Marlins, Jose Reyes agree to terms on six-year, $102 million deal
MIAMI — Move over (to third base), Hanley Ramirez.
As long as he passes a routine physical, Jose Reyes will become the Miami Marlins’ new shortstop.
Reyes and the Marlins agreed to terms on a six-year deal that will reportedly pay him $102 million, the largest contract the Marlins have ever given to a player.
"Done deal," said a source with knowledge of the agreement.
Reyes, the National League batting champ last season with a .337 average with the Mets, agreed to join the Marlins after the team sweetened their initial offer to an amount he couldn’t refuse.
The Marlins have been courting Reyes since one minute after midnight on Nov. 3, the first time free agents could start talking to other teams.
With Reyes moving to South Florida and joining the Marlins in time for the opening of their new ballpark, incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez will move to third base, albeit reluctantly. Sources have said that Ramirez is not thrilled with the move.
But the Marlins have no intention of trading Ramirez.
Reyes’ contract includes a seventh-year team option with a buyout of $4 million, a source said.
Reyes has had a history of leg problems, which have made him a frequent visitor to the disabled list. But the Marlins are confident that Reyes can be the player who appeared in no fewer than 153 games for the Mets from 2005-08. Reyes played in 126 games last season.
The agreement comes one day before the start of the winter meetings, where the Marlins are expected to officially announce the signing of closer Heath Bell to a three-year, $27 million contract. And the Marlins aren’t done yet.
They’re expected to continue adding players and raising total payroll to close to $100 million next season, a source said.
Starting pitching could be the team’s next focus.The problem is that the market for starters is both thin and pricy – in many cases, outlandishly so – and extremely competitive. Most contending teams are looking for starting help.
"It’s tough to trade for starting pitching and it’s tough to sign," said Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations for the Marlins. "I would say it’s the toughest area to secure."