Posted on June 26, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
After several days of growing speculation, the reunion between the New York Mets and former shortstop Jose Reyes became official on Saturday. Reyes was officially free to sign with any major league club at 1 p.m. Saturday, and soon afterwards he signed a minor league deal with the Mets. The team says he will make his minor league return to the Mets organization Sunday with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York Penn League. Reyes will speak to the media for the first time since signing with the Mets after the game.
Reyes signed with the Mets as a teenager in 1999 and was with the organization through the 2011 season. Mets GM Sandy Alderson cited those 12 years with the organization as part of the reason the Mets felt comfortable signing him following his domestic violence arrest last October. “He was a solid citizen during all of that time. And so, if you think of it in those terms, us as a place where Jose grew up, almost as a surrogate family, we felt that he deserved a second chance, and that second chance was most appropriate with us,” Alderson explained.
Alderson also said that he met with Reyes and spoke to him for roughly an hour, largely about the domestic violence issue. “I came away feeling that he had taken responsibility for this mistake on his part, that he was remorseful. He obviously has paid a penalty for this, both financially and in terms of his career. He, I believe, is committed to ongoing counseling and support of organizations working against domestic abuse.”
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After signing with the Mets, Reyes released a statement that read: “As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family. I have completed the counseling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counseling going forward. I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York.”
The Mets will require Reyes to continue undergoing counseling while with the club. The team will pay him the major league minimum, with the Colorado Rockies still on the hook for the vast majority of his salary between now and the end of the 2017 season.
Alderson says that Reyes is likely to spend seven to 10 days in the minors before the team calls him up to the majors. Reyes did play in nine minor league games while still serving his suspension with the Rockies. He’s also been working out since Colorado designated him for assignment. Alderson expects Reyes to play mostly third base while in the minors, but adds that he will be exposed to the outfield to add to his versatility.
Mets manager Terry Collins says he intends to put Reyes in the leadoff spot, which will allow Curtis Granderson to move down in the order to a place where he can drive in runs. Reyes may spend some time at second base and possibly the outfield, but most of his time will be spent at third base, where he will act as a fill-in for his old friend David Wright. A decade ago, Reyes and Wright were the catalysts for the Mets winning the NL East.
Alderson admits there will be some controversy about the Mets signing Reyes after his domestic violence arrest, but he says, “Do I think this is in the best interest of the Mets at this time and the best interest of Jose? Yes, I do.” In terms of what kind of player the Mets are getting, Alderson is “confident we’re going to get the best possible version of today’s Jose Reyes.”