Jose Reyes reported to Mets camp yesterday ahead of schedule, stepped onto a field for the first time since August, and declared himself back to “normal” again after missing all but 36 games last season with a torn hamstring.
Reyes said that he’s “been feeling very good” lately and admitted that he “tried to come back too soon” at the training staff’s urging last season, leading to a partial tear becoming a full tear that required surgery.
Here’s a longer Reyes quote, from Adam Rubin’s article in the New York Daily News:
I have to think it’s over. I’m working for that. I’m working so hard to try to stay healthy. I have to be strong in my mind. Hopefully that will never happen again. I’m really happy just to be here. It’s exciting just to be on the field for the first time.
Given all the Mets’ problems last year it seems kind of silly to point to one player’s return as crucial, but in the previous three seasons Reyes batted .292 with a .355 on-base percentage and .461 slugging percentage while averaging 66 extra-base hits, 66 steals, and 118 runs. Getting that production atop the lineup and his strong defense at shortstop for 150 games this year would go a long way toward turning the team around.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.