Please No More Jose Reyes
No matter what you thought of the signing then, on a personal level or otherwise, Reyes did perform on the field in 2016. On a pure player analysis decision, the Mets were right about bringing Reyes back in 2017, especially when Reyes was slated to return to the Mets for the Major League minimum.
Now, the Mets are in a position to decide whether they want Reyes to be a part of the 2018 plans. There have been rumors the Mets are still interested in bringing Reyes back, and depending on what happens this offseason, they are inclined to bring him back as the team’s second baseman.
On a pure analysis of his 2017 season, the Mets should not be interested in bringing back Reyes as an everyday player. In fact, there’s legitimate reason to believe the team shouldn’t even bring him back as a utility player.
There is no doubt Reyes had the worst season of his career last year. It is difficult to expect him to turn things around when he is going to turn 35 next season.
Even if you are likely to buy into some short sample split from last season, it needs to be noted Reyes has been gradually declining since he left the Mets. In his two last full seasons, 2015 and 2017, Reyes has had a wRC+ and OPS+ below 100. He hasn’t been particularly good in the field either with his not having posted a positive DRS season at any position since 2007. That was a decade ago.
Last season, Reyes had a negative DRS at four different positions. Specifically, at second base, the position the Mets are considering playing him next season, Reyes had a -5 DRS in just 207.0 innings there. For those who complained about Daniel Murphy‘s defense at second base, Reyes had a statistically worse DRS per innings played than Murphy did last year. By the way, last year was Murphy’s worst year defensively.
Taking everything into account, it should be no surprise that Reyes had a -0.6 WAR. It was the first time in his entire career he had a negative WAR.
Realistically speaking, even if you believe Reyes can’t be as bad as he was last year, can you really argue he’s going to be a good baseball player? Based upon the decline, and the team not surrounding him with strong players on the field or in the lineup, it’s even more difficult to make a case for Reyes.
In the end, you’re left with emotional reasons for keeping Reyes. This includes his place in Mets history, and his relationship with Amed Rosario. To that end, it should be noted that relationship did not produce on-the-field results for the über prospect.
Overall, it’s time to admit Reyes can no longer be counted on to be an everyday player. There is a real question about his viability as a bench player for a team with at least purported designs on being competitive next year. At most, Reyes deserves a minor league deal, with an invitation to Spring Training and real competition to make the team.