The New York Mets will pick up Jose Reyes’ team option worth the league minimum ($500,000) for the 2017 season, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported on Friday.
Reyes, 33, signed with New York as a minor league free agent on June 25, 2016, shortly after the Colorado Rockies released him. Once a beloved figure with the Mets, Miami Marlins, and Toronto Blue Jays, Reyes’ reputation took a blow after an alleged domestic dispute with his wife, Katherine, in the offseason.
— Chelsea Davis (@ChelseaDavisHNN) November 10, 2015
On Oct. 31, Reyes was arrested after a physical altercation with Katherine, at a hotel in Wailea, Hawaii. Reyes allegedly grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a sliding-glass door. Reyes’ wife did not cooperate with prosecutors in Hawaii, however, and charges were dropped in April.
Following a nine-game stint with the Rockies’ Triple-A team, Reyes was released. The Mets, in need of depth at third base, inked Reyes as a potential stopgap. With Asdrubal Cabrera cemented at shortstop, Reyes’ only hope of helping the Mets — the team he spent his first nine seasons with — would be playing a position he hadn’t played since August 5, 2000, with the Kingsport Mets.
With his wife and children in attendance, Reyes began his 11-game minor league assignment in Brooklyn with the Cyclones. He went o-for-3 in the first game and sounded apologetic for his alleged abuse of his wife.
“I know some people out there are going to be hard on me, and I respect that,” Reyes said at a press conference after the game.”I put myself in that situation. But like I said, I’ll stand up here like a man and admit that I made a bad mistake.”
After hitting 0.176 (6-for-34) through 11 minor league games, Reyes joined the big league squad on July 5, garnering a mixed reaction from the Citi Field crowd. However, Reyes provided the Mets with a spark at the hot corner and on the basepaths, utilizing his trademark speed. Shortly after his promotion, Reyes found himself as the Mets’ leadoff hitter.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) October 21, 2016
A strained intercostal muscle sidelined Reyes for a few weeks in August. After a two-game rehab assignment, he returned to the Mets lineup and led the team’s charge to secure a playoff berth as one of the two National League Wild Cards.
Reyes finished the regular season slashing 0.267/0.326/0.443 with eight home runs, 24 runs batted in, and nine stolen bases in 60 games.
After going 0-for-4 against Madison Bumgarner in the NL Wild Card game on October 5, Reyes reflected on his journey from alleged domestic abuser to postseason sparkplug.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Reyes told the New York Post. “Coming into this year, I didn’t think I’d be in this situation. I’m blessed.”
Entering next season, the Mets have Cabrera under contract, so shortstop isn’t an option. Third base remains a question mark as captain David Wright rehabs from season-ending neck surgery and continues to deal with spinal stenosis. Wilmer Flores, who swatted 16 HRs for the Mets in 2016, underwent wrist surgery but still does not have a defined position. Second base remains wide open as Neil Walker, who missed all of September with back surgery is a free agent. The Mets could offer Walker a qualifying offer worth $17.2 million but he will likely test the market.
T.J. Rivera, who finished the year as the team’s starter at the keystone, remains a possibility to take over the position next season. Therefore, Reyes’ return to the Mets will likely end up with him in a super utility role.
But as Reyes said after re-signing with the Mets, he doesn’t care where he plays, he’s just blessed for the opportunity.
“When you’re coming home, it doesn’t matter what room you sleep in,” Reyes said. “You’re going to feel comfortable because you’re home.”
[Featured Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]