Jose Reyes has been awful this year, hitting .141/.208/.197 in 77 plate appearances and ranking as the fifth worst player in baseball. That performance (or lack thereof) follows a season in which he hit a barely competent .246/.315/.413 and was sub-replacement level (per Baseball-Reference) thanks to terrible defense around the diamond. As Reyes approaches his 35th birthday, it is abundantly clear that he is through as a useful major league player.
And yet the Mets continue to hang onto him. Why? According to Mike Puma of the New York Mets, it’s because of Reyes’ “roots in the organization” and the team’s desire to give him “a proper sendoff.”
Mets officials have discussed releasing Jose Reyes, but are conflicted given Reyes' roots in the organization. Mets want Reyes receiving a proper sendoff.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) June 6, 2018
These concerns seem misguided for at least four different reasons:
- If the Mets really valued Reyes so much, they would have re-signed him back in 2012, when he was coming off his best season. It seems silly to let him walk in his prime, then cling to him as a franchise hero when he’s washed up.
- Reyes is hardly some model citizen who deserves endless ovation. In 2015 he was suspended 51 games for allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat and shoving her into a glass door, sending her to the hospital.
- The Mets presumably still hope to make the playoffs this season, and they’ll need all the help they can get to turn around their 27-31 record and overcome their fourth-place standing. From that perspective, this feels like a poor time for sentimentality.
- If the Mets really feel the need to honor Reyes, they could do what the Yankees did with Alex Rodriguez a few years ago and announce his release a day or two in advance, giving him a final chance to play in front of the home crowd. If Reyes is not interested in that kind of arrangement… well, he’ll have to wait until post-retirement to get a standing ovation at Citi Field.
Eventually, the Mets will wise up and let Reyes go. But until then, they’ll be carrying one of the worst players in baseball on a roster that has enough problems as is. Sendoffs are cool. Winning, most teams would agree, is better.