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Jose Reyes returning to the New York Mets

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Update (2:22 p.m. ET): The N.Y. Mets have officially announced the signing of Jose Reyes

It’s full circle for Jose Reyes.

On Saturday, the New York Mets signed the 33-year-old shortstop, who originally started his career with the club after signing as a teenager from the Dominican Republic in 1999. In his first stint, he spent 12 years with the team and won the National League batting title with the Mets in 2011, hitting .337 and made all of his four All-Star appearances. The move comes out of recent controversial circumstances by Reyes as he was arrested on Oct. 31 after a physical altercation with his wife at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, Hawaii.

Major League Baseball suspended Reyes without pay for his actions through May 31, resulting in him forfeiting $6.25 million. He addressed his actions in a statement in May.

“I want to apologize for everything that has happened,” Reyes stated. “I am sorry to the Rockies organization, my teammates, all the fans and most of all my family. I am happy to put this all in the past and get back to doing what I love most, playing baseball. My wife Katherine has remained by my side throughout everything and for that I will be forever grateful.”

After his suspension, Reyes appeared in nine games for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate Albuquerque, hitting .303 with 2 home runs, 2 RBIs and 2 SBs. With the emergence of current starting shortstop, Trevor Story, the Rockies tried to trade Reyes. The Dominican player has declined in the past several seasons since leaving the Mets and combined with his recent issues, there wasn’t any interest. Yet, once the team decided to designate him for assignment, with the Rockies footing the bill for the remaining $39 million of his contract, the Mets became interested due to some recent personnel issues.

“At the end of the day, we felt that it was best that we part ways — best for the direction of the organization, best for what was going on in the clubhouse and best for Jose,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said last week.

With Mets star third baseman David Wright out indefinitely with a neck injury, the team has struggled offensively and has lacked speed on the bases. ESPN reports that Reyes won’t take Asdrubal Cabrera‘s starting job as shortstop, but will back him up and fill in at second and third base when needed. Team manager Terry Collins, who managed Reyes in 2011, remembers the player’s time at the club fondly.

“One of the things that probably caught my imagination was his joy of playing in New York. He loved it. That’s why he moved there. He loved being there. He loved playing in New York. It’s a tough place, because you’re going to have some bad times and some bad days. But he always had a smile. And when he didn’t, something was wrong, and you knew it. And that was the easiest kind of way to judge that it’s time for a day off.

“In my time around him, he was a joy to be around.”

 

Christian Yelich on Manny Machado: “it was a dirty play by a dirty player”

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As we wrote during last night’s game, the Brewers and Dodgers benches cleared after Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar and Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado exchanged words at first base. The exchange came after Machado dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag (video of the play appears at the bottom of this article). During postgame interviews in the wee hours this morning, a couple of Brewers players took issue with Machado.

Outfielder Christian Yelich did not mince words, saying the play at first was “a dirty play by a dirty player.” When he was done answering questions, he said of Machado, “F**k that motherf***er.”

His comments in full, not including the expletive, which was noted by several assembled reporters:

You all could see how that unfolded. Everyone has their own opinion. He is a player that has a history with those types of incidents. One time is an accident. Repeated over and over again. It’s a dirty play. It’s a dirty play by a dirty player. I have a lot of respect for him as a player but you can’t respect someone who plays the game like that. it was a tough-fought baseball game. It has no place in our game. We’ve all grounded out. Run through the bag like you’ve been doing your whole life like everybody else does. If it’s an accident it’s an accident. On the replay to us, it clearly looks like you clearly go out of your way to step on someone. It just has no place in our game. It’s unacceptable. I don’t know what his problem is honestly. I’ve played against him for a long time. It has no place in the game.

Travis Shaw had his opinion too:

“Dirty play. You saw the replay. He can say all he wants that he didn’t do it, but it’s pretty obvious he meant to do it. He’s shown it multiple times throughout his career. I mean, it’s just a dirty play. A kick to his leg right there. It was not by mistake.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was also asked about Machado and whether he thought the play was dirty. Counsell declined to say so explicitly, but he clearly signaled that he agreed with his players, all while taking a pretty sharp swipe at Machado in his own way. At least when you remember that’s that, in baseball, the usual defense to playing “dirty” is that the guy involved is actually just “playing hard”:

Q. Two things: How did you see the play with Machado at first base? And given that, combined with the slides, do you think he’s going to beyond the grounds of playing hard?

Counsell: I don’t know. I guess they got tangled up at first base. I don’t think he’s playing all that hard.

So yes, I’d say that’s Counsell implying strongly that he thinks the play was dirty while simultaneously taking a swipe at Machado for being lazy. Which, let’s be honest, is also a fair charge given recent events.

For his part, Machado — who did apologize to Aquilar later in the game — said, “I play baseball, I try to go out there and win for my team. If that’s their comments, that’s their comments, I can’t do nothing about that.” Which, should be noted, is not a denial.

As we’ve noted, this was not the first incident involving Machado on the base paths in this series. In Game 3 Machado twice attempted to interfere with Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia at the second base bag, getting called for interference on the second one. Anyone watching the play with Aguilar could see that Machado was trying to interfere with him too.

It may be worth noting at this point that, four years ago, Machado was suspended for five games for throwing a bat at a guy.

The Dodgers are no doubt happy with their victory, but there are likely a lot of players around the game — including, I would imagine, players on his own team — who are not too happy with what Machado has shown this series.

UPDATE: Even Dodgers luminary Orel Hershisher called out Machado’s play as dirty on the Dodgers’ very own TV network.