I've been criticized for criticizing many of the teams recent moves. The crux of my criticism has been that the team has signed a lot of position players and committed a lot of money, but has not improved at any STARTING positions. Specifically they have committed 35 million to 6 postion players covering 10 contract years for 2012-2013.
Where I have been challenged is to show what I would have done instead. While that is never an exact exercise to engage in, because without personally speaking to other GM's, or player's agents, I have no idea who might have been available in a trade, or which players would even consider playing for Arizona., I'm still going to give it a try
On November 3rd I wrote in the John Macdonald signing thread:
I’d still give up all the MacDonalds/ Bloomquists/Mora’s/Nady’s/Blums/Branyans/Overbays/Hills of the world to pay Jose Reyes, and then fill out the roster with the 430K per year guys we have in the system.If you have Reyes and Drew makes a comeback, you move him to 2b
Given the fact that the team is bereft of any top tier middle infield talent prospects up through the minors, they needed to go out and sign Jose Reyes. Of course it would have been risky, as the guy has had his share of injury troubles the last two years . However he is still only 29 and when healthy, is one of the most dynamic players in the game. He would immediately upgrade the team in many areas. Even while playing in only 126 games last year he managed a 5.8 WAR season last year. Reyes has 4 seasons of 5+ WAR in the last 6. Here is his PA's and WAR per season since becoming a full time player at age 22.
Year Age PA WAR
2005 22 733 1.7
2006 23 703 5.9
2007 24 765 5.4
2008 25 763 5.3
2009 26 166 0.7
2010 27 603 2.3
2011 28 586 5.8
One WAR on the FA market is worth approx 4.5 Million. Even with missing most of 2009, he has managed to put up 8.8 WAR over the last 3 seasons, which was worth just north of 39 million. Reyes has averaged 3.8 WAR per season over the last 7 seasons. Or in other words, 17.1 Million per season of value.
Reyes signed for 6 yrs, 106 million Guaranteed with the Marlins. The avg annual is 17.67 Mil per year. But it's heavily backloaded, as only 36 million is to be paid out over the first 3 years.
* Team has option for 22 million for 2018, or 4 million buyout
By the time you get to 2015 and beyond, MLB Salary inflation, as well as real world inflation would probably give you a WAR valuation of 5.5-6.0 Mil per WAR. That means Reyes would need to average 3.5- 4.0 WAR over the last 3 years of the contract to be worth the back loaded portion of the contract......which is unlikely. However if he averages 4 WAR per season over the first 3 Years, he out earns the contract by so much that it clearly works out. For the life of the contract, if Reyes gives your team 21 WAR, or IOW averages 3.5 WAR for the life of the contract, then he will have "earned the contract".
This does not take into account any potential tangible benefits of this signing possibly putting the team over the top in 2012-2013 while all the other top position talent is locked up and the cheap pitching talent is emerging.
Had they signed Reyes, they simply forgo signing Kubel, Hill, and Bloomquist. That saves 31 million over the next two seasons and almost pays for all of Reyes' first THREE seasons. You still sign McDonald perhaps, and when Drew comes back you play him at either 3rd or 2nd, wherever he fits best, and move Roberts to the other spot. You give the 4th outfielder spot to Cole Gillepsie to spell Parra in left, or you go and sign Reed Johnson for 1.5-2 million, which is more than he got from the Cubs.
Now of course come 2015, you DO have to contend with the fact that Reyes is going to get 22 million per season, but one or two deep playoff runs between 2014-2014 plus a new T.V. contract make that affordable.
A gamble ? Yes....but not as much as people think, as I think I've demonstrated above.
That is the route I would have gone with this team.