MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Cutting ties a win-win for Rockies, Reyes

Cutting ties a win-win for Rockies, Reyes

DENVER -- After all the statements were issued, and the Colorado Rockies decided to designate infielder Jose Reyes for assignment -- which most likely means they will have to eat more than $40 million that remains on his contract -- there really wasn't much hemming and hawing that had to be done.

Once Reyes was arrested in Maui for domestic abuse last fall, initially charged only to have the legal matter dropped when his wife declined to cooperate with the police investigation, and Reyes was handed a two-month suspension without pay, there was never any doubt the Rockies would cut ties with Reyes.

Rockies designate Reyes for assignment

Why? It was a multifaceted decision.

Go back in time, almost 12 years, to December 2004 when the Rockies released left-hander Denny Neagle in the aftermath of him being arrested for soliciting a prostitute on Colfax Avenue in Denver. Colorado had to eat more than $16 million of the $19.5 million remaining on the five-year, $51.5 million deal he signed as a free agent in December 2000.

At the time, Charlie Monfort, who along with brother Dick constitutes the franchise's general partnership, explained, "This decision is about an organization and the fans that support it, Denny's pattern of behavior has not been consistent with what our organization represents."

So there is that family values issue.

Now remember last July 28 when the Rockies traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays for three coveted pitching prospects:  Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco. Oh, and Reyes came to Colorado in that deal, too. Not because they asked for him, but because the Blue Jays wanted relief from the roughly $100 million Tulowitzki was owed over five years, and demanded the Rockies take Reyes and the nearly $50 million he was due.

They would have happily made the deal for the three pitchers alone, but agreed to take Reyes because it was the only way the Blue Jays were going to give up those young arms.

So there is the trade issue.

Then this spring, while Reyes was at home awaiting a decision on his possible suspension, Trevor Story accepted the challenge of beating out Cristhian Adames and Daniel Descalso for the shortstop job, and since Opening Day, he has reinforced almost daily that he is ready to handle the job. Story went into Thursday having hit 17 home runs, four shy of the National League record for a rookie before the All-Star break with 24 games remaining before the break.

Manager Walt Weiss has been emphatic that regardless of the decision on Reyes, Story was the starting shortstop. There was little reason to feel that Reyes would accept a bench role, and if he did, that would mean the Rockies would have most likely lost Adames on waivers, because he is out of options and it would have been his role as the backup shortstop that Reyes assumed.

So there is the lack of a spot on the roster.

Rockies DFA Jose Reyes

As far as teeth-gnashing over the $40 million-plus that the Rockies will pay Reyes to not play for Colorado, file it under the heading of a wise business decision. Too often, general managers and managers get hung up over making a tough decision on a player with a sizable guarantee.

Logically, however, this decision isn't costing the Rockies $40 million. It's costing them less than $1.1 million, which is what Story will earn this year and next, when he basically makes Major League minimum.

Colorado was on the hook for the $40 million-plus for Reyes no matter what.

Remember, Reyes is the reluctant Rockies infielder -- from his side and also from the club's. And Reyes spoke up less than a month into his time with Colorado, unwittingly alienating the fan base.

"I'm at the point in my career that I want to win," he said. "I say it over and over. I want to win. I don't want to spend the rest of my career on a last-place team."

Reyes would explain that he did think the Rockies had some pieces in place, but were in need of pitching help, which was not a unique assessment. The damage, however, was done.

So the decision to cut the ties between Colorado and Reyes was a win-win.

The Rockies made a statement. Reyes gets a new start.

Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.