The Rockies announced today that shortstop Jose Reyes has been reinstated from the restricted list and designated for assignment. Reyes, 33, has been on a minor league rehab assignment after completing a 52-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy but will not get the chance to suit back up for the Rockies, who acquired him in last summer’s Troy Tulowitzki blockbuster as a means of offsetting some of Tulo’s salary for the Blue Jays.
Reyes was arrested in Hawaii on Halloween last year and had charges of domestic abuse filed against him by his wife, though he ultimately plead not guilty, and the charges were dropped shortly before a criminal trial was to occur on Opening Day. Nevertheless, commissioner Rob Manfred saw enough evidence to punish Reyes with a suspension that ran through the end of May and cost him two months of his salary, or roughly $7.09MM.
In Reyes’ absence, the Rockies saw Trevor Story emerge as a unequivocally superior option at shortstop. The power production of Story, who is batting .265/.318/.553 with 17 homers, paired with Reyes’ on-field struggles and off-field baggage, created what would appear to be an easy decision for the Rockies. Colorado had reportedly had some trade talks regarding Reyes, and GM Jeff Bridich in late May wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of moving him, all of which pointed to the possibility that Reyes had played his last game as a member of the Rockies, which is now indeed the case.
The Rockies will have 10 days to trade or release Reyes, though I can’t imagine why they’d waste any time in putting him on release waivers, as they’ve had ample opportunity to work out a trade to this point but had no success. While Colorado saved the aforementioned $7.09MM of Reyes’ $22MM salary due to the suspension, they’ll still pay him $14.9MM this season overall. There’s about $13.1MM of that sum remaining through season’s end, and the Rox will owe him $22MM next season as well in addition to a buyout of $4MM on his 2018 club option.
Other clubs around the league will have the opportunity to sign Reyes for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum once he does clear release waivers — clearly, no team will claim him and that exorbitant salary — though doing so will obviously come with myriad public relations concerns as well as questions about his ability to perform on the field. Despite the offense-inducing nature of Coors Field, Reyes posted just a .259/.291/.368 in 208 plate appearances with Colorado following last year’s trade, and he’s no longer defensively capable of playing even an average shortstop.