Maryland Terps

Reyes says Loria told him he would stay in Miami


Reyes says Loria told him he would stay in Miami

TORONTO (AP) Jose Reyes was in a hotel room in the Middle East when he received the surprising news: He had been traded from the downsizing Miami Marlins to the bulking-up Toronto Blue Jays.

``I went to Dubai on vacation with my wife,'' Reyes said Thursday in his first public comments about the Nov. 19 deal. ``One day I got up at 6 in the morning and I see all these text messages saying `You got traded.' That kind of surprised me a little bit.''

Reyes left the New York Mets as a free agent after the 2011 to sign a $106 million, six-year contracts with the Marlins, who boosted their payroll as they prepared to move into a new retractable-roof ballpark in downtown Miami. But after fading from contention en route to a last-place finish, the Marlins sold off their stars.

The move was surprising to Reyes, given a conversation he had just had with owner Jeffrey Loria.

``Five days before I got traded I was with the owner of the Miami Marlins and he said he was never going to trade me,'' Reyes recalled.

Like his Miami teammates, Reyes didn't have a no-trade provision. Telephone conversations with new teammates and fellow Dominicans Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion soothed any concerns.

``After that I said, `It's a better opportunity with the Blue Jays,''' Reyes said. ``It's all about winning and the team we're going to put on the field is going to be good.''

Reyes was dealt with pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and $8.5 million to Toronto for infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, right-handers Henderson Alvarez, and Anthony DeSclafani, left-hander Justin Nicolino and outfielder Jake Marisnick.

``He's the type of guy you want to come and see play, he's electric,'' Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. ``This is a rare guy to find. Leadoff, shortstop, energy, makeup, you can check off every single box. I don't know that there's another shortstop like him. I think any GM would love to have him.''

Anthopoulos called Reyes ``probably my favorite player in the league.''

``You can't help but admire what he brings and what he does,'' Anthopoulos said. ``From that standpoint, the opportunity to get him in trade, we jumped at it. We felt we were pretty deep at shortstop but we've never seen a guy like this.

``I don't know that we're going to see another shortstop like this in Toronto for a long time. This is one of the great players to play the game and the fact that he's got a chance to be in Toronto for the next five or six years is so exciting.''

Anthopoulos had made starting pitching his priority.

``We weren't going to go anywhere if we didn't improve the rotation,'' he said.

He addressed that concern in the trade with the Marlins and another that sent Buck as part of a package to the New York Mets for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.

The NL batting champion in 2011 and a three-time NL stolen base champion, Reyes will be the first in a quartet of Dominican stars at the top of Toronto's order. Outfielder Melky Cabrera will likely bat second, followed by sluggers Bautista and Encarnacion.

That's made the Blue Jays as big a story in the Caribbean as they've been since the 1980s and the days of George Bell and Tony Fernandez.

``When I went to the Dominican and people saw me on the street, everybody talked about the Blue Jays,'' Reyes said. ``At least in my town, everybody is a fan of the Blue Jays now.''

Reyes is set to play for the Dominican Republic team at the World Baseball Classic, among seven Toronto players expected to take part in the tournament. Encarnacion, Cabrera and right-hander Esmil Rogers have been selected for the Dominican Republic's preliminary roster; Dickey and catcher J.P. Arencibia for the United States; and infielder Brett Lawrie for Canada.

Bautista is skipping the WBC following surgery in September to repair a left wrist injury that limited him to 92 games last season.

``The biggest thing with that is we need him ready for the season,'' Anthopoulos said.

Anthopoulos said Bautista, who feels good and has been swinging every day, hopes to play in Toronto's exhibition opener on Feb. 23 against Detroit.

That's a game Reyes is looking forward to, as well.

``I can't wait to get to spring training and start to work together,'' Reyes said. ``It's going to be a special season for the Blue Jays. The goal for us here is to go to the playoffs, go to the World Series and win. Less than that is not going to be acceptable with the kind of team that we have.''

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Will Maryland’s long break prove to be more rest or rust in their first game of the NCAA Tournament?

Will Maryland’s long break prove to be more rest or rust in their first game of the NCAA Tournament?

By the time Maryland tips off against their to-be-determined first round opponent Thursday at 3:10 p.m., it will have been a full week since they last played in an actual game.

Not only will it have been seven days since their last outing, but they’ll have played just one game in the last 13 days, and two in the last 18 days.

