See also Jose Ariel Reyes
José Bernabé Reyes was born on June 11, 1983. He's the starting shortstop for the New York Mets and is widely considered to be one of the game's more exciting players. He's an outstanding defender, finishing 4th and then 3rd in SS fielding % in MLB in 2006 and 2007 respectively, with plus-power as a shortstop; is always a threat to take an extra base, turning a double into a triple or swiping second off a walk, and flirts with a .300 batting average.
Reyes is a clear fan favorite at Shea Stadium. Even when he's not at bat or making a daring play in the field, Reyes' name is chanted to the tune of soccer standby "Ole." During games, Reyes gives the Shea Faithful a lesson in Spanish via a clip on the Jumbotron called "Professor Reyes' Spanish Academy." After Mets home wins, fans can even be heard singing the adopted "Jose" song as they exit the stadium.
News, Opinion, and Rumors
Reyes' early career, both in the minors and as a big leaguer, was marked with a questionable batting eye. A natural speedster with an aggressive baserunning style, Reyes frustrated fans and scouts by constantly reminding them that "you can't steal first base." Instead of taking a walk, Reyes' free swinging looked like his fatal flaw.
However, a more tangible problem sprung—injuries. In 2003, he tore a ligament in his ankle while sliding into second base and missed the last month of the season. In spring training the next year, he suffered a severely strained hamstring, sidelining him until mid-June. He again returned to the DL in mid-August with a stress fracture in his left fibula.
These flaws, and opportunity, meant that Jose spent a year at 2B. While a shortstop throughout his professional career, Reyes was bumped to second base when the Mets signed Kazuo Matsui before the 2004 season. Matsui, or "Bustsui" as derisive Mets fans called him, failed defensively, and was moved to second at the end of 2004, with Reyes returning to shortstop. Reyes has been the starting SS for the Mets since.
2005 was Reyes' first full season. Although only 22 years old, Reyes was handed the leadoff spot in the Mets lineup. His plate discipline aside—he managed to eke out a mere 27 walks in a league-high 733 plate appearances—the season was a successful one. Reyes lead the NL in stolen bases and lead the majors with 17 triples. His .273 batting average lead him to put up a hugely disappointing .300 OBP, yet an MVP voter managed to overlook this and include Reyes on a ballot.
For a period of 10 days during spring training of 2006, the Mets brought in former Met Rickey Henderson as a special coach for Reyes. In particular, Henderson worked with him on two skills Henderson excelled at during his career: getting on base and stealing bases.
Reyes' walk rate doubled. In 30 fewer plate appearances, Reyes went from 27 walks to 53. His OBP shot up to a serviceable .354. Now at 23, Reyes added 19 homers to his resume, picked up a Silver Slugger Award, was named to his first All-Star Game (did not play due to injury), and finished 7th in MVP voting.
After winning Player of the Week honors in the National League for the week of June 19-June 25, Reyes became the first player in Mets franchise history to be named NL player of the week in two consecutive weeks since Jesse Orosco accomplished the feat in 1983.
On August 15, 2006, Reyes hit three home runs in a 11-4 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. He became the seventh Mets player to accomplish the feat and first since Edgardo Alfonzo did it in 1999. Two days later, he became the second player in Mets history to record at least 50 stolen bases in consecutive seasons.
On September 7, 2006, Reyes hit the first inside-the park home run of his career, against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Reyes was timed at 14.81 seconds for his dash around the bases—the equivalent to running a circular 100-meter dash in about 13.5 seconds.
Contract Status and Salary History
On August 3, 2006, the Mets and Reyes agreed to a four-year contract extension worth at least $23.25 million which will keep the shortstop with the Mets through 2010, his first free-agent year, with a club option for 2011.
The contract is paid out as follows:
- $1.5 million signing bonus
- $2.5 million for 2007
- $4.0 million for 2008
- $5.75 million for 2009
- $9 million for 2010
- An $11 million club option (with $500,000 buyout) for 2011
- Additionally, Reyes receives a $50,000 bonus in any year in which he makes the All-Star team
Previously, Reyes earned:
- $401,500 in 2006
- $332,000 in 2005
- $307,500 in 2004
- Various minor league salaries
- $20,000 for signing as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2000.
Reyes is represented by agent Peter Greenberg.
Reyes is an aggressive hitter who is in his element when he bunts or slaps the ball on the ground to utilize his great speed. He became much more consistent at the plate in 2006, and it paid off—he raised his OPS by more than 150 points. With the improvement came more willingness to drive the ball the other way, as well as a much-needed increase in patience for the youngster. Still, Reyes has room to improve his batting eye, which could make his speed on the basepaths an even more dangerous weapon.
Fielding and Baserunning
Reyes has turbo speed, having stolen 60 or more bases in each of the last three seasons. He does have a history of hamstring problems, but they haven't been much of a factor recently. Defensively, Reyes has not even come close to matching the hype that preceded him when he came to New York. He still has the natural ability to be a great defender, but it is charitable to say that he hasn't been good since moving back to short from second base in 2005.
Reyes is one of the most exciting young players in baseball, and he finally found a way to be productive in 2006 and expanded on that in 2007. If he continues to make strides at the plate—including drawing more walks—he could become one of the game's most valuable players, and bring back memories of Rickey Henderson in the process.
- Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the New York Mets on August 16, 1999.
- Signed a four-year contract (fifth year option) extension on August 3, 2006
- Between innings at home games at Shea Stadium, the Mets broadcast a segment entitled Professor Reyes in which the young shortstop invites fans to learn a new Spanish word.
- As the 2006 season ran down, Reyes was in pursuit of an unusual feat: reaching 20 home runs, 20 triples, 20 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. As of September 10, Reyes had eclipsed the totals for doubles and stolen bases, but was four triples and one home run shy of a 4 x 20 season. Only one player in baseball history, Willie Mays, has ever recorded at least 20 in all four categories in the same season; Mays did so in 1957, recording 26 doubles, 20 triples, 35 home runs and 38 stolen bases. (Through 9/5/2007, Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson is threatening that mark, needing only one home run and three stolen bases for the remainder of the season. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is also on the cusp, needing three triples.)
- Another unusual feat that he accomplished was in a 10 game stretch in May 2005: he legged out seven triples. Most players cannot even hit 7 triples in a season, but with Jose Reyes's speed and his ability to hit the ball into gaps, he was able.
- Reyes was in Hector El Father's music video "Pa La Tumba".
- Reyes was announced as the new cover athlete for Major League Baseball 2K8 from 2K Sports, taking over for crosstown New York Yankees counterpart Derek Jeter.
- On July 12, 2007, Reyes hit the ninth leadoff home run of his career, against Cincinnati Reds' pitcher Bronson Arroyo, setting a new record for the franchise.
- On July 31, Reyes stole his 50th base for his third consecutive season, becoming the first New York baseball player to steal do so.
- On August 22, 2007, Reyes stole his 65th, 66th, and 67th bases, breaking Roger Cedeno's Mets record for most stolen bases in a single season.
- From August 21-August 26, Reyes stole 8 bases (at least 1 per game), breaking Rickey Henderson's franchise record for the most consecutive games with at least one stolen base.
- Jose Reyes and Argenis Reyes have been friends since they were 12 years old. They lived about 5 minutes away from each other in the Dominican Republic.