Earlier this week, I wrote a post titled “Jose Reyes Ain’t Happening“. I made a mistake. I probably should have titled the post “Jose Reyes Shouldn’t Happen” because that’s really what the post was about. I talked about how he physically assaulted his wife in Hawaii which is the obvious reason we shouldn’t have signed him. I talked about how he’s a shortstop, and we have no need for one. He’s played 0 games at third base in his career and 43 at second base (in 2004) and now we expect him to magically become a utility man overnight. All those facts made no difference to the Mets.
Here we are today, and the Mets are officially bringing Jose Reyes back to Queens. In hindsight, this was the most obvious move ever. No it wasn’t obvious because of his talent or what he brings to the team. No this was obvious because it’s a Wilpon slam dunk. Jose will sell tickets, and he’s free. He’s literally going to cost the Mets the league minimum. I’m sure Jeff will be cancelling the Yulieski Gourriel workout. No more expensive Cubans for the Wilpons. Instead, Jeff Wilpon is buying Jose Reyes at the absolute lowest point in his career and personal life. Diminishing skills? Doesn’t matter to Jeff Wilpon. Domestic violence scandal? No biggie for Jeff. As long as he will play a couple months, steal a few bases, and do that thing where he thrusts his curved arm in the air when he slides safely into a base. That’s all Jeff wants. Tickets tickets dollars dollars baby. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise. We are talking about an ownership group that was linked to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and a sexual harassment lawsuit. Integrity has never really been the Wilpon’s signature trait.
Jose Reyes served his MLB suspension and donated $100,000 to a domestic violence prevention charity. A lot of people feel that those facts coupled with the belief that he’s “shown remorse” somehow makes it acceptable to welcome him back to the game. This view just reinforces the reality that people are willing to selectively forgive professional athletes and people in general for certain crimes. Jose Reyes the professional athlete? Yeah sure he threw his wife through a sliding glass door, but he’s sorry and he was punished so yeah he’s forgiven. What about former steroid users that are still outcasts in the game to this day? What about the guy who gets arrested as a youth for possession of drugs and down the road he can’t get a job at a well respected institution because of his record? Why don’t we forgive those people? That’s what I mean by selective forgiveness. That reality obviously goes beyond the Jose Reyes debate and speaks to a larger problem with society. I’m not sitting here offering a solution for it. All I’m doing here is acknowledging the problem.
If you factor all the criminal matters out of the equation, Jose is deserving of a major league roster spot purely based on his talent. He has something left to give to the game. He’s a better roster option than Matt Reynolds based on his talent. But the Rockies certainly weren’t willing to “factor out the criminal element” and I’m sure a lot of other teams wouldn’t have been willing to do that either. We’ll never know because Reyes was able to go to his first choice. Good for Jeff. I wish I was there when the Mets conducted their “character review”.
And by the way, I’m not going to sit here and say there’s no part of me that’s excited about the return of Jose Reyes. Jose and David Wright were obviously my two favorite players when I watched the Mets in high school and college. I’ll never forget when Jose was the most electrifying player in the game. The part of me that’s excited is the kid who used to love to watch Jose play. The adult part of me that would never commit an act of violence against the people I love wants nothing to do with him. Whatever. The Mets made their decision. What’s done is done. I’m not boycotting baseball. I’m not walking out on the Mets. Whatever that says about me so be it. At least I voiced my opinion on the issue.
All that being said, I really have no idea what the Mets are planning to do with Jose. Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker are below average defenders by all advanced metrics, but they’ve been solid and dependable up the middle this season for the Mets. They’ve developed a rapport. I don’t think it’s wise to just move them to make room for Jose. It seems silly. So that means Jose will be tossed over to third base and expected to learn the position on the fly. The Mets even talked about playing him in the outfield. The Mets are essentially acting like this is the Matrix, and they can just upload the outfielder/utility infielder program to Reyes’ brain. Except in reality, the only “uploading” the Mets will be doing is giving Jose two weeks in Vegas to learn every position. The odds are he’ll be injured before he even leaves Sin City.
Jose is back. We’ve seen this movie before. Even though he’s not the same player he once was, he’ll make some electric plays, get some big hits, steal some big bases, and before the season is done he’ll wind up on the DL. I guess since he’s now playing the role of utility man instead of franchise shortstop, it won’t be a big deal when he goes down. Hopefully he helps the Mets win some ball games. Let’s see what he’s got left.