Outbid By Small Market?

I can’t help myself from regurgitating this question originally posted on ESPN-NY, in regard to the possibility of Jose Reyes being signed by the Miami Marlins:

Mets fans, how do you feel about the prospect of seeing Reyes come back to Queens in a garish Miami uniform? Can a New York team ever justify losing a star player to a team from a smaller market, and what, if anything, should be done about it?

Emphasis mine.

OK, that question has made me a little verklempt … so, discuss amongst yourselves in the comments …

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Vance November 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm
    I’ll use Jayson Werth as my prime example — sometimes teams are willing to spend much more than anyone else so they look more “legitimate” to fans and perhaps to other potential free agents.

    You could argue the Mets did this with Pedro and with Carlos Beltran.

    Miami has won two championships, then sold everyone worth selling the following season. They’ve done that *twice*.

    They are moving into a new area and a new stadium … even their new craptastic uniforms. They desperately want a new image. Getting an absolute stud latino star in Miami, especially from a division rival, should add boatloads of fans to the gates.

    The Mets’ attendance has been dropping, but routinely getting less than 10,000 fans a game doesn’t happen in NYC.

    Miami might value Reyes $3 million a year more than anyone else values him based on potential gate receipts.

    For all his studliness, Hanley Ramirez is a bit of a d**che. Reyes is much more photogenic. He could be the face of the Miami Marlins for a few years. That’s a lot of merchandise in addition to the attendance boost.

    Generically speaking, being outbid by a smaller market team might get under my skin, but; in this case; meh.

  2. james greenleaf November 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm
    It seems to be that the decision to sign a player should be based on a cost/benefit basis, and not whether the opposing bidder is from a large or small market. With Reyes, as much as I love him as a ballplayer, the question remains length of contract, i.e. durability, and it seems to me that 6 years is far too long to pay him as a premium ballplayer.
    • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 12:52 am
      I agree, it is cost/benefit. The question is how do you define cost/benefit. And also, what you perceive / project for revenues going forward.

      Assuming the Mets stink for the next four years because they won’t pony up the dollars for a contender, then sure, I agree, the cost/benefit of signing Reyes doesn’t make sense.

      On the other hand, if you perceive Reyes to be the type of player who can generate revenue, and be part of a winning team that can generate even more revenue, then I believe there is a much different cost/benefit analysis.

      The Wilpons are broke, they can’t pay premium talent like Reyes, therefore the Mets will stink for the next several years, therefore it makes sense to let Reyes move on.


  3. Timo November 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm
    6 years @ 90 mil is only 15/year. The Mets could afford him at that price. Once you go into the 20 mil, that is pricey for Reyes. However, my biggest concern now is whether we’ll get 2 draft picks for him if we offer arbitration. I heard in the new collective agreement they are getting rid of losing first round picks. However, players like Reyes would earn you a 2nd round compensation like Type B free agents do now.
    • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 1:04 am
      Timo you bring up a good point. I’m not clear on the new CBA, but even going by the old rules, if the Marlins sign Reyes then the Mets don’t even get their #1 pick — only a sandwich pick.

      Yeah, one time a sandwich pick turned into David Wright — but what’s the chance of that happening again?

      This is a travesty on the level of the Tom Seaver trade. And you know what? At this point I’d be ecstatic if I knew the Mets would get players equal to Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Pat Zachry, and Dan Norman — but we’ll be lucky if they get even one player at the level of Hendu.

  4. MikeT November 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm
    You know the Marlins have offered Albert Pujols 25 million for 9 seasons, right? http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AiWlnZiBTYhSe7UCGqxKUqE5nYcB?slug=ti-brown_hardball_verlander_cy_young_111511

    ..at the bottom. Seems really unofficial, but my point is that they are clearly interested in Pujols too, and will attempt to sign Fielder as well. They clearly want to spend money, regardless of the size of their market. Joe, I think you have issues with sizes of things and are mad that the Mets are not the biggest. Let the Marlins spend all that dough, it won’t win them a championship, or create a sustainable product when they inevitably have to cut payroll and trade away stars. I really don’t feel anything other than happiness that a rival team would grossly overpay for anyone, even someone like Pujols or Reyes. It is not sustainable.

    • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 12:57 am
      I’m curious: do you live in Middle America?

      I live directly across from Manhattan — the media capital of the world and the city that has virtually limitless opportunity, particularly in regard to making money. That said, a Major League Baseball team residing within the boundaries of the New York-Metropolitan area has enormous revenue potential — especially if said team owns their own cable network.

