Jose Reyes has made it abundantly clear that he wants to finish his career as a Met.
But with a glut of infielders such as Wilmer Flores, T.J. Rivera, Gavin Cecchini returning and Asdrubal Cabrera likely to have his $6.5 million option picked up, Reyes’s time in a Mets uniform may be over.
The infielder was being paid just league minimum by the Mets but still earned $22 million from the final year of a six-year deal he signed before the 2012 season.
His versatility and his knack for still being able to swipe a bag or two will land him a deal somewhere this offseason. Since he believes he is capable of being an everyday player and played a full season in 2017, he is likely to see a significant bump in his salary and the Mets may very well balk.
“Regardless of how I started the season here this year, I feel like I still had a real good second half,” he said. “I feel like I’ve played the best I’ve played (in the second half) in a few years. That’s the way that I feel. In the second half, the way that I’ve been able to get out of this slump that I was in the first two months of the season, I feel like if I’m not here, I’m going to have a job.
“But hopefully it’s here. This is where I want to be.”
The 34-year-old did in fact have a turnaround the latter half of the season, but still finished the year with a .246/.315/.413 slash line with 15 homers and 58 RBI with 24 stolen bases. Reyes also had a -0.6 WAR, 94 wRC+ and a .312 wOBA in 145 games. In the second half, he hit .288/.356/.472, which he believes is a sign he can still contribute.
In the field, Reyes committed eight errors, five of which came at the hot corner. There, he also had a -5 DRS and a -2.9 UZR. At shortstop where spent a majority of his time, he fared even worse.
He had a whopping -15 DRS and -1.0 UZR. At this point in his career, he is destined to be a second baseman. He was good for -5 DRS there, but didn’t commit an error and had a 0.4 UZR in 207.1 innings.
The plan all along was to have Reyes be a super utility type player when they signed him in 2016, but after a plethora of injuries and trades, the infielder turned into an everyday starter.
“I was supposed to be a utility guy. Coming into spring training, I was supposed to play that role,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with that role.”
As a reserve, bringing Reyes back makes sense. Especially on a young team where he acted as a mentor for many of the young players such as Amed Rosario, he could be valuable.
“I’ve been a huge Jose Reyes fan forever because he loves to play,” former manager Terry Collins said. “And I like guys who want to play and like to play, and Jose, unless there’s an injury, he wants to play every day. He loves it.
“I think his presence in that clubhouse, obviously he has a lot to say to the Latin guys because it’s easy for him, plus who he is, they know, they’ve been told, and certainly he’s been an idol to many of them so he’s got a lot to say about those guys.”
However, the decision for Reyes may come down to him or Cabrera. The latter like Reyes had a rough start to the season and was hampered by injuries, but finished scorching hot to end his season on a positive note.
Altogether, Cabrera hit .280/.351/.434 with 14 long balls and 54 RBI to go along with a 111 wRC+ and a .338 wOBA.
But Reyes says he is right where he wants to be and hopes he can finish his career here.
“Did I want to come here? For sure,” Reyes said. “Do I want to finish my career here? One hundred percent.
“At this point I just want to be here because it’s home for me and this is where I feel comfortable playing, but I don’t have that in my hands.”
By The Numbers
• Over his final 34 games, Reyes batted .328 (41-125) with seven doubles, one triple, six home runs, 19 RBI and 29 runs scored.
• His 15 homers this year are the most he’s had in a single season since hitting 16 in 2008 while his 58 RBI are the most he’s had in a season also since 2008 (68).
• Has 474 extra-base hits in his career as a Met, second-most in team history. David Wright is ﬁrst with 658 extra-base hits.
• His 24 stolen bases this season were ﬁfth-most in the National League. Has 10 seasons with 20 or more steals and his 512 career steals are most among active major leaguers.
• Hit his 21st leadoff homer as a Met with his leadoff homer on September 13 at Chicago-NL. The 21 leadoff homers are tied for the most in franchise history with Curtis Granderson.