Like it or not, Jose Reyes is coming back

Based on the vitriol oozing from Twitter and blog comment boards, a lot of Mets fans are less than pleased that a certain “hasbeen shortstop” is back in blue and orange. If the polarizing former star were signed to a long-term deal or brought on to be an infield starter, this writer would be right there typing in all caps along with the other angry fans. However, if as reported, Jose Reyes has been resigned for just one year at $2 million plus incentives, with the understanding that he’d be filling a utility role, this is not cause for backlash. In fact, it’s easy to argue that it’s cause for high fives. Here are 10, count ’em, 10 reasons why this roster addition makes perfectly good sense.

  1. A versatile glove. Reyes can back up second, third, short and even the outfield in a pinch. He’s definitely lost a step in range, but he’s proven that he can handle moving around the field and wherever you put him he can make the throws and he does not make a lot of errors.
  2. A switch hitter off the bench is nice to have. While Reyes was a bit lop-sided last year (.843 OPS vs. lefties, .692 vs. righties), he’s had pretty balanced splits through most of his career.
  3. He can still hit. No, .246/.315/.413 is not going to earn Reyes many All-Star votes, but consider that he had a dreadful first half of the season, likely due to distractions in his personal life, that included a sub .200 batting average on June 29. Raising your batting average nearly 50 points in three months is significant. From June 30 through the end of the season Reyes slashed an impressive.296/.361/.504.
  4. He’s got pop. While we’ll never see Reyes lead the league in triples as he did four times in his prime, he’s still capable of hitting more than singles. Reyes’ 2017 .413 slugging percentage wasn’t that far off his career average. And 47 extra base hits is nothing to sneeze at.
  5. Speed. While he won’t lead the league in steals as he did three times in his prime, Reyes still has better than average wheels and this team needs it. Mickey Callahan may find that #7 has some value as a pinch runner.
  6. He can bunt. Reyes is one of the few guys on the team who can bunt. Hopefully Callaway addresses this unacceptable short-coming in spring training, but very few Mets seem to know how to lay down a bunt. Not only can Reyes sacrifice, but the dude can still drag.
  7. Reyes brings energy. While some find the hand gestures and dug out dancing annoying, Reyes unquestionably brings energy into the clubhouse. He’s got a big smile and an animated way about him that keeps his teammates loose and fans engaged.
  8. He’s fun to watch. While he may not be the most exciting player on the field as he often was from 2005 to 2012, Reyes still knows how to fire up a crowd with a well-timed stretch double in the gap or the occasional triple into the right field corner.
  9.  Amed Rosario looks up to him. That he plays an unlikely mentor role for our most important young player should not be overlooked. Despite the hype he brought with him from the minors, it’s really hard to forecast what type of Major League shortstop we now have on our hands. Setting his sights on being as good Reyes, who made four All-Star games in his prime, is not a bad goal.
  10. He really wants to be here. Whether or not the fans reciprocate, Reyes is happy to play at Citi Field. He’ll be motivated to win back our approval. Give him a chance.

 

27 comments for “Like it or not, Jose Reyes is coming back

  1. Eraff
    January 26, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Back-up Middle infielder…this is a good signing.

    I’m now rooting for Frazier on a short deal …1/maybe 2 years. That allows for playing Cabs 125-135 games…Jose “covers around” the 3 IF Slots. Flo gets some first base time (whether Smith or Gonzo Starts)….maybe he gets some other IF days as well. It’s a flexible rotation that allows playing guys to their best outcomes.

  2. Eraff
    January 26, 2018 at 9:39 am

    General Comment… Sandy will look as dumb as everyone seems to think he is if the Pitching doesn’t come….. if they pitch, He’ll be the executive of the year.

    They are in excellent position to get to opening day, given one more infield addition. With performance of pitching, they will have kept and grown some trade-able assets and they will have cash to add players at the deadline—and they have shown that they will do that.

    Give Me Todd Frazier…or Josh Harrison… I will claim a Hot Stove Victory and then I’ll wait for Spring!

  3. Remember1969
    January 26, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Eraff just hit the nail on the head. Where the pitching goes will determine the outcome of the season. We know there are really 7 very good arms for 5 starting slots – if they can stay healthy and pitch to their potential, this team has the capability of challenging.

