Is it time to say goodbye to Jose Reyes?

Last June, some smart guy wrote that it would be a mistake to bring Jose Reyes back to the Mets. That guy was rarely happier to be wrong. In face of major injuries to David Wright and Lucas Duda, along with nagging aches and pains to Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker, Reyes proved just the tonic the floundering offense needed. At the same time, he was able to rehabilitate his image after his suspension for allegedly violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. For most of the summer, he was the Reyes we remembered from 2003 to 2011: smiling, inventing handshakes, playing terrifically at a new position, enjoying the game again. Toward the end of his run in Toronto and certainly during his short stint in Colorado, he had taken on the look of the hunted. The smile was replaced by a scowl and the exuberant play had given way to listlessness and torpor. Arriving back in New York – back “home” – seemed to revive him. It definitely revived the team. Reyes was one of the key components to a squad that had to roll hard from mid-August to the end of September in order to secure a Wild Card playoff spot. But if you look a little more closely at Reyes’s numbers down the stretch, you may see something slightly different.

After going four-for-five in an August 30 win over Miami, Reyes’s slash line stood at .300/.344/.493/.837. From that day to the end of the season, he lost 33 points off his batting average, 18 off his OBP and 50 off his slugging, ending the regular season at .267/.326/.443/.769. While the enthusiasm was still there, the skills were diminishing. He was able to contribute and still had his moments, of course – see the September 22 game vs. the Phillies at home – but overall, his decline was evident if you cared to look. In the heat of a playoff run, most of us were just enjoying the ride, not interested in looking any deeper at what was driving it. Now, we’re forced to look.

2017 began for Reyes with literally the worst stretch of his career. As of this writing, Reyes has gone five-for-fifty-three to begin the year. He has been dropped from the leadoff spot and hasn’t yet attempted a stolen base. His slash line 15 games into the season is almost too painful to type, but here it is: .094/.183/.132/.315. And this isn’t even discussing his egregious gaffes in the field and on the base paths in a painful loss to Philadelphia two nights ago. Worse yet, facing another bizarre domestic situation, he looks hunted again. The smile is infrequent, the dancin’ handshakes look forced. Yes, he’s a veteran who’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Terry Collins said as much, willing to give Reyes at least another 60 to 80 at bats to see if he can get straightened out. It remains to be seen whether or not he can.

We all saw how Willie Mays looked at the end of the line. I fear Jose Reyes may be at a similar point.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

11 comments for “Is it time to say goodbye to Jose Reyes?

  1. footballhead
    April 20, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Thank you Charlie for this well-informed article regarding Reyes. I’m sure that he’ll have his “moments” still in 2017; but overall, Jose is done. He’s not really costing the Mets any $$$$, but the roster space; which is just as valuable, needs to go to someone younger. If this was June already, I’m sure Rosario would be up with this team, with Cabrera sliding over to third.

  2. TexasGusCC
    April 20, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I will, once again, be in the minority by saying it’s too early. Dropping Reyes to 7 or 8 has limited the damage. His defense at third has been fine and every player has dropped a popular, let’s calm down. Don’t believe he should play more than 3 or 4 times a week however, since: A) that was the original plan; B) he is struggling, hence “let’s get some other people involved” (famous sports cliche to avoid saying we don’t have an answer to a certain position).

    Reyes job was to be a super sub, not The Leadoff Hitter. He didn’t have a position coming into the year, so how could he have been the anointed one? The Mets leadoff problem is five years old and shows Alderson’s indifference to balance.

  3. April 20, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Mets need to get another bench player up because right now, neither of their options for 3B are very appealing.

    I’m not a fan but I’m wondering if the short-term play is to recall Matt Reynolds. He’s a solid fielder and might run into a HR, too. My preferred solution would be to call up Gavin Cecchini, install him at 2B and move Walker to 3B. Give Cecchini a shot, maybe 3-4 weeks of everyday play, and see what he looks like. But I recognize that’s not very likely to happen.

    • John Fox
      April 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Brian, is it feasible to put Cecchini at third instead of moving Walker there? I believe Cecchini was originally a shortstop so he must have a decent arm. Would be nice if Cecchini was getting some reps at Las Vegas at third.

      • April 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm

        I don’t believe so. The main reason he’s moving off SS is because his arm isn’t strong enough for the position.

        One thing that’s interesting so far this season is to see the positions played by the guys in Las Vegas.

        Matt Reynolds – 2B, 3B, LF, CF
        TJ Rivera – 1B, 2B, 3B, LF
        Phillip Evans – 3B, LF
        Gavin Cecchini – 12 games at 2B, 1 game at SS

        When everyone is playing 3B, Cecchini has been close to a mainstay at 2B.

  4. Rene Riquelme
    April 20, 2017 at 10:01 am

    He’s done time to move on.Rossario future looks too bright to have him linger in minors with nothing else to prove.

  5. MattyMets
    April 20, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I think we have to give him a month. Maybe reduce his playing time and drop him in the order. I’d love to see him get going again and I’m rooting hard for him. This team desperately needs someone who can manufacture a run. When he went first to third on a bunt, that was vintage Reyes. We need more of that. Maybe his personal life is too distracting?

    • April 20, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Ugh. There’s no better way to describe José’s lack of production. But it’s not even a month in and we’re already smelling blood in the water.

      I agree, Matty, give him a little more rope. Maybe he figures something out and becomes a .275 hitter with decent defense and a few stolen bases or maybe he really is completely gone. Either way, a few weeks does not a fair trial make.

  6. Jimmy P
    April 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Needs more time.

    It’s too soon.

  7. Metsense
    April 20, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    It is too soon to say goodbye to Jose. It is time to be sharing a platoon with Flores at third and making Duda the everyday first baseman. Reyes should also be batting 8th when he plays. Give the situation more time.

  8. Yovanny
    April 21, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Please can you stop writing negative about Jose, please let the man play the game is to early. There are to many players as a same situation.

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