      Therefore I don’t understand your argument whatsoever. It IS the size of the market, because the size of the market is directly correlated to the size of the revenue potential and in turn directly correlated to the size of the budget allocated to payroll. If the Mets are not making enough money to afford a homegrown superstar such as Jose Reyes, then ownership needs to sell the team to capable business people who understand and can leverage the most prolific market in the world.

  5. argonbunnies November 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm
    Marlins can spend more than the Mets right now because they have three of the best 3rd-year hitters in the game (Stanton, Sanchez, Morrison) and signed a legit ace (Johnson) to a cheap deal ($12mil/yr). I also don’t think Anibal Sanchez is making big bucks yet. They’re where every rebuilding team wants to be — a .500 team with a few stars for no money. That means that when you do spend money, you will be way, way over .500.

    The Mets, on the other hand, are a .500 team for lots of money. To solve that with more spending, you have to be the Yankees.

  6. gary s. November 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    My first reaction was why would he want to join a team with a worse record than the Mets.I understand that Miami and the spanish community is a good fit for him, but after 1 playoff appearance in 9 years, i would think that winning woud factor into the equation and he would take less to play for a playoff team.By the looks of things it’s money first and winning second for JR if he signs with Myhammy, er i mean Miami.(sorry folks, could not resist)
    • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 1:00 am
      Gary you are looking at the past instead of the future. In 2012 the Miami Marlins will finish ahead of the Mets. They’ll likely finish ahead of the Flushing Futiles in ’13, ’14, and ’15, as well.

      So I don’t think your theory re: winning holds water.

      Though … do you disagree? Do you think the Mets will finish higher than the basement in any of the next three years?

      • MikeT November 17, 2011 at 10:59 am
        “They’ll likely finish ahead of the Flushing Futiles in ’13, ’14, and ’15, as well.”

        So you have absolutely no faith in a rebuilding effort and really only believe the Mets can win unless they spend money now?

        I believe that they should and will spend money, but now is not the time unless it is Reyes. I want the Mets to spend money on Reyes, and they have about 20mil/per to do it, but they are not sure spending 20/per on Reyes is going to make them better next year. Being better equals revenue. the Mets could instead spend 20 mil on short term relievers and pitchers with a few role players and end up being better in 2012 than if they just got Reyes.

        More importantly I know that giving a big contract to a starting pitcher is absolutely not going to win you a championship or give you sustained success. You have to develop pitching to win. And that is why I think all spare resources should be going to player development and scouting to help find and build great starting pitching. It is the only guaranteed way to succeed.

        So sign Reyes, and sell him on 2013 when the team will push for a wild card (since there will be two). Revenue will take care of itself.

        • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm
          << “They’ll likely finish ahead of the Flushing Futiles in ’13, ’14, and ’15, as well.” So you have absolutely no faith in a rebuilding effort and really only believe the Mets can win unless they spend money now? >>

          Your question is a contradiction. A “rebuilding effort” takes a MINIMUM of 3-4 years — especially for a team like the Mets that has nothing of substance on the farm. Example: the KC Royals, who experts said in the spring of 2011 was about 2-3 years away from contention — and they had legit youthful talent to build around already at the Major League level. Who do the Mets have? Ruben Tejada? Josh Thole? Nice players, but not cornerstones. There are no Goodens or Strawberrys to ignite a quick turnaround here, so it’s going to take a while.

          So, yeah, I don’t think it’s possible for the Mets to play meaningful September games without spending money right now.

          Now my question to you: what is so wrong with the Mets spending money? This team has enormous revenue and even more revenue potential — why should we fans have to suffer through extended losing just because ownership is inept at money management? Why can’t Bud Selig force the Wilpons to sell the team, as he did in LA?

        • MikeT November 18, 2011 at 11:54 am
          Two things Joe: given the Mets revenue stream I think a rebuilding effort will not take nearly as long. Once the the Mets develop talent, they will be able to keep them long term where as unless KC has everything go right all at once, they don’t have the luxury of waiting around for everything to fall in to place. Besides, despite what you believe, I believe there is good talent in this organization. They seem like at the very least in a few years there will be so much depth that they will have pieces to move or can move pieces to make way for newer cheaper roll players. Yes they are lacking in stars, but as the Beltran deal showed, locking up a free agent hitter is not nearly as much of a crap shoot. I believe the Mets will find the offense they need once they need it, but the pitching must come from within. Save your money now…

          There is nothing wrong with spending money. I’d advocate it if I thought there was someone worth the price. Reyes is the only guy I see living up to his contract nearly all of the way through. I believe Pujols will become mortal, Fielder will break down, and no starting pitcher is worth a multi-year contract. Maybe next year I’ll advocate more.