    Back to Reyes: has everyone looked at 2017 Reyes vs. Harrison. Reyes outhit Harrison in everything but BA and OBP. Harrison’s numbers have declined for 3 straight years since his career year in 2014. He is not worth the money, the prospects, or blocking anyone else (Guillorme) for 3 years. I would actually be comfortable with him as the starting 2nd baseman. He played in almost 150 games (led the team in GP) last year and got better as the year went on. He can still run. This 10 reasons nails it – a very good signing in my opinion.

    Now get Frazier to play third and set Cabrera as the utility guy (Reyes at the top of the order at 2nd base is the better starting option) and we’re ready to go. (OK, i would not cry if they signed a Tony Watson or a dependable lefty (who else? Vargas) for the pen.)

  4. TexasGusCC
    January 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

    11. He called Cespedes everyday when the Mets were courting Cespedes, and Cespedes took less guaranteed money from the Mets than the Nationals were offering because he felt more wanted here. I don’t love his antics as a 34 year old, but Reyes bleeds orange and blue. When comparing Harrison’s entire season to Reyes’ entire season, Reyes’ numbers are better. Also, Reyes suffered a .222 BABIP in the first half while getting only a very normal .323 in the second half; it happens.

    • Steve S.
      January 26, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Good points, Texas, but I would compare the OPS+ numbers for Reyes and Neil Walker. I would sign the latter player for a reasonable contract and stick him at 2B. The bench of Plawecki, Flores, Reyes, and Nimmo would be OK, I believe.

  5. Chris F
    January 26, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Im just curious, does anyone think that having more than back up players in the infield, ya know, matters?

    There is not a proven bright spot anywhere. Signing Reyes is cheap, but for a tame literally choking on back-up infielders, I simply dont get it at any level. The 40 man spot is worth more than the 2M$ to pay Reyes.

    1. Agon and Smith, neither can be counted on for a full season
    2. The second base hole: Flores, Cabrera, TJ, Cheech, Reynolds, Reyes — just how many bench guys do you need for this position?
    3. We all love Rosario, but is he ready for 162? Can he be an every day guy let a lone a star?
    4. The third base hole: Cabrera, Reyes, Whats his face in AAA, none are every day big leaguers let alone real talent.

    I dont see anything here to be happy about. It smacks directly down to Charlies article. Sandy making moves to talk like it matters, but building a team headed for the pear shaped middle of purgatory teams, plus or minus a few games from .500.

    We all know pitching matters. But this team is literally built on FIP. K, HR, or BB. Anything on the ground or in the air is a serious concern.

    • Steve S.
      January 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

      1. I believe that Agon or Smith will be at 1B, with the other not on the 25-man roster (probably the latter guy). Flores can platoon with either of them there, and Bruce can be the next guy there, if needed.

      2. Hopefully, they can sign Walker, and have Reyes and Flores there at times. Reynolds can be at AAA, as can the recuperating Rivera?

      3. Reyes can occasionally take over at SS for Rosario, but only occasionally.

      4. I agree that having Cabrera most of the time at 3B is not great. But it’s better than having him provide bad up-the-middle defense at 2B or SS. And Reyes and company provide bad backup defensively at the 3B.

      5. Sign not only Walker, but also another good LH reliever and another starting pitcher (named Cobb or Lynn).

  6. BK
    January 26, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Have to agree with everyone else. Utility infielder? OK. Starting 2B? Not so much.

  7. Pete In Iowa
    January 26, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I can’t believe we can’t find an AL partner to deal Flores. He should be able to bring back something of value (perhaps a reliever or innings-eating starter) to a team looking for a right handed DH. In no way is he an everyday player if he has to play the field and we have what’s shaping up to be a pretty good bench. Flores is expendable, probably more so now than at any point in his career. I don’t see why everyone seems to like him as a back-up at first base (really the only reasonable spot for him with guys like Cabbrera, Reyes, Rivera, Cheech, et. al. to back up all other IF spots). He is an absolute horror show with the glove, no matter where he plays, first base included.
    If they make this move, then the Reyes signing is a good one.

  8. TJ
    January 26, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Jose most certainly bleeds blue and orange, has needed flexibility, adds much needed speed, and provides a needed “true” back-up SS as insurance for Rosario.

    His offense last year was wildly different, but overall I agree that I think he can push up that OBP a little and more or less provide what Harrison would.

    The big issue is his -26 DRS. That is quite scary given that he still has decent athleticism for his age. He belongs nowhere near SS unless it is an emergency, and should see the majority of his fill-in time at 2B. While they still need to add a legit infielder, if only one more significant signing is in the cards I’d prefer Cobb as a solid #3 starter.

