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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.”

 

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.