      • gary s. November 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm
        Joe, Maybe Alderson is a Seinfled fan and he is channeling the famous episode wher Costanza realiizes if everything he always has done in his life is wrong, than doing everything the opposite way in the future would get him everything he wants..
  7. argonbunnies November 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    I assume Jose’s destination will be all about the money, but I don’t think I can really hold that against him. He grew up playing baseball on a field of rocks with a milk carton for a glove. Who knows how many friends and family he has in similar situations? This will be the biggest payday in any of their lives, and I’d be shocked if he didn’t maximize it.
    • Joe November 17, 2011 at 11:47 am
      Yes, I don’t begrudge him either & was also not impressed by the people so upset at him for playing it safe on the final day since he wanted to win the batting championship. As if many of the moralizers would have acted any differently.

      I don’t see any refutation of your other comment that sometimes a small market team has the resources, especially when dealing with ONE PLAYER, to outbid a big market team.

      In the long run, the small market team also has consequences, such as Marlins twice having fire sales.

  8. Jimmy Prinzler November 16, 2011 at 9:34 pm
    Mets have already asked Reyes to come back to Flushing to hear Mets offer when he’s done browsing in FA market, which it is a plus IMO. I honestly think Mets can beat Miami’s offer with few millions more. Mets can offer Reyes 6-95M and I have no idea if Marlins would go for 6-100M for Reyes if they’re offering Big Al big bucks to land him in South Beach. It should be interesting for Mets to make an offer for Reyes.
    • izzy November 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm
      In my mind Jimmy thats a very crappy way to run a business Jose has no obligation to come back to Alderson and master Fred to give them a lastchance. They are total snobs sitting on thier butts doing nothing. He gets an offer he likes why would he crawl back to these clowns? And to Joe We are a small market team. The small market team in the biggest city in America.
      • Gary S. November 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm
        I will buy everybody dinner if these cheapskates offer JR 6 years and 100 million.No way that is happening.The worst play with a free agent is to keep him in his walk year and get nothing for him when he leaves.Good work Mr. Alderson
      • Vance November 17, 2011 at 3:19 am
        Not bidding against yourself is a very *non*crappy way to run a business.

        – Mets are a large market team.
        – He’s played here for almost a decade.
        – Fan base adores him in spite of his extensive injury history.

        Alderson will have plenty of opportunity to counter any offer.

        • Joe Janish November 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm
          This isn’t Oliver Perez, it’s Jose Reyes.

          But you’re right: Alderson will have plenty of opportunity to come up with a very intelligent reason not to counter any offer. That’s his job, after all — to make everything the Mets do to sound “smart” and therefore present everyone else as stupid.

          The 2011 Mets are the smartest team to ever finish second to last.

  9. marathonmet November 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm
    Can a New York team ever justify losing a star player to a team from a smaller market?

    The answer is yes, it can be justified.

    For example, if a smaller market team pays in excess for the star player. Can that happen: yes. Are the Miami Marlins going to pay in exceso to get Jose Reyes: we don’t know yet.

    In profesional sports, at least two concepts determine potencial payroll: market size and competition success. You don’t have to look to far to see the difference between the Mets and the Yankees anual atendance: same market, different success history.

    My point is, that although the Mets play in NY, thats not enough to keep the income coming from attendance, sponcers and merchandising. You need a winning team in order to accomplish that.

    Will signing Jose Reyes make the Mets a winning team? You know better than I do, that not neccesarily. Yes, they will be a better team, and yes, they will be closer to becoming a winning team with Jose Reyes, rather than without.

    But what is the price to pay? In the end, its a value estimate by our “smart” front office. In my opinon, I think Jose will stay in NY.

  10. MarathonMet November 23, 2011 at 8:20 am
    I just want to add to my previous post.

    As I said before, the issue for the Mets is to become a winning team. Does spending 20 mmus$ a year on Reyes fit into the plan? How should the front office go about their task? Thats a good question.

    In the case of Miami, they seem to have a pretty good team and Reyes just might be one of the final links they need to get into contention.

    On the other hand, is Miami such a small market that it prevents the Marlins from spending 20 mm on Reyes? I don’t think so.