McDonald: As Joey Bats Comes, Is Another Jose On The Clock?

With the Mets signing Jose Bautista today, you have to say they have a great lineup…

For 2010.

Jose Reyes, Adrian Gonzalez, David Wright and Bautista would have given the Mets four All-Stars and the inside track to a playoff spot.

But it’s not 2010, it’s 2018. Donald Trump is president, not Barack Obama and the Mets are looking to see what’s left for their fading stars.

Wright is still on the shelf and we don’t think he will ever be unleashed again, while Gonzalez is a useful piece when used sparingly.

That same can be said for Bautista, who signed with the Mets at 2:40 pm today, got on a plane an hour later in Tampa and was at Citi Field at 6:30 pm, when Mickey Callaway inserted him into the lineup.

“It was one of my wildest in baseball,” Bautista said. “They showed interest and when I cleared waivers, we got a deal done really fast.”

John Lennon would have called it, “Instant Karma.”

Callaway said, he’s going to use Bautista as a fourth outfielder, spelling one of the starting three. He’s going to be very useful against lefties, because the Mets lost their two righthanded power hitters, making the lineup susceptible to southpaws.

Hopefully he will help and his Atlanta fiasco was just an aberration, being released after only 35 at bats. The Mets have a need for Joey Bats now, so he will get a chance.

You have to wonder, though, if Reyes will continue to get his chances. Hitting just .145 after the Mets 5-1 loss to the Marlins, he also made a key error in the second, which opened the doors to a big inning for the Marlins and took the air out of the Mets balloon.

“All the baserunners kind of froze because it was a popup,” Callaway said. “When he got it, he thought he had a play at second and he did. If he catches it and goes to second, we might have had a double play when looking at it. He kind of got in between where he wanted to go with it and he throw it over to first and we just didn’t catch it.”

Now Reyes isn’t hitting, but what is surprising is that his defense is taking a hit too. Sure he’s playing third today and not short, but still, he had that error and then another later on. Even Callaway said it was surprising.

So you have to wonder if the Jose Reyes scholarship is about to be revoked.

Reyes started out slow last season, but remember, he also was playing almost every day. Now he is just a fill in player, who is looking to stay fresh with limited at bats, which is something he never did before.

But here is the bigger issue. If you cut Reyes, you lose your insurance on the middle infield. If either Asdrubal Cabrera or Amed Rosario goes down, the Mets don’t have anyone who can fill in regularly in the minors.

There isn’t a middle infield version of Bautista on the waiver wire right now.

That lack of depth may keep the scholarship going for now and allow Reyes a chance to get out of this funk.

“I am going to continue to work and that’s the only thing I can control,” Reyes said. “I’ve been in this game a long time and I will continue to work everyday and continue to swing.”

That’s it for now. It’s all Reyes can do, and all the Mets can hope for is that Reyes remembers how to hit and field, adjusting to life as a bench player.

Because it’s May, and the trade markets haven’t really opened, Reyes seems safe for now, but that could change as June turns into July and the Mets may look for someone else as insurance.

So the clock is on here, but ticking slowly.

However, for Jose Reyes, you don’t know when it’s going to ring.


About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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