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Reyes Returning Is Not What The Mets Needed

Many have pointed out reasons why Jose Reyesreturning is a good thing for the Mets. Typically speaking, the main arguments in support of Reyes’ return are:

  • He adds a dimension of speed on an otherwise slow roster;
  • He will be present to continue to mentor Amed Rosario;
  • He had a good second half;
  • He’s versatile; and
  • He wants to be a New York Met.

Now, some of these are valid points, but it should be noted that those points are only valid to the extent upon which Mickey Callaway chooses to utilize Reyes and whether the Mets will indeed go out and get another player which would force Reyes to the bench.

However, even conceding some of the positive points about Reyes, he may ultimately prove himself not to be the what the Mets needed for the 2018 roster.

The reason is because Reyes does not solve two of the biggest continuing issues during Sandy Alderson’s regime – Injuries and Defense.

As Mets fans, we have become all too aware this team has been injury prone.  In recent vintage, Travis d’Arnaud has become the poster boy for players that cannot stay on the field.  If it isn’t apt already, that label may also be tagged upon Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis CespedesWilmer Flores, Juan Lagares, and Brandon Nimmo. That’s just on the position player.

Fair or not, that was a label that had once been placed upon Reyes during his first stint with the Mets.  Back then, the team tried everything they could do to keep him on the field including trying to change his running style and having him have extended warm-ups before games.  Now, there was a healthy stretch of Reyes’ career, but overall, he has played over 150 games just five times in a 15 year career.  With him landing on the Disabled List in each of the past five seasons and seven of the last eight years coupled with his turning 35 next year, you would be hard pressed to find a reason why he would be healthy in 2018.

Maybe, the Mets believe Reyes being a part-time player will help keep him healthy.  So far in his career, he has not served in that role, and therefore, it cannot possibly be ruled out that he could remain healthy with reduced playing time.  The next question that needs to be asked is how he would help the team on the field.

This Mets team is built upon pitching.  With Noah Syndergaard hopefully ready to go a full season, a new pitching coach in Dave Eiland, and a new training staff, the hope is the pitching will be ready to take off again next year and help bring the Mets back to the postseason.

One of the elements the Mets would need to help the pitching is the defense, which was putrid last season.  The Mets team defense had an MLB worst -70 DRS.  One of the biggest contributors to that mark was Reyes.

As Mark Simon of Sports Info Solutions pointed out, Reyes had the worst DRS among Major League infielders last year with a -26 DRS.  If not for Denard Span, Reyes would have had the worst DRS in all of baseball.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a matter of Reyes being bad at third base.  Frankly, he was bad everywhere:

Position Innings DRS
2B 207.1 -5
3B 279.0 -5
SS 630.1 -15
OF 6.1 -1

Looking at that, you’d be hard pressed to argue Reyes will help this team in the field.  In the event Reyes has to be a long-term solution at a position due to injury, chances are Reyes will prove to be a poor defender at that position.  This includes second base, where as of the moment, he is the most likely candidate to play the position next year.

All in told, you see why Reyes had a -0.2 WAR last year.  When you factor in his 94 wRC+ last year as well as his averaging a .261/.315/.406 slash line, 0.0 WAR, and a -14 DRS, you wonder why the Mets brought him back let alone give him $2 million and a guaranteed roster spot.

With the second base position remaining unfulfilled, the team only having four healthy outfielders on the 40 man roster, and the Mets in desperate need to improve this club defensively, you should really question whether Reyes was truly the right player, right now to help improve the 2018 Mets.  In reality, the stats say he isn’t.

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