Giants Should Have Been More Aggressive In Pursuit of Jose Reyes

As you likely know by now the Miami Marlins signed Jose Reyes to be their shortstop. Reyes, was never seriously thought to be on the Giants radar, despite the fact that he is a fantastic shortstop, a position that was a black hole last year, and has game changing speed, something else that the Giants lacked.

The main reason, the Giants were never linked to Reyes was because the Giants likely weren’t going to raise payroll enough to make him fit. However, I suggested that if the Giants backload the contract like the Nationals did with Jayson Werth, then he could have fit into the payroll. What happened? Well the Marlins really backloaded the contract as Reyes will be making slightly more than Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt next year. While a long term contract and Reyes’ injury history may prove to be risky, the Giants window of opportunity is fairly limited given that Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are near the end of their contracts and are getting expensive. Combine that with a weak farm system and it’s tough to see where the future offensive upside will come from as well as the volatility of all pitchers. The Giants should have been aggressive and attempted to add one of the most exciting players and best fits for the team to help them get closer to making another playoff appearance. Instead they basically were just treading water.

While I am not surprised, but I am disappointed. And with the Angel Pagan trade, making the outfield “set” there is basically no chance that Carlos Beltran returns, despite his market being slow to develop. Really the Giants have had opportunities to improve the offense this offseason, but the combination of their payroll limitations and trade targets have led them to acquire guys with modest upsides who aren’t clear upgrades over the in house options. Combine that with the way they handled their top offensive prospect last year and this offseason looks very underwhelming.


21 thoughts on “Giants Should Have Been More Aggressive In Pursuit of Jose Reyes

  1. Giants will need to give out big money, not just to Timmy and Cainer, but to Bumgarner, Posey and Sandoval within the next 6 years. A big, backloaded contract with Reyes might well jeopardize that. Maybe Reyes will still be cranking out 6 WAR seasons in 2016. We’ll see. I don’t think it’s a given that they should have signed Reyes though.

    I object to the offhanded comment about a “weak” farm system. Belt may have “graduated” but for all practical purposes is still very much a prospect. Brown and Panik appear to be good bets to be solid starters within the next 2 years. Hembree is a potential future closer. Joseph is a monster in the making and may well allow Posey to move off catcher if Hector Sanchez doesn’t beat him to it.

    Hector Correa, Roger Kieschnick, Francisco Peguero, Charlie Culberson and Chris Dominguez are all likely to be in Fresno. Look for more than one of them to contribute in 2012 and more than one to break out at Fresno.

    It may not have Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner at the top like a couple of years ago, but it’s still a good solid system with a good steady flow of talent.

    • It may not be Orioles or Cubs bad, but it’s got to be a bottom third tier system. Maybe with Wheeler still in the mix it would slide closer to the middle of the pack. It’s not a good sign when your late first round pick and sandwich pick of the most recent draft slide so easily into your orgs top 10. Not to mention the 2010 late first rounder sitting at the top. Seems like Crick already assumed the position of top power arm starter. The top starter prospect, Surkamp looks like Kirk Reuter redux. Joseph and Peguero still have a lot of work to do with zone recognition and taking walks.

      I think the strength of the system is depth in key areas with prospects that have a strong likelyhood of contributing in the big leagues. The ceilings aren’t incredibly high, but there does appear to be value in key positions, especially catcher and middle infield.

    • I feel like the Giants window of opportunity is now but it’s also fairly limited and Reyes has the best chance of maximizing it. Also, while I think the farm system has some intriguing pieces, there is only one consensus top prospect (Brown) and even he has some question marks

      • Brown will be only consensus top 50. Surkamp probably crack some 100’s. Joseph and Panik can be entertained as top 100 as well.

      • The Giants have one of the best young homegrown cores in the game. A big part of the reason why they didn’t pursue Reyes or other expensive FA’s is so they could afford to keep that core intact. There are several more homegrown players who should be added to that core over the next two years. Big contracts will be coming off the books over the next 2 years.

        The Giants’ window is absolutely not about to close. They are as well positioned for the future as any team in baseball!

      • I do agree with this sentiment. They are allocating funds for the future. The same cannot be said about the Phillies. Or the Angels.

        However, beware of the Diamondbacks. Their farm is stacked with arms!

      • Beware the Diamondbacks for sure. And the Braves. I think the Giants are creeping up towards the middle of the pack in farm systems, its hard to build and maintain depth sometimes. The throw ins like Verdugo bug me in that regard, even if he doesn’t become a full time starter, he has loogy potential as well. But sometimes you have to feed the fire.

      • They are as well positioned for the future as any team in baseball!

        I wholeheartedly disagree. You think they’re in as good a position as the Texas Rangers? The New York Yankees?

        One reason, the one you yourself point to, is that they have $41MM devoted to Rowand/Zito/Huff in 2012, $22MM in 2013, and Zito has the $7MM buyout in ’14.

