Jose Reyes is playing hurt and might be rewarded by becoming the Mets’ first batting champion. At the same time Reyes is giving us a peak into the future, into the last few years of a multi-year contract he is seeking and the image isn’t pretty.
Reyes was set up to steal last night, but made no move toward second. Later, he looked gimpy going from first to third. Over the past week he hit a double that was a triple earlier this season.
He hasn’t tripled since July 21 and has one steal attempt since Aug. 29. He’s also been off defensively without the range we’ve come to expect. He’s essentially become a singles hitter since July 21 with only eight extra base hits.
“It’s not the same,” Reyes said last night. “Early in the season, I was healthy. It’s not the same now because I just came off the disabled list. I don’t want to blow up my leg running like crazy out there. If I feel good, I run like crazy, but now my leg’s not where it needs to be. That’s why I’m not going to go crazy.”
Reyes is in a no-win situation. If he doesn’t play and goes into the winter coming off the disabled list he hurts his negotiating position. But, he is also sabotaging his desire for a long-term, $100-million plus deal by playing, even if he wins the batting title.
Reyes makes his living with his legs and he’s playing without them now, the way he could be in five or six years.
The rap on Reyes is his injury history, early in his career and now the past three seasons. That issue – underscored by two trips to the disabled list this year – is shaving millions and likely years off his next contract.
When Reyes goes crazy, as he puts it, he shows us how great he can be and that he could possibly be worth all that money. He’s showing us he’s special.
But, what he’s showing us now is what could be the last few years of his contract and that isn’t special. It has to be worrisome for potential buyers because you don’t pay that kind of money for a singles hitter.