To have a prediction come to pass is a toast of fine champagne. This writer called it less than thirty days ago. And so it comes to pass that Jose Reyes has agreed to a six year deal with the upstart Miami Marlins. But along with the thrill of correct prognostication comes a sadness for New York Mets fans that their exciting and personable shortstop has indeed flown the coop.
These are heady and frightening days for those who follow the Miami Marlins in their first year under that designation. Fresh off of signing Heath Bell, the once frugal franchise has splurged in major fashion in the dugout, in the bullpen and now at shortstop. All this comes in anticipation of entering a brand new ballpark and a new season of intent. All the while this is happening under remembrances of years past when World Championships were bought and then disbanded and the threat of the federal government circles around the ballpark deal the Marlins allegedly swindled from the taxpayers of southern Florida.
The Mets, with legal problems of their own, lose their most bankable player, albeit one that has missed major chunks of time with physical mishaps. But still, Reyes was the smiling face of the other New York franchise and despite more injuries, Reyes showed the glory of his talent by winning the batting title and became the most valuable shortstop in baseball. The Mets must lick their wounds and with a talented front office begin the re-fabrication of their franchise. Think kindly of Mets fans tonight as this has to be a bitter day for them.
And so Jose Reyes is the new Marlin shortstop. What of their own once-highly-touted shortstop? Hanley Ramirez was the most valuable of commodities just a few short years ago when he challenged Albert Pujols for that title in the National League. Two years of whispers about his effort, his size and the stark reality of his performance lead to speculation. Ramirez has made it known that he considers himself the Marlins' shortstop. He's probably the only one left in that organization that thinks so. Will he fight the Marlins if they move him to third or the outfield? Should they trade him if he does? For this to be as effective a signing as it should be, Hanley Ramirez needs to embrace this and forget about where he plays and reestablish the offensive force he once was. If he can do that, the Marlins will get two great players in this deal instead of one. The ball will be in Ramirez's court.
As for Jose Reyes, congratulations on hitting the big time. Ah to be young and rich and living in south Florida! He got his big payday and now has a chance to change the power of the National League East. This deal could be the best thing to happen to the Marlins and their fans in a long, long time. That is, if Jose Reyes can stay healthy and get the most out of his abundant talent.