In 2003, GM Steve Phillips recommended to Fred Wilpon that the Mets offer 20-year-old rookie SS Jose Reyes a 10-year, $30 million contract, which would have paid for his three arbitration seasons and covered his first five years of free agency.
In doing so, the former GM explained in January on MLB Network Radio, Reyes would have been earning five times more than he should have been during 2004 and 2005, but he would have been significantly underpaid during his three years of arbitration.
After 2011, when Reyes left to sign a six-year deal paying him $18 million per season to play for the Marlins, he would have still been under contract with the Mets and earning just $3 million during 2012 and 2013 had the above deal been offered and agreed upon.
According to Phillips, Wilpon was not interested in exploring such a contract for Reyes, who -- at that point -- had just 69 big-league games under his belt. However, as Phillips said, "It was a missed opportunity, at a perfect moment, because think about all of that value we would have gotten."
Instead, the Mets paid Reyes the league minimum through 2005, after which he agreed to a $34 million, five-year contract extension that kept him in New York through 2011.
Given the increase of injuries in baseball and considering how panicky players and agents are about the currently crashing free-agent market, I wonder if MLB front offices will return to thinking like the innovative Phillips from 2003.
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SNY TV | Mar 21