If it were up to Jose Reyes, he’d spend the rest of his major league career at Citi Field. “Did I want to come here? For sure,” the 34-year-old shortstop told reporters. “Do I want to finish my career here? One hundred percent.” He emphasized that point with a pair of home runs during Friday’s 5-1 win over the Reds, boosting his batting line to a still-mediocre .238/.307/.402 as he nears free agency at the end of the season.
Still, it’s clear Reyes has something left in the tank, and whatever he can’t produce on the field, he makes up for in veteran presence and leadership. Comments from club manager Terry Collins indicate that Reyes is a role model in the clubhouse and has played a key part in guiding top infield prospect Amed Rosario over the last month. That, coupled with his relative affordability, could be enough to sway the Mets in his favor.
Finding a role for Reyes on the field is a different story. Asdrubal Cabrera‘s flexibility at short and third base — .266/.337/.415 batting line notwithstanding– could eliminate Reyes from the Mets’ infield mix altogether if the team picks up Cabrera’s $8.5 million option this winter. Backup infielder Matt Reynolds and rookie Gavin Cecchini also give the club some necessary infield depth, though neither have Reyes’ experience in the clubhouse or on the field. And then there’s the not-so-small matter of the domestic violence charges brought against the veteran shortstop in 2016, an issue the team continues to look past after Reyes completed the 52-game suspension mandated by MLB last May.
For now, however, the Mets are sitting pat while the rest of the season plays out. With Cabrera sidelined due to a hamstring issue and Rosario still adjusting to the big leagues, Reyes has a brief window to beef up his second-half stats (.288/.355/.468 with four home runs and an .822 OPS entering Saturday) and tip the scales in his favor this offseason. Collins, though a self-proclaimed fan of the 34-year-old, wouldn’t commit either way when pressed about Reyes’ future. “No doubt about it, Jose Reyes, he’s going to be somewhere,” he said. “And he’ll be playing a lot, too.”