The question now is just how valuable that time off will end up being for the Terps. It’s a classic question of rest versus rust, and the implications are heightened considering Maryland’s opponent will be coming off a win just two days prior.

With Temple and Belmont tipping off late Tuesday night, it will only have been roughly 40 hours between games for whomever Maryland ends up facing, a stark contrast to the Terps’ long break. One narrative says that might help Maryland. Another says the lack of momentum, for a young, streaky team reliant on momentum all season long, could be devastating.

It’s a fair question to ask. The only comparable stretch earlier this season came during winter break, a time most teams face long breaks due to the holidays. Maryland faced Loyola (MD) on December 11, then Seton Hall on December 22, and played again on December 29 against Radford.

Maryland blew out Loyola, capping a 9-2 start to the season, with their two losses coming at the hands of Purdue and Virginia. Momentum appeared to be on their side.

Then, 11 days later, an unranked Seton Hall team came into College Park and beat Maryland on their own court.

Not only did the Terps suffer a rare home loss, but they looked slow and sloppy during the game. Maryland shot 8-for-25 from 3-point range, and went down 14-3 right off the bat. They ended up battling back to lose by four, 78-74, but the slow start was too much to overcome.

History repeated itself a week later.

Maryland played host to Radford after another week off, and again came out slow. Facing the 125th-ranked team in KenPom, again on their own court, Maryland went down 19-10 in the first six minutes, despite outclassing their opponent in talent and size.

Mark Turgeon has admitted in the past that he tends to save his best, most fiery, motivational speeches for halftime, not pregame. But Maryland has shown that with time off, they can struggle to show up at tip-off.

Against a quality, NCAA Tournament-worthy opponent, that likely wouldn’t end well.

There are plenty of ways to preview their matchup. It would make sense to analyze individual matchups, scout out other teams' tendencies, or point out how much of an X-factor Anthony Cowan has become. Ultimately, though, the Terps’ chances in this year’s Big Dance may prove to be quite simple. 

Will the time off, and accompanying extra rest and practice time, prove helpful? Or will they come out slow, putting themselves in a hole out from which they may not be able to dig?

The answer will likely determine whether they make a run, or face yet another too-early March exit.


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Trea Turner on being under-the-radar, the upcoming season and Anthony Rendon

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Trea Turner on being under-the-radar, the upcoming season and Anthony Rendon

Click play in the embedded podcast to listen to The Racing Presidents' interview with Trea Turner and click here to subscribe to the podcast.

An acronym to remember whenever thinking of Trea Turner: PTBNL.

That’s him, the Player To Be Named Later from a mid-season 2015 trade with the San Diego Padres. Joe Ross arrived first. Steven Souza went out. Eventually, after grappling with some of the stranger rules in Major League Baseball, Turner joined the Nationals. 

He’s 25 now, married and the incumbent shortstop. Fame eludes Turner for the most part, which doesn’t bother him.

“I still go under the radar quite a bit, so I don’t have to deal with that,” Turner told NBC Sports Washington. “Sometimes I’m not jealous. Going out in public places and not being able to have a normal meal, normal slice of pizza is not always fun. If you get recognized you’re doing something right, though, in my mind. It’s kind of a plus and minus.”

Turner sat down with NBC Sports Washington on the latest edition of The Racing Presidents podcast. He talked about being in the public eye, his best pal Anthony Rendon, and the idea of running a lot more this season. Turner’s 43 stolen bases led the National League last season. Manager Davey Martinez is asking him to run more this year. Martinez is also still deciphering how the top of the order will work with Turner and Adam Eaton.

“I have my thoughts, but there’s no conclusion on it yet,” Martinez said Monday. “I’m still doing a bunch of research on which way we want to go. But you’ll see them both up at the top of our lineup.”

Take a listen to Turner at the end of today’s episode. The guys cover several other topics beforehand:

-- The latest on Michael A. Taylor from Todd Dybas at spring training. He’s making (slight) progress.
-- How Stephen Strasburg looked in his most recent outing against the New York Mets. He was sharp early and pleasant afterward. 
-- A discussion about how the catching pair could be dispatched. Yan Gomes as the starter? Kurt Suzuki paired with Anibal Sanchez? Who will play against the Mets in the opening series?

Listen, subscribe, rate, and stay tuned for more 1-on-1 conversations with players this week when we sit down with Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle.