Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make, or however that cliche goes. It certainly holds true for the Yankees if Jon Heyman is to be believed. In his Inside Baseball article from today, Heyman states that the Yankees had interest in shortstop Jose Reyes when he got to Colorado in the Troy Tulowitzki trade last year. The team was willing to send shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo and to eat half of Reyes' $22 million salary in the deal.
Somehow, someway, that deal didn't happen. It's unclear who exactly decided to nix it, as it seems like a pretty outstanding deal for the Rockies. Hopefully the Yankees came to their senses before it was too late and rescinded the offer. Even if the team was lacking faith in Didi Gregorius' ability to be their shortstop of right now, Jose Reyes should have never been an idea to fix it.
In 116 games between Toronto and Colorado last year, Reyes batted .274/.310/.378 with seven home runs and 24 stolen bases, good enough for 0.5 fWAR and a wRC+ of 80. It isn't a straight comparison by any means, but 20-year-old Mateo batted .278/.345/.392 with 82 stolen bases last season. He's off to an even better start this year.
It's possible that the Yankees could have been looking to replace Stephen Drew with Reyes, even though the latter only has 43 games at the position in his career. It still doesn't justify trading away one of the organization's top prospects for another high dollar salary that would have been a terrible move for a team that is close to shedding the very same type of deals over the next couple seasons.
All of that doesn't even touch on the fact that Reyes has yet to play in 2016 after being suspended for 59 games following a domestic abuse arrest in Hawaii last October. Trading such a valuable asset for him, paying half of his expensive salary, and losing him for two months because he decided to get physical with his wife would have looked like a disaster on so many levels.
No matter who came up with this idea, it was a bad one. The Yankees are very fortunate the Rockies did not accept, if that is what happened, because having Reyes on the team would only make the struggles so far this season even harder to swallow. The team has since traded for Starlin Castro, which has worked out pretty well so far. Gregorius is fine at shortstop, and the team has a few options coming up through the system if they want to make a move in the next couple of seasons.
Mateo is obviously pretty far away from the majors, playing at High-A this season. Still, he has shown the promise to be something really special. Trading him away for a player like Reyes would be totally disappointing. The Yankees dodged a bullet this time, but they may not be so lucky in the future. Perhaps the most concerning thing about it is that the rumor of this even being possible seems to indicate that the thinking in the front office may not have changed as much as we'd like to think. That's quite scary on its own.