in center field, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington PostAdam Jones, B.J. Upton and Gerardo Parra are just a few of the many names that have been connected to Washington's search for a long-term center fielder.  The 21-year-old Perez is coming off a .283/.319/.321 season for Class A Potomac in 2011 but he turned a lot of heads with an impressive Spring Training performance.
  • For more Nationals news, check out this collection of Nats links from earlier today.

NL East Notes: Lannan, Samson, Reyes, Hamels

National League East teams averaged 84 wins last year, more than any division in baseball except the AL East. Here are some links from Florida, where NL East teams are preparing for the 2012 campaign…

  • Bill Ladson of MLB.com hears from one person who believes the Nationals will trade John Lannan before Opening Day. The Nationals might seek prospects for Lannan, a Spring Training trade candidate.
  • Marlins president David Samson recently said Miami's politicians are "not the intellectual cream of the crop," according to the business publication Miami Today. Samson suggested the population of Miami, which partially funded the Marlins' new stadium, is unintelligent. "We're not the smartest people in Miami," he said. His words are causing a stir, but he told the Miami Herald that he was "misquoted, misrepresented, mis-everything." UPDATE: Here's a clip of the comments. To my ear it does appear they were taken out of context.
  • Samson also said Jose Reyes was all about the money this offseason, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that Reyes would have considered a deal worth less than $106MM from the Mets and was shocked when New York didn't make him an offer. Reyes would have seriously considered a five-year deal if the Mets had offered one, Martino reports.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com asked three agents what Cole Hamels would obtain as a free agent after the season and heard guesses in the $150-175MM range. C.C. Sabathia’s seven-year, $161MM deal remains the record for pitchers, but Hamels could challenge it if he hits free agency after 2012.

Mets Notes: Wilpon, Reyes, Wright, Tejada

The Mets lowered payroll by approximately $50MM this offseason, while division rivals such as the Marlins and Nationals moved aggressively to acquire top talent. However, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon said his club could surprise some people in 2012. The details…

  • Wilpon said the team's finances are "OK" and that he intends to own the franchise "for a very long time," Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com writes. 
  • Wilpon made it clear that he and GM Sandy Alderson have some misgivings about offering long-term deals. “Are we a little leery of six-year, seven-year, eight-year contracts? Yes. Is Sandy leery of it? You bet. I'm big-time leery of it,” Wilpon said, after suggesting the Mets offered Jose Reyes a deal in the $100MM range.
  • One person familiar with the Mets' financial situation told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that a lot of things will have to go right for Wilpon and Saul Katz to remain in place as owners.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains that David Wright could become a trade candidate this July or after the season if he rebounds in 2012. Sherman draws a comparison between Wright and Ryan Zimmerman, a childhood teammate of Wright's who just signed a long-term deal with the Nationals. 
  • In a separate piece, Sherman wonders if the Mets would exercise Wright's $16MM option for 2013 if he falters this coming season. 
  • Sherman says it's unfair of Mets manager Terry Collins to criticize Ruben Tejada for not showing up to camp early.

Marlins Links: Gaby, Anibal, Reyes, Cespedes, Pudge

Here's the latest from South Beach…

  • Once Albert Pujols was off the market, the Marlins told Gaby Sanchez and his agent that rumors about Miami pursuing Prince Fielder were false and that the club wasn't looking for another first baseman, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  Sanchez said he wasn't offended that the Marlins were pursuing Pujols: "He's proven what he can do for 10 straight years. I still have so much time to go."
  • Anibal Sanchez told reporters (including MLB.com's David Villavicencio) says the Marlins haven't approached him about a contract extension but he'd be open to signing such a deal.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently examined Sanchez as an extension candidate.
  • Sanchez also didn't mind his recent arbitration hearing with the Marlins, where he won his case and earned an $8MM salary for 2012.  "I think everybody thought they were going to say a lot of things that were bad about me. But I didn't think they said anything bad or that I didn't know. It's part of the business," Sanchez said.
  • Jose Reyes understands that the Mets didn't have the finances to re-sign him, but he wished his former team would've at least made some kind of offer, reports Dan Martin of the New York Post.
  • The Marlins offered Yoenis Cespedes a six-year, $36MM contract, reports Frisaro.  The team wanted a six-year deal since they felt Cespedes would need minor league seasoning and didn't want to pay him a large salary if he'd be spending time in the minors.  Cespedes instead agreed to sign with the A's for $36MM over four years.   
  • With Cespedes gone, Frisaro says the Fish aren't expected to add any more players before Spring Training, though they could look for veteran starting pitching later in camp.  The Marlins aren't interested in Ivan Rodriguez for the backup catching job.

Quick Hits: Kubel, Chapman, Aoki, Cuddyer

On this day last year, the Padres traded Brandon Gomes, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, and Cole Figueroa to the Rays for Jason Bartlett and a player to be named later (though Tampa would eventually send cash instead). Here's some notes from around the league…

  • The Reds have had conversations with Jason Kubel, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (via Twitter).  GM Walt Jocketty told Fay (Twitter link) that the club does not have the type of money to sign someone to a Josh Willingham-type deal.
  • Even after trading for Mat Latos, Reds GM Walt Jocketty still plans on using Aroldis Chapman as a starter, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnatti Enquirer.  Jocketty did leave room for a change of heart, however, noting that things could change later on.
  • We should soon find out which team won the bidding for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • ESPN's Keith Law feels that the Rockies overpaid for Michael Cuddyer, who he considers to be a part-time player (ESPN Insider link). In Law's opinion, Colorado is receiving perhaps a one win upgrade over Seth Smith, but paying $7-8MM more than Smith would earn.
  • In that same piece, Law says that he likes the Twins' gamble on Josh Willingham better, but notes that he should be a DH rather than an outfielder and that the contract is still a gamble because Willingham showed signs of decline in 2011.
  • Willingham told MLB.com's Jane Lee that leaving the Athletics wasn't an easy decision, but GM Billy Beane was honest and up front about the fact that he could probably only offer a one-year deal through arbitration.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel provides some details on the heavily backloaded contracts that Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle received from the Marlins. Bell's vesting option triggers if he finishes 55 games in 2014, or a combined 100 between 2013-14. He and Buehrle both took signing bonuses deferred withiout interest, and all three have contractual obligations to donate to charity each season.
  • Law (via Twitter) prefers Aaron Cunningham to Cory Burns. The Indians acquired Cunningham from the Padres in exchange for Burns yesterday.

NL East Links: Oswalt, Davis, Cedeno, Cuddyer

Here's the latest from the National League East…