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We all have that one player in our fantasy baseball league; the kind of player who we would do anything to get them on our team. That kind of player to that we’re devoted to through thick and thin, almost to a fault.
If Alex Anthopoulos played fantasy baseball, Jose Reyes would be that player. We actually know for a fact AA thinks Jose Reyes is one of his favourite baseball players to watch, as he said it so himself at last week’s press conference.
So there may indeed have been some truth to the reports that the Blue Jays were interested in signing Reyes last winter. The funny thing is the odds of the Blue Jays landing Jose Reyes as a free agent last offseason were likely next to nil. And yet low and behold, here he is a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In fact, the Blue Jays would undoubtedly have to overpay Jose Reyes to come to Toronto; and even then, that might not have been enough to lure him north of the 49th parallel instead of warm, sunny Miami.
However, things can change in the blink of an eye. One year ago, the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays were two franchises one completely opposite ends of the spectrum. And now one year later, they have swapped places.
It actually works out well for Jose Reyes, who was told by his owner Jeffrey Loria that he would not be traded. And then four days later, Loria did exactly that. If that’s how Miami ownership treats their players, perhaps Jose Reyes playing for the Marlins wasn’t meant to be after all.
As he exits one toxic environment, Reyes is coming into a good situation; one which would not have presented itself otherwise one year ago. Suddenly, the Blue Jays aren’t looking that bad after all. One could argue the Blue Jays chances going into 2013 are even better than the Marlins in 2012.
The one thing that really came off during the Jose Reyes press conference last week was how he exuded personality. I’m beginning to see why Alex Anthopoulos is so enamoured with Reyes … and this is all before we’ve even seen Jose take the field.
Jose Reyes is a very unique player in that he fills a lot of holes for the Blue Jays in one fell swoop. He becomes that prototypical leadoff hitter they have been in desperate need of for a long time. Reyes is also a bona fide All-Star at a premium position, also something the Blue Jays have lacked since the days of Tony Fernandez at shortstop.
Not to mention, Jose Reyes gives the Blue Jays yet another legitimate threat on the basepaths and he doesn’t strike out all that often. Jose Reyes ranked 1st and 2nd in the NL these past two seasons when it came lowest amount of strikeouts per at bat.
Add all those things up and it’s easy to see why Reyes received such a ringing endorsement from his new General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos.
And not only does Jose Reyes bring a great deal of skill to the top of the lineup and up the middle of the diamond, but he also brings something you won’t see on the box score; swagger. It’s one of those unquantifiable statistics, but it’s something that’s been severely lacking in Blue Jays Land these past few year.
All you have to do is check out Reyes’ Instagram feed to find evidence of his “swagger”. Maybe it’s his lifestyle, maybe it’s just his personality, but there’s no denying that he comes off as very dynamic and incredibly charismatic.
When I try to think of another player in Blue Jays history to compare Jose Reyes to, the only person who comes to mind is George Bell. Sure, Bell had his less than glamorous moments (the karate kick of Bruce Kison, the “kiss by purple butt” incident), but overall he was an incredibly memorable player.
For better or worse, George Bell was the face of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise through the 80’s. Nearly 30 years later, Jose Reyes has that very same opportunity here for a revitalized fanbase. Reyes could very well become the new ambassador for the Toronto Blue Jays.
One thing’s for sure; Jose Reyes is a larger than life personality. Suddenly, this Toronto Blue Jays roster is a larger than life team, as well. Seems like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it?