Well, those rumors have appeared to be true. Late Sunday night, it was reported that Reyes signed a six year, 106 million dollar deal with the Miami Marlins (formally the Florida Marlins).
The Marlins, set to open a state-of-the-art ballpark in Miami this year, are looking to fill seats. Last year, playing at Landshark Stadium, the Marlins had to close the upper-deck halfway through the season because they were losing money by keeping it open for the few fans that sat there. In addition to signing Reyes, the Marlins signed former San Diego Padres Closer Heath Bell to a three year deal.
So what does this mean for the NL East? There could be a possible power shift. The Philadelphia Phillies, the 2011 NL East winning team ended the season and went into the playoffs with a lackluster offense - it does not help that on the last play of their last playoff game before being eliminated, Ryan Howard suffered a major leg injury and will out to start the regular season. The Braves, 2011 NL Wild Card winner, will probably keep improving. With great young pitching including Jair Jurrens and Kraig Kimbrel as well as good young hitting, including Freddie Freeman and Martin Prado. They may be the new favorites to win the East. Then come the Nationals who will have their young star Stephen Strasbourg back and are built on young talent.
The Marlins are still busy. Before they signed Reyes, they planned on submitting an offer to free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, star of the 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.
So what do they Mets do? With the division mostly improving and the Mets payroll decreasing, is now the right time for a fire sale? In my opinion, yes, now is the time. Starting Pitcher Johan Santana should be healthy again next year, if he can prove that he can stay healthy, the Mets should try to trade him and offer to absorb some of his salary. Next, First Baseman/Second Baseman/Third Baseman/Left Fielder Daniel Murphy really only has a spot on the Mets at second base, but that's where he has received season ending injuries these past few years. His offensive production is very beneficial but his defense at second base is extremely subpar. They could possibly get a lot in return if they trade him to a team looking for a Designated Hitter (in the American League) or a utility player. Lastly, David Wright. Most mets fans may not agree, but after losing Reyes, the Mets chances of competing for the next few years have drastically decreased. If Wright, with the new dimensions at Citi Field, can prove that he can hit for power again, his trade value will soar and then the Mets need prospects.
The Mets have to think of the future. The Phillies are an older team and have a lot of money locked up in veterans. They may be considerably worse in three years when those same players are still on the books. The Braves may not be as successful in the future due to payroll. Lastly, the Nationals may improve but in three years, if the Mets farm system can bring up some good talent, they may be able to compete. The time for the Mets to compete in the division is not now. But in three years, the National League East may look very different....