Jose Reyes ended his second half extremely strong, and the soon-to-be free agent needs to be re-signed by New York.
Reyes, the 34 year old utility infielder, has expressed his desire to remain a Met. Whether that means playing around the infield, or even coming off the bench, he wants to stay in orange and blue. There is uncertainty regarding Reyes’ future in New York, as the Mets are likely to pick up Asdrubal Cabrera‘s option. It would make sense then that, if the Mets do pick up Cabrera’s option, they skip on signing Reyes.
However, the Mets have got to keep him. First, if he really wants to finish his career as a Met that badly, Reyes will not ask for so much money. One would assume that it should not be a difficult process of negotiations with a player who is so loyal to his team. Will he play for the league minimum? Probably not, but there’s a chance he might if he doesn’t have much interest from other clubs.
Also, Reyes has stated that while he is willing to come off the bench, he still has a lot left in his tank to be an everyday contributor. Reyes finished the year batting .246 with 15 homers and 58 RBI. Yes, those are weak overall numbers, but they were mainly affected by his horrible start to the season. In the second half, Reyes registered an OPS of .828. His average was not .300, no, but it was a solid .288. His on-base percentage could have been higher if he drew more walks, of course, but .356 wasn’t all that bad either.
Reyes also brings another quality to the team even at age 34 that they lack: speed. Reyes stole 24 bases in 2017, the most on the Mets by far. Speed on the base paths for the Mets has been an issue for many years, and Reyes was able to collect a good amount this year.
While Reyes’ second half proved that he’s still capable of playing every day, or at least nearly every day, he has also shown quality veteran leadership skills. When Mets top prospect Amed Rosario was called up, Reyes took it upon himself to welcome him to the big league club, be his mentor, and was able to connect to him. Rosario and Reyes are now very close, and Rosario credits his middle infield partner for being a mentor for him during his brief stint in the MLB.
Additionally, there have been many players who have said that Reyes always brings energy. For the Mets to go far, they would need Reyes’ presence and leadership in 2018.
Finally, even if the Mets do keep Cabrera, there is still room for Reyes. The Mets can have a deep infield bench, led by Reyes, Wilmer Flores, and potentially T.J. Rivera (assuming one of them starts). For the Mets to go deep into the playoffs, they cannot rely on young, inexperienced players to be top options off the bench. For instance, Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds have not proven themselves yet to be on a major league roster for a contending team.
Both on and off the field, Reyes is so versatile, there’s nothing to lose by keeping him. Whether he comes off the bench or starts, the Mets must do anything to retain the beloved Met, Jose Reyes.