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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.