Ahh the offseason. As the MLB Playoffs near their end, the hot stove is beginning to warm up. The Mets will have several questions to answer this offseason and none bigger than the multi million dollar question in left field. However in their first move of the offseason in regards to the big league roster, the Mets have announced they will be bringing back shortstop turned third baseman Jose Reyes. Extending the four-time All Star will only cost the Mets the league minimum of $507,500, as the Colorado Rockies are still on the hook for $22 million.
It’s a move many Mets fans will not oppose to after Reyes provided the club with unmeasurable energy and leadership down the stretch of the season. He proved many doubters wrong including a portion of the Mets fan base who were originally opposed to his return to Queens. There were obvious reasons as to why a portion of the fanbase did not want Reyes back, including his domestic violence arrest and his declining play a season ago. However Reyes proved to be the ultimate professional during his time last season with the Mets and proved he still has plenty of baseball left in the tank. The 33-year old third baseman hit .267 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs in 60 games. He also accumulated nine stolen bases and 45 runs scored during that timeframe.
Reyes is expected to split time with David Wright next season at the hot corner. There is no guarantee as to how Wright will look coming off another serious season-ending injury, but either way Reyes provides the club with insurance at third base. Reyes could even be viewed as the Opening Day third baseman at this point with many questions surrounding the health of David Wright.
In another move the Mets have declined the $10 million option on Jon Niese’s contract and instead will buy him out for $500,00. This move was all but expected after Niese struggled in his return to New York after the Trade Deadline, and then ultimately had a knee injury end his season early. I think it’s safe to say, I don’t believe we will see Niese back with the Mets a third time around.
The Mets are currently playing to keep their season alive over the next two days in St. Louis, and the Mets have two players on the roster who are doing everything they possibly can to keep their dreams of October alive.
Jose Reyes has been everything the Mets wanted when they signed him back on June 25th. While he got off to a slow start, he has really turned it on as of late and has kept the Mets offensively afloat with his ability to get on base and score runs. Over his last five games, which have been critical games for the Mets, Reyes has hit .429 with a .478 on-base percentage and has scored five runs. Reyes actually accounted for three of the Mets seven runs in last night’s game and he reached base four times. Having a table setter at the top of the lineup with speed is something the Mets have been looking for all season and they finally have it at their disposal. The 33-year old’s glove has also been steady at third base only accounting for one error in the 157 innings he’s played there thus far. We all heard the stories about how Reyes rubbed his teammates in Colorado the wrong way and it had to have been tough on him getting traded from a playoff team to a team in the bottom-half of the league in the middle of the season. His motivation may not have fully been there in Colorado, but we are seeing a fully energized and motivated Reyes who wants to help the Mets reach the postseason. Reyes is also playing himself on to the team for next season and I’m glad we have one of our own homegrown players helping lead the charge to October.
The way Yoenis Cespedes goes is the way the Mets go and that is something we have seen over the past season and a half with the Mets. Cespedes is the unquestioned team leader and his impact has been felt since returning to the lineup on Friday night. Over his last four games since returning, the 30-year old slugger has hit .412 with three home runs and five RBIs. Oh yeah the Mets are also 3-1 in those four games and have a chance to be right in the middle of the Wild Card race again with victories in the next two games against the Cardinals. There is no question that the Mets need Cespedes down the stretch but also beyond that. We haven’t seen a player be able to change the dynamic of the Mets lineup since the Mets had Carlos Beltran. I can’t imagine the team without Cespedes going into the future as he has led this team to the World Series once, and he is going to try and use his heroics again to make a late season push for the Mets. In 155 games played since being acquired by the Mets, Cespedes has posted a .292 average with 42 home runs and 108 RBIs. Those are numbers that could be comparable to a full season and he has more than proven the New York spotlight is not too big for him. We will all be riding Cespedes’ coattails down the stretch with the hopes of playing in October. We also will be hoping that the Mets are able to make sure Cespedes is a part of the future of the team come this winter as well.
Jose Reyes as expected, has been activated prior to tonight’s game, and is in the starting lineup, batting leadoff and starting at third base for the first time in his career. Infielder Matt Reynolds has been optioned back to AAA Las Vegas in a corresponding move. Third baseman David Wright has also been transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Reyes on the 40-man roster.
Reyes was 6-34 (.176) with six runs scored and two RBI in 11 games between Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League and Brooklyn (A) of the New York-Penn League. Reyes was signed to a minor league contract by the Mets on June 25 following his release from the Colorado Rockies. Reyes hit .274 with 25 doubles, seven home runs and 53 RBI in 116 games between Toronto and Colorado last year.
Reyes who came up with the Mets back in 2003, played for the Mets until 2011 before departing as a free agent to the Miami Marlins. Reyes is the franchise leader in stolen bases (370), triples (99) and ranks third in hits (1,300) and second in runs (735). It also has been announced that Reyes will wear his customary #7, and Travis d’Arnaud will switch his number to #18.
It is expected that Reyes will primarily play third base, although Terry Collins suggested prior to tonight’s game that Reyes could possibly see time in center field as well. All in all Reyes can provide much-needed speed at the top of the lineup for a Mets team that is devoid of it. Reyes also seems to be rejuvenated to be back in New York, and he has taken one of the best approaches towards addressing his domestic violence incident compared to many other athletes who have been in the same situation.
It is a great low risk addition for a Mets ballclub who has struggled with speed on the bases, and there is nobody better to take a flyer on than one of the greatest Mets players of all time.
Welcome home Jose and let’s go Mets!