Reyes, who began his MLB career with the Mets in 2003 and played nine seasons in Queens, was released by his 2015 team, the Colorado Rockies, on Thursday. The Rockies were prohibited from trading Reyes during his suspension, and upon his return he played nine games for Class AAA Albuquerque, hitting .303 with 2 home runs, 2 RBI and 3 steals in 33 at-bats. He will begin his return to the Mets at Class A Brooklyn.
“As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family,” Reyes, 33, said in a statement. “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.”
Said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, also in a statement: “We made the decision to offer a contract to Jose after extensive consideration and discussion with Jose, his representatives, Major League Baseball and various departments at the Mets. We are convinced that Jose has accepted responsibility for his actions and their consequences and have confirmed he is taking steps beyond those prescribed by MLB, including ongoing counseling. Accordingly, we believe he deserves a second chance to return to our organization.”
The Rockies will have to pay Reyes the remaining $39 million left on his contract with them, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, minus the $507,500 MLB minimum he will make with the Mets. Though the four-time all-star has seen his stolen-base numbers decline in recent seasons — Reyes led the league in each season from 2005 to 2007 — he still likely will provide a boost to a team whose stolen base leader (the injured David Wright) has all of three in 2016. The question, now, is where to play him: Asdrubal Cabrera has the shortstop position locked up, which means Manager Terry Collins could move Reyes all over the field, perhaps even to the outfield.
“We took Matt Reynolds and put him out there with no experience at all,” Collins told Rubin, bringing up the rookie infielder who started Wednesday’s game against the Royals in left field. “This guy is as good an athlete as certainly Matt is. He’s got the arm. He’s got the foot speed for it. These are just things we’re tossing around.”
Police in Hawaii arrested Reyes on Oct. 31 after he got into an altercation with wife Katherine in their room at the Four Seasons Resort Maui. Police say Reyes grabbed his wife by the throat and shoved her into a sliding glass door during an argument, and the hotel security guard who called 911 said she suffered injuries to her face and left leg and had scratches on her neck.
Some observers, like sportswriter Molly Knight, took issue with the signing.