        As much as I like the farm system, it’s worse than the majority of systems in MLB. Belt/Sandoval/Posey is a nice core, and I think they can maintain quality pitching. But the offense is bad, and they’re still saddled with albatrosses in the near future. They desperately need to improve their offense, and a backloaded Jose Reyes contract would have allowed them to a) improve their offense (duh), and b) given them the flexibility to keep payroll at a reasonable level.

        What do you think SF is right now — an 85 win team? As of now, I don’t have much confidence in their ability to make the postseason. I’d definitely peg their odds at less than 50% for the time being, which is disappointingly low.

      • Everybody stays healthy? The Giants are at least a 90-92 win team. I believe Hardball Times OLIVER has them at 94 wins and the best record in baseball. The pitching is still there. Pagan and Cabrera are upgrades, marginal maybe, but upgrades. Posey will be back. Huff will either bounce back or be replaced by Belt. Not as sanguine about Freddy Sanchez, but hopefully he’s healthy again too. The offense is definitely better than last year. It doesn’t need to be great.

        You realize that we are only 1 season away from 2013, right? I don’t know what your definition of the future is. Maybe it’s just because I’ve lived a lot longer than you, but my definition goes way beyond the next 2 seasons. Looking ahead to the rest of the decade, the Giants are as well positioned for the future as any team in baseball. Yes, that includes the Rangers and the Yankees. Do you have any idea what the Rangers are going to do for pitching? The Yankees are aging fast and not spending money like drunken sailors any more. The Yankees desperately need a good LH starter. Did you see them making any kind of a run at CJ Wilson?

      • When I say “future,” I mean within the next five years. Way too much can happen over a decade — it’s not even worth projecting that far, IMO. It’s hard to argue against the Rangers as the top org in baseball right now: probably a top-five farm system (though I’m admittedly not that knowledgeable when it comes to TEX’s system), and they’ve been to the WS in back-to-back seasons. They have the talent to remain competitive for the next five seasons.

      • OK, I would say the Giants are in good shape for 2012 and 2013 and in great shape for 2014, 2015 and 2016. That’s 5 years and they are as well positioned for at least 3 of them as anybody in baseball and I’m not writing them off at all for the other 2.

        They will still have their current homegrown core plus, at minimum, Belt, Brown and Panik added to the mix, maybe more.

        Rangers farm system is not what is used to be. Josh Hamilton is not likely to age well. Nelson Cruz was already getting older when he broke in. Their pitching core is shaky at best and certainly not close to what the Giants have.

  2. So we’re down to budgetball and Rule 5s and the like. While Reyes is a very exciting player, I think the injury risk and danger of backloading a contract outweighed the immediate gain of plugging Jose into the top of the order.

    So now they are down to the small stuff, but the big stuff looms. I don’t want to read a headline The Giants Should Have Been More Aggressive In Pursuit of Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum.

    They need to get after this and get it done.

    • I think the injury risk and danger of backloading a contract outweighed the immediate gain of plugging Jose into the top of the order.

      I can’t say that I agree with that. Even with the injury risk, there’s a very good chance Reyes earns that money, and he’s even got a solid shot at outperforming his contract. A risk worth taking a shot at, given the Giants’ current position. As far as I know, the Giants made no legitimate pursuit after Reyes whatsoever.

      • I understand your point, I just don’t agree. The injury risk is too great. I expect him to start at 120 games almost immediately with big concessions to his SBs and 3Bs. Then I expect him to crash from there, including the batting avg and the obp. My opinion, we’ll see how it plays out.

        Now if it was Robbie Cano hitting FA right now instead of Reyes, I would be in complete agreement with you as far as the FA lack of effort. And the main point was lets see some money thrown at our home grown pitching already.

      • Unfortunately yes. But Cano is the type of player to go hog wild over, not no-heart Reyes. McCutchen is another.

  3. The big problem for me, is if seriously pursuing Beltran in free agency was never an option, why even trade for him?

    I have to think that one of two things* happened here:

    (1) Sabean thought he was going to get the budget increase he needed to resign Beltran (or maybe even Reyes), but ownership changed their minds. Heck, I’m not sure on the timing, but maybe Beltran was acquired when Nuekom was still in charge. The change in ownership leadership might have interfered with the plan to re-sign Beltran.

    (2) Beltran, even though still unsigned, wants more way more than anyone expected. Maybe Sabean thought he could be resigned for around $10-12 million, but Beltran wants $17 million +.

    *I realize both these options may give Sabean more credit than is due.

    • The market for Beltran seems soft. Teams don’t appear to be interested in signing an older player with an injury history to a long term deal (Pujols deal aside). So it does seem strange that the Giants decided to close the Beltran door before it was really established what the market for him would be. What if he wants 3 years and $30M, but will settle for 2 and $25? The player’s actual wants and what the market will pay him are two different things sometimes.

      So I think you’re right that something must have changed between the trade deadline and now.

      • I think the Rangers will sneak in on him now that they’re in an arms race – Hamilton and Cruz are injured every year.

        An underrated part of the Beltran equation might be his baserunning – he doesn’t steal bags anymore, and every time he takes off from 1st to 3rd the Giants might be holding their breath, I know Gints fans would be. The guys acquired may not hit as well but they do run the bases well, and can steal bags.

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