    • MattyMets
      January 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      I’m good with bringing back Reyes, Bruce, the two option guys and all the arb eligibles (except maybe Robles) but before we bring the whole band back together, I’ll pass on Walker. His back scares me, as does his streakiness. To properly value Harrison, you have to look at his defense. He’s among the best second baseman in the game. Having that glove between two rookies makes good sense.

      • TexasGusCC
        January 26, 2018 at 5:35 pm

        Matt, the best??? When did that happen? He’s a +6 DRS.

        I understand there aren’t that many full time options to compare him to, but that why 2B is so easy to fill: the requisites are simpler.

        • MattyMets
          January 26, 2018 at 7:56 pm

          Gus, DRS is one of a number of stats to look at. As I pointed out in my post last week, Harrison has consistently been among the league leaders in assists, putouts, range factor, fielding percentage and double plays turned. He makes highlight reel, run saving plays. He’s also a solid to good hitter and base runner. Couple that with the fact that he can bat lead off and play other positions and I think he’d make a better addition than Frazier.

          • TexasGusCC
            January 27, 2018 at 12:25 am

            Better than Frazier, for sure. He checks a l l the boxes. Would love to have him.

  9. Mike Walczak
    January 26, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I can”t argue with your points. How about a trade with the Royals for Whit Merrifield.

  10. Name
    January 26, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    The best thing about this signing… josh smoker finally designated for assignment! Words can’t even describe my excitement!!!! Wish i could capitalize. That’s like 2 wins added because he’s gone.

  11. January 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I agree with this article, especially the point about him being an emergency OFer. If the Mets are really going to go 8 relievers/4-man bench, that flexibility is a needed thing. The backup C shouldn’t play OF and it’s extremely unlikely Flores will, either.

    And good to hear that Smoker is no longer a Met. It was a good pickup on the cheap and it’s not like he didn’t provide a couple of good games. But on the whole he was a disaster and let’s hope that the Callaway/Eiland regime doesn’t try to make every lefty reliever a LOOGY.

    • MattyMets
      January 26, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Brian, funny I had the same scary thought of Flores in the outfield in a pinch. I somehow think he’d be worse than Duda or Murphy out there.

      • Mike Walczak
        January 26, 2018 at 10:41 pm

        Whit Merrifield can play 2B, 3B and in a pinch 1B and outfield. Id be happy with him, Realmuto , Lynn and Watson. I can only dream. Too bad the Nationals are going after Realmuto. That acquisition would put us another step away. But, good riddance to Smoker. Hope he gets claimed.

  12. TexasGusCC
    January 27, 2018 at 12:27 am

    While everyone is toasted the departure of Smoker, doesn’t anyone ask what the heck Reynolds is still doing on the 40 man?

    To use a kid’s phrase in today’s lingo, I think Alderson is trolling Mets fans, knowing they keep waiting for this stiff to be released. He laughs himself to sleep every night while short-changing the roster. He seems to enjoy it annually.

    • Steve S.
      January 27, 2018 at 10:27 am

      I am surprised that Reynolds is still on the roster, but maybe it’s because Alderson cuts him some slack since he was drafted in the second round.

      Hopefully, they will be bringing in another lefty who is much better than Smoker.

      • MattyMets
        January 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

        I suspect someone will pick up Smoker and I wish him well. Hard throwing lefties always find jobs. His lack of control and command of secondary pitches makes him very hittable. Matt Reynolds might be next when we land our 2nd/3rd baseman.

    • Chris F
      January 27, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      Reynolds, Cheech….I mean a log jam of back utility infielders at best. And add Reyes to the list. I honestly dont get it at all.

  13. Metsense
    January 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I like it because Reyes was signed to be the back up infielder and not a starter. His strong second half ,”From June 30 through the end of the season Reyes slashed an impressive.296/.361/.504″ indicates that he can still is productive.

    • Name
      January 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      Those second half stats are kinda misleading because he only really kicked it into gear against quad-A competition.

      Jul 1-Aug 27: .289/.328/.469

      Aug 29 – Sep 30: .300/.389/.527

      • January 27, 2018 at 10:25 pm

        A .797 OPS from your backup infielder would be pretty nice. That’s certainly more than Reynolds and Cecchini would provide.

    • Chris F
      January 27, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      What are Cheech and Flores and Reynolds? Arent they back up infielders?

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