The career of Jose Reyes is on the precipice of either reclamation or total collapse. The former All-Star shortstop who returned to the New York Mets last season as a mea culpa for his past personal demons, is mired an ugly slump to start the 2017 season.
Reyes’ line reads like this: 19 games, 67 at bats, 7 hits, 5 runs score, 2 doubles, no triples, no homers, no RBI, and only 1 stolen base. His batting average a woeful .104, and his on base percentage is equally lacking at .189.
At 33-years-old, Reyes is at a crossroads that many athletes find themselves at this point in their careers. Reyes is old enough to question whether his best days are behind him. He is also young enough to bounce back and put together a fine season. The Mets however, may not have that much time to wait and find out.
While Reyes is not the sole reason for the club’s disapointing 8-11 start to the season (there is plenty of blame to go around), Reyes’ inability to produce at the top of the lineup has created a huge quagmire for the Mets. They need someone to set the table for this offense, and right now that player isn’t on this team.
Terry Collins has had to mix and match with Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson and even Michael Conforto at the top of the lineup, and the Mets have only played 19 games this season. Ironically it is Conforto, a player better suited for the middle of the lineup, who has been the most productive in the leadoff spot hitting .438, with three homers and three RBI. Compare those numbers to Reyes, who has one hit in 29 at bats (.034 average) in the leadoff spot this year.
Should the Mets cut Reyes? If the problems at the plate continue they may have to think about it. Keep in mind that decision is also factored into the Mets issues at third base. With David Wright out for the long-term the Mets have no natural third baseman on this current roster. Reyes has been playing third since last season, and while he has been ‘ok’ at the hot corner, he is out of position.
Enter Amed Rosario. Rosario is the new Reyes. While he is bigger in stature than Reyes, Rosario is younger, 21, and is said to have all the skills that Reyes once hand when he was the Mets ignition switch from 2003 to 2011. Oh, and by the way, Rosario has moved over to third base in recent days.
In 18 games at Triple-A Las Vegas, Rosario is hitting .414 with 29 hits, 34 total bases, eight RBI, and five stolen bases. He is not a power hitter but a player built on speed and defense. While Rosario is a natural short stop, much like Reyes, the Mets want to see how Rosario handles third. This could be a long-term experiment down on the farm, which would mean the Mets would bite the bullet with Reyes for several more weeks.
If Rosario is too green in the gills for third, the Mets could promote their 2012-second round pick Matt Reynolds, who already had a taste of the majors last season. At age 27, now might be time to give Reynolds a legitimate opportunity.
Again cutting Reyes might seem like a tough decision, considering how much he once meant to the franchise. But his return to New York was really just a flyer to see if he could help the team with Wright down and out. If the Mets have a better option they need to use it.