Right call not going after Reyes


One team has already eliminated themselves from the Jose Reyes sweepstakes.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced to New York Daily News baseball writer Bill Madden few days ago that his team has no interest in signing Reyes. He feels Ian Desmond is capable enough to play at shortstop.

Now, he could change his mind, but don’t bet on it. Reyes is going to cost a lot of money, and with the Nationals feeling buyer’s remorse in signing Jayson Werth, they are going to be cautious on how they are going to spend on players.

This is the right move to make in not going after Reyes. As great as he is as a player, he gets hurt often and in recent years he has been a fixture on the disabled list. That’s why the Mets are lukewarm in bringing their star player back. It’s why no team wants to get in on the bidding for his services.

It would be a foolish to allocate all of that money for a player that is injury-prone. This type of move can cripple a franchise. It’s the last thing the Nationals need to do, especially when they need to use that money to resign Ryan Zimmerman and eventually Stephen Strasburg.

Plus, signing a unreliable guy to a long-term contract can cripple a franchise by preventing them from making additional moves. Just ask the Twins. They signed Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer to expensive extensions, and neither of them have lived up to it since they have been injury-prone. It’s a move the Nationals can’t afford to make.

Maybe Reyes miraculously become healthy and lives up to the contract with the Marlins if he signs with them. If he does, that’s great for him and his team. Don’t bet on it, though. His body is too brittle to deal with the aches and bruises, especially for a player that needs to rely on his speed and his body to steal bases and make acrobatic catches. If he all of sudden starts playing tentatively, he becomes useless.

Besides, Desmond will be a good player. He has the making to be one, at least. He can hit and he can field. He and Danny Espinosa did a good job of forming double plays this year. He also stole career-high 25 bases. This year was the first time he put a good season together.

Now, Desmond has been frustrating at times. When he throws to first, it seems he is way off. Sometimes, he can’t get the basic play right.  He went through slumps during the summer. That’s okay. He is learning. It will take time until he finally gets it.

He is not going to be Reyes. He does not have that natural ability where the games come easy for him. He can’t extend singles into doubles. He can’t beat a throw to first as often. He is who he is.

One thing Desmond has going over Reyes is that he doesn’t get hurt, and that matters to teams. The last thing a manager needs is to start wondering when his player is going to get hurt, and when something wrong is going to happen. All he should be thinking about is when he is going to make something happen.

The Nationals should use that money for signing Prince Fielder. Now, that would get people talking. What that team needs is a hitter that will protect Zimmerman. Anytime, a team features two guys that can hit home runs, that can be a difference maker. The former Brewers slugger is going to be expensive, but he’s worth it. They should have saved up Werth’s salary to sign the Brewers first baseman this year. Now, they may have a hard time getting him. It will be interesting how that unfolds. Rizzo hasn’t given up on signing Fielder, so that may be encouraging.

Apparently, not signing Reyes hasn’t gotten Nationals fans in a tizzy. That’s a good thing. They probably know what they got in Desmond.

It is a good bet the Marlins will sign Reyes. They want to get fans to come to their new stadium in April, and they want to show their fans that it won’t be business as usual, where they aren’t going to be cheap anymore. Good for them. Reyes will likely accept it since it’s the last lucrative contract he will ever get from some team.

It shouldn’t mean the Nationals react to what other team is doing. That’s not a way to run a team. Let Reyes be the Marlins’ problem, especially when he is on the disabled list come June.

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