Last year the Washington Nationals surprised everybody by signing Free Agent OF Jayson Werth to a 7 year $126 Million contract. While Werth had a disappointing debut in Washington, the Nationals front office did do a good job of structuring his contract in a unique way that could have benefitted the Giants with Reyes.
In the offseason, the common refrain was that the Giants couldn’t afford to add a $15 Million plus player into the payroll. Whether that is true or not-and the use of couldn’t versus wouldn’t is certainly debateable-the common theme was that the Giants payroll wasn’t expected to climb that much higher than it was last year. This would seemingly put them out of the market for Reyes-as well as guys like Jimmy Rollins. However, had the Giants staggered the contract like the Nationals did with Werth’s, they could’ve found away to add arguably the most exciting player in the game to the top of their lineup. That is because last year Jayson Werth made just $10 million and next year will make $13 million before increasing to $16 million in 2013 and $20 million or higher through 2017.
If the Giants had done this with Reyes, paying him above average, but not elite money until the albatrosses of Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito are off the books, and then increasing his salary, the Giants could have potentially found a way to substantially improve their team without dipping too far into Larry Baer and Co’s rainy day fund.