With holes still waiting to be filled in the infield, Jose Reyes would provide more than just depth for the New York Mets and Amed Rosario knows it.
The New York Mets’ offseason needs have been well-documented to date: An infielder, relief pitchers, an outfielder, and a veteran starter. You would think that all of those needs would culminate into a hefty hit on the Wilpons’ checkbook by winter’s end.
Yet, Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the team’s offseason budget will be held to roughly $30 million. With tight money constraints, the team will need to fill some needs with cheap options.
Enter Jose Reyes, the 34-year-old infielder who was used as a utility player for the Mets the last two seasons. Reyes makes sense for the 2018 Mets for a few reasons.
And now as we start the crawl towards the 2018 season, Reyes is back to lobbying for another contract with the Mets. However, this time Reyes is not alone.
The Mets young phenom at shortstop, Amed Rosario, has made it known publicly that he would like to have his teammate, friend, and mentor back in Queens in 2018.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) December 1, 2017
And that takes us into the next reason for a Jose Reyes reunion: mentorship for the young Rosario. It seems like long ago that Reyes was making his debut in 2003.
From the get-go, he just had that look and you just knew he was a special talent. The same can be said about Rosario. Even though Rosario did not have the most impressive statistical debut, you could see the raw talent he possesses below the surface.
The speed and defense he brought to a club previously bereft of those skills was a shot in the arm. To add to that, he flashed major potential at the plate, specifically with his bat speed.
Having a friend and mentor like Jose Reyes could go a long way in Rosario’s development. Reyes knows the struggles of being a young player doused in the spotlight all to well, dating back to his young Mets career.
At 21 years of age, Reyes was moved to second base full time due to Kazuo Matsui‘s arrival. This change led to a severe decline in play, as his OPS fell from .769 in his rookie year to .644 as a second-year second baseman.
Obviously, the Mets have no intentions to move Rosario from shortstop, but the fact that Reyes understands what a down year feels like and also knows how to deal with that sort of adversity at a young age in New York will go a long way in helping other young players.
Much was made of Reyes’ poor start to the 2017 season, and it was definitely poor. Reyes’ first half was nothing short of brutal as he slashed .215/.284/.370 in 289 at-bats.
There was heavy speculation that the long-time Met would find himself on the street. Reyes put all of that to rest in the second half.
He caught fire and his slash line swelled to .288/.356/.472 as he stole 14 bases and drove in 29 runs in just 212 at-bats. Besides the strong second half, Reyes adds some real value against left-handed pitching.
His splits against lefties in 2017 were productive as he slashed .267/.343/.500 with six home runs in 120 at-bats. That equates to a home run every 20 at bats from the left side, which easily outpaced the mark of teammate Asdrubal Cabrera, who hit a home run roughly every 34 at-bats in 2017 from both sides of the plate.
Overall, Reyes will bring a usable bat, a positive attitude, and the ability to mentor young stud Amed Rosario to Queens. The Mets could use those attributes from a utility bench player making the veteran’s minimum.
Rosario is right, Reyes needs to be in Queens for the 2018 season to take on that role of the King.