9:11pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports has the scoop on the incentives in Reyes’ contract. The veteran will earn an additional $250K after reaching 500 plate appearances during the 2018 season, and an additional $250K for hitting the 550 PA mark.
Jan. 26, 4:07pm: The Mets have announced the signing.
Jan. 25: The Mets have agreed to re-sign infielder Jose Reyes, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It’s a one-year, $2MM deal that also includes up to $500K in achievable incentives, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
While this move may not bring quite the impact Mets fans have been hoping for from an infield signing, it seems the plan is not to utilize Reyes as a regular. Instead, per Rosenthal, the club still hopes to find an everyday choice to line up at second base.
Presumably, then, Reyes will join Wilmer Flores as a roving infield asset. Both players could see time at second and third, while the former may also see action against lefties at first base.
Reyes, a 34-year-old switch-hitter who starred for the Mets earlier in his career, obviously has a strong relationship with the New York organization. After all, the team agreed to bring him back in 2016 after Reyes served a lengthy suspension for an awful domestic abuse incident. He’ll now open his third-straight season (and twelfth overall) with the Mets.
Last year, Reyes ended up seeing quite a lot of action as the Mets dealt with injuries and ultimately traded away several veterans. In 561 plate appearances, he slashed .246/.315/.413 (good for a 94 wRC+) with 15 home runs and 24 steals. It is worth noting, too, that he performed much better in the second half after a rough opening to the season. (Of course, that may mostly be explained by the shifting winds of fortune; Reyes carried a .222 BABIP through 323 plate appearances and .323 thereafter.)
Interestingly, defensive metrics split widely on Reyes’s effort last year, as he split time between short, third, and second. DRS viewed him as markedly subpar infielder, while UZR graded him as a more or less average performer. Accepting the marks of the Defensive Runs Saved system, Reyes was a roughly replacement-level player. Working from Ultimate Zone Rating, on the other hand, and mixing in highly-rated baserunning, led Fangraphs to credit Reyes with 2.0 fWAR in 2017.