A team source has told Adam Rubin of ESPN that the Mets are now considering bringing back Jose Reyes once he becomes a free agent. It’s a complete reversal from five days ago when this team source described a reunion with Reyes as having “virtually no chance.”
After getting swept by the Atlanta Braves over the weekend and team owner Jeff Wilpon barking that the front office needs to act now and not later, all options are now on the table including 33-year old former Met.
Let me come out and say that I am completely biased when it comes to the subject of Jose Reyes. He was my favorite baseball player for almost a decade because of the excitement, intensity and enthusiasm he brought to every game. A Jose Reyes triple was the most electrifying play in all of baseball. And the fact that he played shortstop for the Mets (the exact job I still hold in my dreams) didn’t hurt either.
So when I read fellow MMO writer Mets Daddy’s perfectly reasonable explanation of why the Mets would be foolish to re-acquire Jose Reyes, who was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies last Wednesday, I had to offer a counter argument.
Despite being a Reyes super-fan for so many years (with the jersey t-shirts to prove it), I have no delusions that he still resembles the dynamic player he was on the Mets from 2003 to 2011. Reyes is 33 years old, advanced age for someone who relies mostly on his speed to succeed. He is coming off an underwhelming second half of 2015 in Colorado, where he also demonstrated a bad attitude after being traded against his will.
Most glaring is the matter of Reyes’ arrest for domestic violence against his wife, which caused him to be suspended for 59 games by Major League Baseball. I can’t argue with anyone who objects to bringing Reyes aboard purely for that reason, or the PR disaster that might ensue, and it would certainly be difficult to root for someone accused of such a crime.
None of these red flags should be overlooked, particularly the domestic violence charges. But if Reyes is going to receive another chance, as so many athletes have before him, the Mets should be the team to provide it.
From a baseball perspective, Reyes could be the spark this depleted Mets offense (and demoralized fan base) badly needs, and a cheap one at that. Even in his declined physical state, he could easily be one of the most exciting and productive players in a Mets lineup that gets duller, weaker and more injured by the day.
Reyes would provide speed and the ability to manufacturer runs to a team that has neither. He hit .274 last season with 26 steals, numbers that aren’t great but would be extremely welcome if even remotely replicated in a Mets uniform this season. And maybe playing for the team that raised him and the fans that loved chanting his name (“Jose, Jose, Jose…”) would rejuvenate Reyes’ career.
Even if he is a shell of his former self, Reyes would still likely be an upgrade over several of the players the Mets are sending to the plate these days. The revolving door of replacement level infielders – Matt Reynolds, Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell – would finally be shut. With David Wright potentially out for the season, Lucas Duda’s return date still unknown, and Travis d’Arnaud perpetually injured, adding a major league-caliber player with a proven track record in New York City could only help the team.
Logistically speaking, if the Mets acquired Reyes they could shift Neil Walker to third base and Asdrubal Cabrera to second. While this would not be ideal defensive positioning, getting Reyes’ bat and speed into the lineup should be the priority. It would also allow Wilmer Flores to go back to his role as a part time player and utility man. Or they could simply start Reyes at third base – we know he has the arm.
Jose Reyes still lives in New York
The Mets passed on re-signing Reyes when his contract ended in 2011, and even a Jose super-fan like me couldn’t be upset given the absurd contract he received. They now have another opportunity to bring back one of the most exciting players in the team’s history, at practically no cost.
Reyes may be too old to make a difference on the field, and he may be too much of a liability off it. But the Mets are in desperation mode right now. They are slow and boring, two things that Reyes is certainly not. So why not take a chance and bring Jose back?
Reyes loves the Big Apple and has referred to his time with the Mets as the best years of his life. He also continues to call New York home and never sold his beautiful house in Old Brookville. Why not see if we can catch lightning in a bottle?