I always loved Jose Reyes. However, I wasn't overly upset when the Mets decided not to re-sign him after the 2011 season. Reyes had just won the National League batting crown and was due for a huge pay day. Like most Mets' fans we knew that one player wasn't going to win a championship and with a limited payroll the Mets needed money.
At that point the luster of Reyes had already start to wear off. Reyes was still an above average player but at times looked lazy in the field. While I have no inside knowledge I also felt he was a bad influence on younger players. David Wright emerged as a leader of the Mets while Reyes emerged as cocky and arrogant. Most people may have confused this with energetic and fun.
The Marlins Miami signed Reyes as part of their rebuilding and re-branding in the winter of 2012. However, their rebuilding didn't last long and they tore it down trading Reyes the following November.
It seemed that Reyes had found a home in Toronto. However, in the middle of the 2015 pennant chase the Blue Jays decided to jump at the chance to acquire premier shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and sent Reyes to Colorado. Reyes was traded from a contender to a team in the basement.
Here we are in 2016. Reyes has had stints in Miami, Toronto, Colorado, and jail cell after a he was arrested for assaulting his wife in October 2015. The charges were dropped but MLB suspended him 51 games for violating their domestic violence policy. Eventually the Rockies designated him for assignment making him a free agent.
The Mets are in desperate need of a spark for their struggling offense and all reports are pointing to Reyes/Mets reunion.
Could Reyes be redeemed? Could he live up to the promise he once had as 19 year old and lead the Mets to championship? I think he can and here's the reason why.
He's a beaten (no pun intended) man. He's hit rock bottom. Suspended 51 games for violating the leagues' domestic violence policy. Released by the Rockies, one of the worst teams in baseball. And oh yeah, watched two of his former teams celebrate in the playoffs last season.
Reyes just turned 33 years old and still has the talent. The Mets are last in the National League with 13 stolen bases. Only the Baltimore Orioles have less stolen bases in MLB then the Mets with 12. Reyes gives the Mets a much needed speed and stolen base threat. In his career he's averaged 50 stolen bases a season. Even if he's lost a step or two he's still a major improvement for the Mets.
Reyes is also a table setter. He gets on base. Currently, the Mets are 24th in baseball with a .308 on-base percentage. Reyes has averaged .339 in his career. However, he did see that drop to .291 in 2015.
However, the biggest contribution Reyes could give the Mets is leadership. Yes, leadership. Reyes has seen a lot in his 14 years and he's been through a lot. He understands the game and the business. He can teach the younger players from his mistakes and help them gel as a team...something the Mets need.
This may be the last chance for Reyes. He has a lot to prove not only to himself but to the rest of baseball.
I want to believe the arrogant, cocky kid is gone and the experienced veteran remains. I want to believe Reyes can help the Mets win a championship. I want to believe Reyes can rectify any problems in his personal life. I want to believe...
But it all depends on him.
In the famous words of Mets legend Tug McGraw, "Ya Gotta Believe!"