SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are trying to get infielder José Reyes to agree to hold a retirement news conference. We learned last week that the Mets were considering releasing him, but he has a lot of backers in the organization who want to give him a proper sendoff.
The Mets enter Sunday night’s action on an eight-game losing streak. Reyes, who turns 35 years old on Monday, is batting .139/.205/.194 in 78 plate appearances. Among hitters with at least 70 plate appearances this season, the only ones with a lower OPS than Reyes’ (.399) are Pat Valaika (.359), Kole Calhoun (.374), Eric Sogard (.379), and Byron Buxton (.383). It certainly makes sense to get rid of Reyes to free up his roster spot for a more productive player.
As Martino notes, Reyes may still want to play, which would complicate a retirement news conference. He may prefer to be released so he can try pursuing an opportunity elsewhere. The market for old, poor-fielding infielders with a sub-.400 OPS will likely be thin, however.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.