The New York Mets are reuniting with their former shortstop Jose Reyes, a move that reeks of desperation for a team that has both been riddled with injuries and underachieved, in hopes the 33-year old infielder has something left to offer.
If we focus on the baseball aspect of this move, this is a move that brings some risk to the Mets on the field. The Mets are banking on Reyes to be a key contributor who will transition nicely to third base, and, even the outfield, and reclaim some form of the hitter he once was.
After three games for Single-A Brooklyn, Reyes was 0-for-9 and played a shaky third base. Reports are he is to move on up to Double-A, with the hope that in two weeks he’ll be in the Major Leagues.
If that holds true, we could see Reyes return when the Mets host the Washington Nationals from July 7 – 10.
Is Reyes ready to play a position he has never played before? Reyes has been primarily a shortstop in his career, with only a cup of tea at second base when the Mets were trying to convince themselves that Kaz Matsui was worth playing at short instead.
He has already consulted both David Wright and Edgardo Alfonzo regarding the position, but to expect Reyes to nail down a crash course on playing third base is asking a lot, even if the transition is “supposed to be seamless.”
Let’s remember that this is a player who hasn’t played in a Major League game since late last season. He had really no spring training to speak of, and played in only nine games in Triple-A before getting cut. What kind of player are the Mets really getting here?
The Mets likely will plug Reyes over at the hot corner with Wright likely out for the season with a herniated disk in his neck. This will allow them to sit Wilmer Flores, who has struggled this season with a .240 batting average with 12 RBI in 125 at bats. It will also allow Terry Collins to use Reyes as a lead-off hitter, who can steal bases, something the Mets have lacked this year.
A few days ago, Collins even hinted at Reyes playing some outfield as well, but that seems incredibly dubious considering moving a shortstop into the outfield is only asking for trouble. Just watch Daniel Murphy and Todd Hundley outfield highlights.
When Mets fans see Reyes they need to be cognizant that he is no longer the player he once was. Scouts have spoken openly about Reyes’ decline in production over the past few years.
He hasn’t looked like the same guy that was a five-tool shortstop with the Mets in about four years. In 2013, he played in only 93 games with Toronto before dealing with injuries. After a renaissance year in production in 2014, his slash line was only .287/.328/.398 that season. Last year was a nightmare for Reyes as he brooded his way out of Toronto and Colorado. He stole only 24 bases in 116 games, and produced a .274/.310/.378 slash line.
Even Reyes himself is tempering expectations.
“Let’s get something clear,” Reyes was quoted as saying in the New York Post. “People still think I am going to come in here and I’m gonna steal 60 bases and I’m gonna hit 20 triples. Let’s not get too crazy.”
We won’t get crazy Jose, but for a Mets team that needs all the help it can get, Reyes’ return will be a major event.