By: Belinda Smith

To Jose, or not to Jose: That is the Question


I can close my eyes and hear the sing-songy sound echoing through Citi Field:  “jose jose jose, jo-se, jo-se; jose jose jose, jo-se, jo-se.”

I can see him running towards first, stealing second base, his dreadlocks flying under his cap.  Making the double play.  Scoring a run.

To say that Jose Reyes was a popular Met is an understatement, at the very least.  He was beloved.

He was a catalyst.  Batting leadoff, it was always Jose in the thick of things, or starting the fire that others batting behind would ignite.  He was the spark that started the fire, and I adored him.  I remember during the 2011 season having a heated conversation with my favorite wait server at the Ruth Chris restaurant in Weehawken – Lonnie, if you are reading this – about the whole Jose Reyes situation.  This was at the end of the summer when all of us in Mets Nation knew that Jose was going to become a free agent at the end of the season and were all wondering aloud what on earth the Mets front office was going to do.

Well, we know how the story ended.  Jose became a free agent and signed with the Marlins.  It became a “he said-he said” conversation:  Jose said, at least in the press, that the Mets never came to him to talk about re-signing him.  Remember, lest we all forget, that during the 2011 season Jose did not want to discuss his contract during the season.  And the Mets front office – namely Sandy – elected not to re-sign him.  I was surprised.  But not really all that surprised.

Yes, into everyone life a little rain must fall and we must take the good with the bad.  And with Jose, it is and was the good and the bad:  he steals bases, he worked on being a little more selective at the plate and got his share of walks, he homered and he got on base.  In 13 seasons of professional baseball, Jose Reyes has a .290 batting average.  But here’s the bad:  the injuries.

It seems like every time I looked up, Jose suffered yet another injury.  While researching his statistics this morning, it became glaringly apparent just how frequently Jose Reyes was injured:  2003:  sprained ankle; 2009: calf injury and then a calf tear and THEN a torn right hamstring; 2010:  hyperactive thyroid gland diagnosis and another injury later that year; 2011:  strained left hamstring.  2013:  left ankle fracture; 2014:  minor hamstring strain during spring training and then he aggravated the injury on Opening Day; 2015:  rib strain.

Doesn’t that seem like a lot to you?  Many may beg to differ, thinking that these injuries are just the usual wear and tear of being a major league baseball player.  But we’re not talking the NFL.  We’re talking shortstop.  When you think of all the players who somehow managed to play 150-162 games year in and year out with no injury, I can’t help but wonder:  is Jose Reyes injury prone.  My thoughts? Yes.  The Mets were right in not re-signing him after the 2011 season.

And this brings us to the current situation.  As we all know, Jose was involved in a domestic violence arrest during the 2015-16 off-season.  He was  ultimately DFA’d by the Colorado Rockies on June 15 of this year.  And the rumors have been swirling of late.  In 2015 he played in a total of 132 games with both the Blue Jays and the Rockies and hit .274 with 53 rbi with both teams.

We can’t get nostalgic here.  This is business; not personal.  Lingering questions:  what is the status of the domestic violence arrest?  Jose is 33 years old – the same age as David Wright.  Can he still play?  Can he play the rest of this season – or beyond – relatively injury free?  Can he play third base?  Can he contribute to this lineup?  If they do sign him, where does he bat in the lineup?  Jose loved playing in New York and seemed to thrive on it.  As Josh Lewin noted last night during last night’s broadcast: “whatever nectar is still left for there to squeeze out, what better environment than New York?”.  Even Howie thinks the Mets should give Jose Reyes a second chance.

Or should the Mets focus their energy and attention on Cuban free agent Yulieski Gurriel? MLB notes that Mets GM Sandy Alderson is doing their “due diligence” with him and have scheduled a private workout.

But what do we know for sure – at least, kind of sure:  it feels like the Mets are carefully considering their options with both Jose and Gurriel.  Stay tuned.

About Belinda Smith

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