Major League Baseball handed down Jose Reyes’ suspension for his domestic violence incident this offseason, and it will see him forfeit his salary for the first two months of the season. Reyes will be eligible to return to action June 1, as he has agreed not to appeal the discipline.
With the Rockies’ shortstop position seemingly set with Trevor Story, Reyes might not have a job waiting for him even when he is eligible to return. Still, Reyes is a talented enough player that Fantasy owners have to figure out what to do with him. There are three potential ways the Rockies can handle Reyes moving forward, so we’ll look at the likelihood of each and how Fantasy owners should approach them.
Jose Reyes SS / Colorado Rockies (2015)
BA: .259 OBP: .291 SLG: .368
Scenario 1: Reyes gets traded
Even before the suspension was announced, ESPN’s Buster Olney had already reported that there are teams interested in trading for Reyes once he returns. According to FanGraphs.com, only 14 shortstops in baseball have made a positive offensive contribution so far, so Reyes would potentially represent an upgrade on roughly half the league. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there might be teams interested in his services.
Of course, there are plenty of hurdles that would need to be overcome. For one, the league knows the Rockies are likely set at both middle infield positions with Story and D.J. LeMahieu, so Reyes currently looks like the league’s most well-compensated backup (more on that shortly). Reyes also hit just .274/.328/.378 last season, so he was hardly a difference-maker the last time we saw him. And that doesn’t get into how the suspension has almost certainly adversely impacted his value around the league.
Still, this seems like the most likely outcome, and the one that would be best for Fantasy players. Even in a down year, Reyes swiped 24 bases in 116 games last season, and it wouldn’t be totally out of the question for him to give 10 homers and 30 steals from the point of his return on. This is a sure-fire starting option at shortstop, and finding another home for him would create one more choice for Fantasy owners at a desperately shallow position.
Chance of this happening: 75 percent
Scenario 2: Reyes gets buried
Like I said, there’s always a chance the Rockies find a completely dead market for Reyes and are just forced to bite the bullet and keep him on the bench. This would obviously not be the ideal outcome, given Reyes’ salary and the Rockies’ low likelihood of contending, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise if this happened. This scenario would obviously leave Reyes as a Fantasy non-factor, but could also cut into the playing time of Story and LeMahieu enough to hurt. At least for a little while.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Reyes sits on the bench for the Rockies all season, starting once or twice a week and being happy. Even if Scenario 2 were to come to pass, it probably wouldn’t be a long-term solution. The Rockies may just have to pay Reyes to go away in this instance, either through a buyout or a straight-up, old-fashioned waive. In which case, the outcome is roughly the same as Scenario 1.
Chance of this happening: 23 percent
Scenario 3: Story gets benched
Trevor Story SS / Colorado Rockies
BA: .266 OBP: .327 SLG: .597
As good as Story has been, he has hardly been reliable. He leads the majors in strikeouts, and has slowed down dramatically after his ridiculous start. And even the power has slowed down of late, with Story hitting just .277/.333/.404 in May so far. Story had solid minor-league numbers, but was never considered a can’t-miss prospect, so it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see the bottom drop out.
But this one seems extremely unlikely. Story has earned himself a lot of rope with 11 homers in his first 33 major-league games, so we’d need to see a lot worse than what he has done in May for him to lose his job, I would bet. The Rockies are looking toward the future, and even if you aren’t huge on Story’s talent level, it’s hard to argue he’s not a much bigger part of their future than Reyes. Story would have to go on some kind of massive cold streak to lose his job. We’re talking, like, 0-for-40 over his next two weeks, or so. This one seems exceedingly unlikely to come to pass.
Chance of this happening: 2 percent
Cons: Having pitched just 63 1/3 major league innings, it’s hard to know if we can trust Neris to keep this up. In fact, he has already started to tail off, as he has induced only nine swings-and-misses in his last 101 pitches.
5. Ken Giles, Astros (33 percent owned)
Ken Giles RP / Houston Astros (2016 STATS)
IP: 13 2/3 ERA: 7.90 K: 18 BB: 5
Pros: Giles didn’t miss a beat when the Phillies promoted him to closer last season after the departure of Jonathan Papelbon. Whether in a closing or setup role, Giles has shown the ability to get strikeouts at an elite rate while maintaining good control. That’s why he was widely presumed to be the Astros’ closer when they traded for him this offseason.
The other veteran Padre pitcher likely to garner interest on the trade market is Fernando Rodney. An expert archer and tweeter, Rodney hasn’t allowed an earned run in his first 14 innings. His experience across the late innings figures to make him an appealing target if he continues to pitch well.
The Padres are too close to the divisional lead to start selling off pieces over the next few weeks. But if that changes by mid-June, Preller will have a decision to make. Does he hit the eject button earlier than he’d like, or does he risk having another Cashner and Ross situation unfold?
Whichever route Preller picks, the takeaway is clear: being a general manager ain’t easy, kids.
Moya has a similar issue. He got a chance to start Thursday with Justin Upton shifting over to center field for the first time in his career, but manager Brad Ausmus said the smaller outfield in Baltimore made that alignment possible. Peraza, meanwhile, is probably only up until Billy Hamilton’s bereavement period ends. He, Moya and Joseph are best left for league-specific formats until they find an opening and prove themselves in it.
So which prospects am I excited about these days? Glad you asked.
Five on the verge
(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)
Blake Snell, SP, Rays
2015 stats: 15-4, 1.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 134 IP, 53 BB, 163 K
2016 stats: 1-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 30 IP, 16 BB, 38 K
Snell is still at the top of the list, but his stock is down after the Rays passed him over for Matt Andriese when they needed a fifth starter Sunday. That’s partly because the need developed two days earlier than expected, but Andriese ended up meeting it so well that manager Kevin Cash just decided to keep him there. Snell has had some control issues since returning to Triple-A, but we shouldn’t forget how he carved up the Yankees lineup in his major-league debut April 23.