The New York Mets have gotten next-to-nothing with regard to on-field production from Jose Reyes so far in 2018. However, he’s currently not in danger of losing his roster spot.
Jose Reyes knew that this year with the New York Mets was going to be very different from any other season he’s experienced in the majors. When the veteran infielder re-signed over the winter for one-year and $2 million, it was with the understanding that he’d be a bench player.
That adjustment has been a rough one. Through 56 plate appearances, he’s hitting just .132/.179/.189 with one home run, one RBI, five runs scored, and two stolen bases. Among position players with at least 50 plate appearances in 2018, Reyes owns the fifth-worst wRC+ in baseball.
While one could assume he’d be on the verge of losing his roster spot, that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment. Manager Mickey Callaway talked about what Reyes brings to the clubhouse, specifically talking about his impact on young shortstop Amed Rosario, via Anthony Rieber of Newsday:
“We signed Reyes to do a job and have to continue to put him out there to allow him a chance to do that job. I think there’s more baseball left in Jose, but I don’t really make all those roster decisions. I obviously have feedback, but as far as I’m concerned, Jose’s a big part of this team and we’ll continue to go out there and allow him to try to have some success. He has a huge impact on Rosie. I think that he’s really good for Rosie and what Rosie’s trying to do at the major-league level, which is a very difficult thing, and to continue to develop. Jose has a lot of influence over that.”
Transitioning into a part-time role after being an everyday player for the vast majority of one’s career isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s going to take time, and for right now, it appears New York is willing to stay patient as he makes the adjustment.
Outside of how he helps Rosario, this probably also has to do with the Mets’ current outfield situation. With Juan Lagares likely out for the year, New York doesn’t have a whole lot of depth there. That’s evidenced by Dominic Smith playing right field for the first time ever and the club signing the recently-cut Jose Bautista.
Reyes has played just 5.1 career innings in the outfield, but New York has given him some reps out there in the past. Until they sort out their outfield situation — or Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list — Reyes is at least another option for Callaway to use if he’s in a bind.
It appears as though the longtime Met is safe for now, but one has to imagine the rope is at least getting shorter as his struggles continue.