The 2016 Mets were heading into the middle of 2016 season with a record of 40 wins and 33 losses. Their already anemic offense had suffered the losses of first baseman Lucas Duda and third baseman David Wright, then they signed former team hero Jose Reyes. Reyes was coming off a disappointing season split between the Rockies and the Blue Jays in which he hit for a disappointing .274 Batting Average with 7HRs and 53 RBI. He was also coming back from a suspension for domestic violence, which gave many people inside and out of the Mets organization great pause in acquiring the shortstop.
Eventually the team decided Reyes was worth the negative publicity and was signed for the league minimum with an option for 2017. The move ended up being a wise one for Sandy Alderson as Reyes went on to hit .267 with 8 HRs and 24 RBI with nine stolen bases in 11 attempts. He brought some needed speed to the lineup and filled in amicably in David Wright’s absence at third base.
The true value of signing Reyes was in the 2017 option. Alderson showed good foresight in adding the option to the deal. Now that Reyes has reestablished some value with his play the Mets could retain his services for an additional season at minimal cost. His defensive versatility will be a boon to a team featuring three starting infielders coming back from major neck and back issues.
He also provides the team with a true leadoff hitter, something the Mets have been searching for since he left the team in free agency following the 2011 season. He had a decent OBP of .326 last season though he did score 45 runs in just 60 games last year. He will be the team’s leadoff hitter in every game he starts this season allowing Curtis Granderson to slide down in the order and collect more RBI chances.
Reyes is a great insurance policy for a team that has a myriad of injury concerns. With Wright’s spinal stenosis and Neil Walker’s return from back surgery, Reyes is a nice option to fall back on. He will also be taking balls in the outfield this spring training were his speed and strong arm could play nicely in center field if needed. Reyes is also a steady fielder with an above average arm who can slot in at any infield position other than first.
Aside from the incident last offseason he has been a good citizen, and a return to the organization in which he came up in has seemed to do him a world of good. Hopefully he will not have to play every day and can be something of a super sub along with Wilmer Flores and possibly Michael Conforto the Mets should have an extremely strong bench.
We will see how he performs over the course of the season and perhaps the Mets will consider keeping him around beyond this season. If they do not, he was a low risk gamble that has seemed to pay off quite well.