Maybe it wasn’t quite the no-brainer everyone figured it would be a couple of years ago, but the Mets exercised their $11 million option on Jose Reyes for 2011 on Thursday, retaining the shortstop for what will be his ninth season in Queens.
Reyes was healthy for the most part last season after missing most of 2009 with calf and hamstring injuries, but he hit a modest .282/.321/.428 in 133 games. The .749 OPS was well off his career bests of .841 as a 23-year-old in 2006 and .833 in 2008.
Most disturbing about Reyes’ season was his lack of plate discipline. In 2007, he had a fine 77/78 K/BB ratio in 681 at-bats. He walked 66 times in 2008, and in just 36 games in 2009, he drew 18 walks. However, he finished with only 31 walks last season, leaving him with easily his worst on-base percentage since 2005.
Still, there was just no way the Mets could have turned down the option. Reyes may never emerge as the superstar most envisioned him becoming, but even in a down year, he was still one of the league’s better shortstops. Just don’t expect the Mets to pursue a multiyear deal with him this winter. They’ll wait and see how he performs over the first couple of months of next season before they look to go down that road.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.